Apple and Open Source Issues

Apple is going to have its coveted event on 9.9.14 and will probably bring another revolutionary device, as people assume. It has been 30 years since Mac arrived. It was a revolutionary product back then in 1984 when personal computing was still a far-fetched joke for the geeks and nerds. However, soon Windows arrived and whatever Microsoft did, by hook or crook, changed Apple. The same is happening again.

In 2007, iPhone arrived and changed the course of how the mobile phones will be made in future. This is 2014 and we have already forgotten 2007. While Samsung has been the real competition, several other small players using Android OS has actually shaken Apple heavily.

Before I start my rant, let me tell I don’t own any Apple product except iTunes. Wait, let me confirm. Yes, all my vital organs are intact, so yes, I don’t own any Apple product. And before 2013, I had never used any Apple product myself. But then I was an Apple fanboy. (See!) Then by chance, I got to work on Apple machines for office work and I started hating them because of their closed and rigid design and the non-stop crashing of Microsoft and Oracle applications made for Mac. I had no problems with the native Apple applications ever however. Also, the hardware design is so brilliant that no other machine comes close to it.

So after using a Mac for 1 year and developing a good bit of hatred because its hype and non-flawlessness (and because I was officially working on it) I just started using Windows again and felt the difference. One kind of misses the Mac and its solid hardware software integration because Windows seems so fragile and made of low quality plywood over which if you stand, it might break. So while writing this, I like Mac better but since it is SO COSTLY STILL and non-flawlessness, I don’t know whether I am an Apple fanboy anymore or not. My stance towards Windows is still same, that is, its just okay. Now let me come to the main motive of this post.

I think there are a few things which once created, don’t belong to the creator. For instance, Language and few forms of arts. Urdu for instance cannot belong to Muslims, as it is treated in India. Similarly, more importantly infact, Sanskrit is linked to Hindus but I think Languages cannot be held married to a certain religion. Same goes with Programming languages. C language was invented in early 70s and still being used all over the world for several purposes. Because it was Open Source (as in anyone can write a program in C, just with a compiler), it has flourished. Similarly, the art like dance. Michael Jackson might have patented the Anti-Gravity move but how can you stop anyone from doing it? The concept of patent itself is honest but used ferociously because people misuse and abuse them. I mean, patent was created so that the person who invented gets royalty and respect and while the other person uses it, gives the creator due credit for the labor one invested in creating the thing. Take the example of Elon Musk. His company Tesla Motors recently announced that anyone is allowed to use their technology to create better things. Such a nice gesture and totally Anti-Apple where using rounded corners by other companies had become such a huge issue. Now when it comes to music, if one creates a tune/song, in today’s world, it would take seconds to bootleg/rip it and be put online somewhere for free download. Being snobby while being an artist cannot work. Indian Ocean band stopped selling their stuffs and now rely only on their stage performance where they charge an entry fee because they thought that there art suffered because of snobbery of record publishing music companies. Lucky Ali’s last album Rastaman, was uploaded for free download.

Now when it comes to graphic design, one visual form can be adapted by anyone and can use it anywhere. Respect comes when you acknowledge from where you got the inspiration. Everyone cannot do that.

The Art vs The Artist

Music is pretty much like religion. If you force it on to someone, it leaves a very peculiar taste in mouth. And so goes with any other kind of art form as well but you can’t close your ears to the music around.

Mostly people don’t distinguish between the two. If an artist has created something genius, the artist is considered to be a genius as well. Fandom of theirs starts considering them Godlike. All their moves, gestures, antics and styles are imitated. And then a certain point comes when even if the artist creates lowest grade of work by their own and general standard, no fan can ought to take it like a good loser. Although it is perfectly okay to be a non-genius sometimes but who will tell this to the fan!

There are certain songs which are easy to listen. Listen to it once, you will like or dislike it. Like ‘Get Lucky’ of Daft Punk. Listen to it once, and automatically your foot starts tapping. Then there are certain songs which take their time to ‘grow’ on you. I remember, it was 1999 when the movie ‘Taal’ was released and it was the first time when Subhash Ghai was collaborating with the genius AR Rahman. Rahman hadn’t won any Oscar then and had composed music for only a handful of Hindi films. Although, his genius was proven already thanks to the still his best work till date ‘Bombay’ and ‘Roja’. When I first heard the CD of Taal, I wasn’t particularly amused by it. It felt like weird experiments of uncommon instruments and usage of sounds of rain which were a rarity in Hindi Music. Though, after repeated listenings, I started liking the songs. Since then, I can relate to someone when they say they’re giving Rahman repeated plays to let the songs grow on them. This has gone a bit far now as there are a number of ‘Rahmaniacs’ who cannot believe that there could be some people who might have not liked the music of ‘Rockstar’, etc.

Eminem’s ‘Stan’ (and now ‘Bad Guy’) tell the story of fans who went berserk over the artist and took their works literally word by word. Well, majority of Eminem’s songs are referring to himself and he insists on telling his fans that love his music but leave him alone. Respect the artwork he has created but let him live the life he wants. Enjoy the songs but let him enjoy a peaceful supper with his family if he goes out in the evening to some restaurant. Usually, as it goes with any ‘star’, if they’re seen in public, people barge in on them and at times, the ‘star’ obliges to give auto & photographs. Though sometimes, given the pressure of looking good, carrying the ego of a public figure and amount of public going gaga over them, they lose their temper and misbehave. That’s why thinking of meeting your favourite artist is like trying to meet the president of some nation.

Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter rock. And they just don’t rock like any other rockstar, they rock like no one does. I am talking about the guys behind Daft Punk. ‘Around the World’ hit me a long time ago and then I heard ‘Aerodynamic’, ‘Da Funk’, ‘Crescendolls’, etc and ‘Random Access Memories’ has made me their permanent fan. And this is where they (and Eminem too for a bit) hold me from becoming a fanatic. They don’t appear much on TV, don’t give many interviews, and when they do, they are always in their super brilliant disguise with those amazing Helmets. Their point of view is that they want their music to take the front stage and let their personal details stay hidden underneath those lovely Robotic Helmets (which go by the kind of music they create).

To put it simply, the art will surely outlive the artist. I am going to cherish the art more and worry less about the artist. I am going to give full respect to the artist for creating that art which moved me but I am also going to show my discomfort with the art by the same artist which failed to impress me.