Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 13th Jan 2008 16:30 UTC, submitted by anonymous
GNU, GPL, Open Source "Operating systems come with cultures as much as codebases. I was forcibly reminded of this fact over the holidays when several family members and neighbors press-ganged me into troubleshooting their Windows computers. Although none of us had any formal computer training, and I know almost nothing about Windows, I was able to solve problems that baffled the others - not because of any technical brilliance, but because the free software culture in which I spend my days made me better able to cope."
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RE: Insulting
by rexstuff on Sun 13th Jan 2008 18:51 UTC in reply to "Insulting"
rexstuff
Member since:
2007-04-06

I disagree, I think his observation is fairly astute, and certainly not meant to be insulting. Proprietary software tends to have a 'You will use the computer the way WE want you to' mentality (much like the fascist IT department I have to deal with at work - gack). It is altogether too easy (and in many cases, tempting) to say 'ok' to this and cope as best you can. Why question what is really going on when tech support is only a phone call away? Free software, on the other hand, has much more of a 'do whatever you want' idea.

And frankly, it would be in software companies' best interests if users did not have preferences, if we did all use the computer the same way; to not have to worry about feature requests and user habits, to only have to design one theme and worry about a single use case.

And obviously (as you are the case in point) there are plenty of users of proprietary software who do not fall into this mental trap. You want to know, you want to learn, you want to be able to use the computer the way you want to, and find that proprietary software allows you to do this to your satisfaction.

I do agree, though, that the connection between an open-source software mentality and his inital example is rather tenuous, but I think he was just trying to illustrate how proprietary software can lead people into an attitude of helplessness. I mean, the monitor cable? Seriously, at least -try-.

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