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Walled Gardens Galore

100% agree with jwz here, https://www.jwz.org/blog/2022/11/psa-do-not-use-services-that-hate-the-internet/

Bernie Sanders stating that xmpp is better, open, and has survived longer than every social media company
Bernie knows best

All the social networks I'm on are considered old, dinosaurs, or archaic. All this may be true, but IRC, XMPP, email lists, and the like are still around decades later. Zero social media companies have survived this long.

Previously. And previously

The Other Walled Gardens

jwz's rant which started this post highlights another walled garden: App Stores. Increasingly, the local, state/provincial, and federal governments of the world insist on you the citizen using their apps. Tracking aside, they happily link to both the Apple and Google app stores to get their app. It's a subtle walled garden, but what if you don't have either an Apple or Google account?  What if you can't sign up because your phone number won't pass their fraud detection systems? What if you cannot agree to their fairly hideous, one-sided terms of service? What if their app is just electronJS/tauri on your device to interact with the website of the government agency? In fact, I'd prefer the app be just electronJS/tauri to interact with the website, because it means there's a functional website you can use with a browser. 

I understand how every government agency wants to seem on trend, and I'm sure the masses ask them all the time for their app. Go ahead, build an app and let Apple/Google decide if it can enter their app store. However, please do not make it mandatory to interact with you by some app. Make sure the website is still fully functional. 

Going even more extreme, hopefully there is an even younger generation who wants to forgo apps (because apps are for old people, like facebook is for old people). We're being conditioned to think that the only way possible is via these very walled gardens. This is operant conditioning in practice. Jaron Lanier has a lot to say about the topic.

Given the more open nature of Android, alternate app stores exist. Most are free, both in cost and licensing. F-Droid is the largest and most free, but it requires you to think about what you want, rather than just download the latest "hot app" of the day. Meaning, you likely aren't going to find government apps on F-Droid. The government could setup their own F-Droid repo, which is easy to add to your F-Droid app. This would then let the govts share their apps freely, and without a 3rd party, commercial company controlling what is allowed or not. 

The Other Other Walled Gardens

The greenwashing of the EV car/truck world is also ushering in their own walled gardens. It's apparently too difficult to simply convert from petrol to batteries, instead we have always connected and stalking tech embedded in everything. Want to take advantage of other features of your car?  Install our app!  It's in the Apple/Google app stores! We're hip! We're cool right?

It goes further, what if you don't want the vendors implementation of something? What if you want to connect your own devices to their car without going through their apps? What if you want to inspect the software on which you trust your life? What if you want to modifiy the car/truck for various performance or efficiency means?

Manufacturer's would love to build a walled garden around their vehicles. Road & Track wrote an entire article about it. The car builders would also like to kill the idea of "right to repair" as well. 

Open source cars? Open sources operating systems for at least non-critical automobile systems? Modern EVs basically have a tablet/mobile phone for their user interactions. Why not replace them with open source? Let us, the owners, do what we want with our hardware.

Increasingly, the duopoly is no better than a monopoly.