Steve Jobs: dissenting voices

As a followup to my posting about Steve Jobs, some links to other people bucking the hagiographic trend.

First of all, David Streitfield of the New York Times points out that Steve Jobs was never one to let tact stand in the way of criticism. Mike Daisey of the New York Times points out that Apple ultimately became the very thing its 1984 commercial railed against. Richard Stallman says it in more bluntly Jobsian terms:

Steve Jobs, the pioneer of the computer as a jail made cool, designed to sever fools from their freedom, has died.

As Chicago Mayor Harold Washington said of the corrupt former Mayor Daley, “I’m not glad he’s dead, but I’m glad he’s gone.” Nobody deserves to have to die – not Jobs, not Mr. Bill, not even people guilty of bigger evils than theirs. But we all deserve the end of Jobs’ malign influence on people’s computing.

Eric S Raymond predictably has no problem with Apple’s use of sweatshop labor, saying that the Chinese workers are free to stop working any time. Curiously, he fails to note that Apple are also free not to use sweatshop labor.

Randall Stross writes that Steve Jobs was very like Edison, while Vaclav Smil of The American writes that Steve Jobs was no Edison. Given that Edison had an infamously bad temper, stole inventions from other people, used the patent system to prevent competition, and engaged in fearmongering about competing products’ safety, I think Jobs was entirely too much like Edison.

The UK’s Daily Mail takes a similar tack, pointing out that Jobs was no Einstein. The LA Times points out that Steve Jobs was no fan of free speech or freedom of the press.

And finally, The Onion tries to add a touch of perspective.