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Proprietary malware → Incompatibility

Proprietary Incompatibility


Nonfree (proprietary) software is very often malware (designed to mistreat the user). Nonfree software is controlled by its developers, which puts them in a position of power over the users; that is the basic injustice. The developers and manufacturers often exercise that power to the detriment of the users they ought to serve.

This typically takes the form of malicious functionalities.


One of these malicious functionalities is the deliberate incompatibility of a program with third party software that operates on the same data types.

A fairly common sort of incompatibility is the use of secret formats or protocols. This directly blocks or hinders users from switching to any other program—and, in particular, from switching to free software which can liberate the device the software runs on.

Apart from being deliberately anticompetitive, secret formats put users' digital data at risk. For instance, retrieval of old data will become very difficult if support for the proprietary software that can read it is discontinued.

Another sort of incompatibility occurs when a system makes some important operation which would be necessary for migrating data to any other system so cumbersome or so slow that it isn't doable for more than a small amount of data.

More generally, the major tech companies tend to impose artificial restrictions on the interoperability of their products to monopolize the market, and this is often achieved through proprietary malware.

If you know of an example that ought to be in this page but isn't here, please write to <[email protected]> to inform us. Please include the URL of a trustworthy reference or two to serve as specific substantiation.

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