@ RorschachUK - Hyperbole much?
Look, I’m a bit biased, given that I work for Microsoft (though, to be clear, I don’t speak for the company, and what I post here is my own personal opinion), but I think the notion that we’re headed into some kind of hacker/tinkering gulag is over-the-top at best, and absurd at worst.
You only need to look at the popularity of sites like Hack-A-Day, magazines like MAKE, and the explosion of popularity of 3D printers, laser cutters, CNC routers and mills, and other maker gear to recognize that not only is tinkering and hacking healthy, it’s thriving tremendously.
There’s a huge difference between general purpose computing devices, and devices that are targeted at the broad base of consumers. Platforms that are completely “open” (whichever definition you use) may be better for those who want to repurpose or tweak the behavior of that platform, but they tend to be worse for consumers, because the very openness that appeals to the tweakers/hackers/makers leads to additional complexity and the need for making decisions for which many consumers simply aren’t adequately equipped.
My personal opinion is that there’s room for both, and I think that’s exactly where we are. We get to choose between full x86 PCs that allow all the breadth of code and hardware extensibility, and more limited environments that might require us to do more work (a la the links @ galvesribeiro posts above) to get to the same result.
Or we can choose from hundreds of available microcontroller boards, from arduino, to netduino, to arduino-compatible FEZ boards, or .NET Gadgeteer boards. And nearly all of these platforms feature some degree of open source, including the platform itself (for example NETMF and Gadgeteer) and in many cases, the hardware as well.
I have a hard time looking at the ecosystem as it exists today and describing it as anything less than an embarrassment of riches for would-be hackers and makers. If a given platform is more restrictive than you like, there are many to choose from.
It may be Monday morning, but I’ve got a bright outlook (maybe having something to do with actually getting more than 5 hours of sleep for once ).