However, I do not see GP computers going away because the hardware/content folks need software developers, who can't/won't work on closed systems.
Which doesn't rule out a future in which only a select few professional software developers have access to systems that aren't closed. For example, video game consoles since 1985 are closed systems. The less-closed systems that developers of console games use are kept carefully under lock and key under orders from the console maker.
What most users want is this: Open box. Turn on computer. Search for the app they want. Hit "Install". Use app. That's it. Get shit done, and do other shit when the desire strikes.
Which pretty much matches my Ubuntu Software Center experience under Xubuntu 11.10. And with the automatic backup to Ubuntu One in recent versions of the OS, the Ubuntu distributions are inching closer to matching iOS on your litany of "They like that" lines. But this still doesn't stop me from installing the build-essential or idle package and getting a programming environment.
If a box for a video game console does not say 'Allows you to develop and play your own games', what reasonable expectation do you have that it will in fact do that?
The restrictive developer program? Necessary to prevent the casual hobbyist from introducing a less-than-professional product.
How do people learn to produce professional products, other than by starting as casual hobbyists?
what about a digital music store monopoly
Amazon's the one with the monopoly here. Amazon has its own music store, adn Apple had to license one of Amazon's patents to get iTunes Store to work.
What does the Iphone or Ipad have to do with OS X?
You have to use Mac OS X to build an app for iPhone or iPad. So building a gay travel app and submitting it to Apple is one thing you can't do on Mac OS X.
C64 = Commodore 64 emulator
Two and a half years ago, Apple had games pulled from the App Store just because the end user could reboot the C64 emulator they ran in to the BASIC REPL. Exactly when did Apple reverse this policy?
will people stop using the word "war" unless real weapons are in use
When an alleged infringer's home gets raided by armed officers, aren't real weapons in use?
People and companies will move again if there is no breathing room left in the US.
Where, now that the United States has been pushing its agenda on the rest of the developed world through treaties (e.g. WIPO Copyright Treaty) and executive agreements (e.g. ACTA)?
for all intents and purposes, copyright enforcement [in China and India] is non-existent.
How many refugees from the U.S. copyright regime are China and India ready to absorb?
general-purpose computing boxes that are fully open and customizable will always be around because of [China and India]
Around, but stopped at the border.
HTC just opened up their phones. There's tonnes of cheap tablets that are open.
But not game consoles. Let me know when the maker of a set-top video gaming device opens up its devices and makes a binding promise to keep it open without eventually forcing the end user to choose between openness and the primary promoted purpose of the device.
They want their devices to make life easier, whether that means keeping track of information or playing games to pass the time or some other convenience, and given a two-dimensional optimization choice over the convenience/freedom axis they'll pick convenience every time.
And when they want to play a specific game, and the lockdown regime makes it inconvenient to install that game, the convenience they seek can come only from adding freedom.
such as the Raspberry Pi, Arduino, and dozens of other hackables
As long as these remain legal to sell to the general public and not classified along with locksmith tools.
Hell, through Amazon you can rent time on an infinite mountain of general-purpose computing if you're interested.
You make a point. But there's general-purpose computing, and then there's interactive general-purpose computing. Internet lag and completely disconnected situations (e.g. Wi-Fi-only iPad on public transit, or anything on an airplane) keep the possibility of renting time on a server from being a cure-all.
Weekend, where are you?