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-.

Reply Parent Score: 9

RE[2]: Insulting
by jakesdad on Sun 13th Jan 2008 19:13 in reply to "RE: Insulting"
jakesdad Member since:
2005-12-28

"much like the fascist IT department I have to deal with at work".
By your reasoning you wouldn't mind the fascist IT dept. coming over your house and using your sink as a toilet.

You forget that you are using THEIR computer and THEIR network. You are obliged to follow their rules... Which are generally there to reduce the companies exposure to liability and support issues. No matter if its open source or whatever.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[3]: Insulting
by jaylaa on Mon 14th Jan 2008 00:08 in reply to "RE[2]: Insulting"
jaylaa Member since:
2006-01-17

"much like the fascist IT department I have to deal with at work".
By your reasoning you wouldn't mind the fascist IT dept. coming over your house and using your sink as a toilet.

You forget that you are using THEIR computer and THEIR network. You are obliged to follow their rules... Which are generally there to reduce the companies exposure to liability and support issues. No matter if its open source or whatever.

You make it sound as if the IT department owns the company and is the sole reason for ones employment. As if they are some benevolent entity who are doing us the favour of letting us use their infrastructure.

The IT department is there to perform a service and they don't own the computers or network anymore than the janitors own the toilets. I'll let them tell me what software to run when I let the janitors tell me not to shave or brush my teeth in the washrooms.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: Insulting
by sappyvcv on Sun 13th Jan 2008 19:33 in reply to "RE: Insulting"
sappyvcv Member since:
2005-07-06

So how does a "do whatever you want" attitude help someone better understand a propietary product or unfamiliar product? It doesn't.

His example illustrated that it's important to understand CONCEPTS, not a particular culture.

You completely missed the point... well, until I read this:

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.

So if I didn't fall into the trap, what's stopping anyone else? Nothing really, except an attitude and a willingness. Which is why I found his choice of words insulting. I was never "forced" into anything, nor anyone else I know. Most people simply don't care about the details of using their computer, they just want to do what they need and be done with it. They'll take the path of least resistance.

Edited 2008-01-13 19:35 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE[3]: Insulting
by aesiamun on Mon 14th Jan 2008 06:16 in reply to "RE[2]: Insulting"
aesiamun Member since:
2005-06-29

It's just typical elitism that is often found in certain groups.

Reply Parent Score: 3