@unnumbered Special Report: Apple's New Look and Feel

You might have read about the new look-and-feel copyright lawsuit,
Apple vs. Hewlett Packard and Microsoft.  Apple claims the power to
stop people from writing any program that works even vaguely like a
Macintosh.  If they and other look-and-feel plaintiffs triumph, they
will use this new power over the public to put an end to free software
that could substitute for commercial software.

In the weeks after the suit was filed, USENET reverberated with
condemnation for Apple.  GNU supporters Richard Stallman, John Gilmore, and
Paul Rubin decided to take action against Apple's no-longer-deserved
reputation as a force for progress.  Apple's reputation comes from having
made better computers; but now, Apple is working to make all non-Apple
computers worse.  If this deprives the public of the future work of many
companies, the harm done would be many times the good that any one company
does.  Our hope was that if the user community realizes how destructive
Apple's present actions are, Apple would lose customers and have more
trouble finding employees.

Our method of action was to print 5000 buttons that say ``Keep Your Lawyers
Off My Computer'' and hand them out at the West Coast Computer Faire.  The
center of the button shows the rainbow-apple logo with a Gigeresque mouth
full of ferocious teeth.  The picture was drawn by Etienne Suvasa, who also
drew the cover for the GNU Emacs manual.  We call the picture ``Apple's New
Look and Feel''.

We gave out nearly 4000 buttons at the show (saving the rest for
afterwards).  The result was a great success: the extent of anger at Apple
was apparent to everyone at the show.  Many of the invited speakers at the
show wore our buttons, spoke about them, or even waved them from the
podium.  The press noticed this: at least one Macintosh user's magazine
carried a photo of the button afterwards.

Some of you may be considering using, buying, or recommending Macintoshes;
you might even be writing programs for them or thinking about it.  Please
think twice and look for an alternative.  Doing those things means more
success for Apple, and this could encourage Apple to persist in its
aggression.  It also encourages other companies to try similar

[It is because of this boycott that we don't include support for Macintosh
Unix in GNU software.]

You might think that your current project ``needs'' a Macintosh now.  If
you find yourself thinking this way, consider the far future.  You probably
plan to be alive a year or two from now, and working on some other project.
You will want to get good computers for that, too.  But an Apple monopoly
could easily make the price of such computers at that time several times
what it would otherwise be.  Your decision to use some other kind of
machine, or to defer your purchases now, might make sure that the machines
your next project needs are affordable when you need them.

Newspapers report that Macintosh clones will be available soon.  If
you must buy a Macintosh-like machine, buy a clone.  Don't feed the