So, I’m in the middle of resurrecting my computer after it suffered a fatal bout of Windowsitis, and while letting off steam to my dad have some unexpected insights based on an IT metaphor.
I was testing three operating systems (OpenSuse, Kubuntu, Vista) and a virtualisation tool. It was glitching at the multiboot setup – wanting the option of choosing which OS to boot but giving Vista the impression it was exclusive. While skirting the bounds of good IT practice the Windows recovery option, skipped a step and then another and started to wipe the drive …
I stopped it, but too late. The partition table was gone. Now, I could spend a tediaous day manually discovering the partition table (guessed from my knowledge of teh approximate partitioning) or start clean. Which is what I did.
The reinstall was not painless, because Vista wants to take over the whole drive. And after all three are installed, Vista is complaining again. I’m deciding whether or not to scap MS for good. Dad calls, and I was just telling him the story:
“Its so annoying – you’ve got this fancy user intyerface uphere, but at the bottom, at its foundation, its core its very primitive and its badly designed. Its sitting on a weak foundation. Now by Win7 they might have plastered over it enough, but I doubt it.
“The problem is that at teh very beginning it wants exclusivity and control – it takes control from the user. (Remember the movie Tron?) It asks a complicated question and wamnts a simple answer. Its like it says, ‘what’s the meaning of life’ and expects the answer 1. Any other answer is wrong and it takes over to make the answer 1. The open system (linux distribution) doesn’t ask big picture questions; it would say would you like to erase your whole drive or not, and if you answer no, it would ask if you want to erase some of your drive, and then how much and where …
The IT metaphor is a metaphor for modern humanity. We ask a big picture question and we want an easy answer. “What is the meaning of life?” Eat! Get rich! Look fancy! are the answers we like, want and listen to. We have little time for the right answer, the open answer – “it depends”.
So, for a fun, trouble free IT experience dump Windows, go open source.
And to find meaning in life, face up to difficult answers – “it depends”.
Accept that the answer might be 0 and you have to keep looking for 1.