In 2005, if you wanted to use a simple Radio Shack cable to plug your iPod into a TV, you could - but you had to juggle the standard red-yellow-white cable colors in a particular order, matching red to yellow and yellow to white arbitrarily, like learning the cheat codes to a Nintendo game.
In 2008, if you want to plug an iPod into a TV, your iPod will first check for the presence of a tiny Apple-approval indicator chip on the physical cable.
Computer companies have been making moves like this for years. What a lot of people don't realize is that such activities violate the spirit and in many cases the letter of antitrust law. But the law is only relevant when enforced, and today antitrust law is very rarely recognized for the incredibly valuable resource it is. Even the allegedly liberal Clintons studied under Robert Bork, who's made dismantling antitrust law his life's work.
The good news is that anybody with a decent amount of Perl experience should find setting up GNUpod really easy. More news as events warrant.