As Repetition becomes Rhetoric
I do not recall where the above picture came from, but I had it saved locally to my HDD. It has nothing to do with this article, but if someone reading this says “Hey, that’s my desktop!” please send me your name and some way for me to credit your for the joy that you brought to me. I may even throw in a cooler pad for that netbook, as you’re my personal hero.
Even within the little niches of computing, a lot of buzz words are thrown around and honestly it bothers me as they’re not always factual or even well informed. Perhaps it’s due to a counter-culture to the direction that technology is currently heading, but I often wonder if some of the contempt being thrown around is simply ill-will for the sake of trying to be an elitist niche group.
For example, if you frequent any forum or irc channel regarding the Unix-like operating systems, someone is almost certain to throw out the phrase “Microshaft Wangblows” (or some derivative statement.) This gets my blood boiling, simply because while it may not suit all of my needs, there is someone out there that is obviously much happier with it than they would be with an alternate setup. The implication is that due to it being MS Windows, that it is somehow inferior in every single aspect to whatever system the creative wordsmith above has chosen to use.
Now, there are certainly aspects of any Microsoft product I’d like to see changed. I’d like them to be full open-source under a BSD or MIT license. I’d also like someone to tell me they bought me a lovely island in the Caribbean to live on, with a full staff of paid servants. The latter is more likely. I’d like for the support in proprietary binary drivers for Windows to be made available for developers of open-source drivers. I’d like to see a more clear and concise file system structure.
Still, for a great many people, the design used is so ingrained in people who are well served by it that it is the best system for them to use. My mother-in-law, for instance, really should not be trying to use BSD. Once, I set her up a nice partition which was nothing more than a web-kiosk using Chromium, XFCE Panel, and a front-end for wickd. While not my personal choices, it made good sense to me to not try to leave the point-and-click interface she had become accustomed to. After a few attempts at using it for even the most basic of things for most Unix-like OS users, I decided that she was by far best served by never changing anything. (It’s possible that by moving her start menu to a new-location on the desktop, you would render the entire system useless and need to fly 1400 miles to put it back.)
I’m certainly not saying that there aren’t things that should be changed, and even I might be guilty of raging about many of the automated processes that I have minimal control over in most mainstream operating systems. I am simply urging people to use a well thought out criticism rather than simply spewing hate towards any particular setup. Each of them come up short in some aspect, and only by having a clear objective can we hope that there will ever be any improvement.