Friday, May 8, 2009

Quitting Microsoft

Quitting the Microsoft Windows platform and moving on to greener, finer pastures is a lot like quitting smoking. Once you begin it, once you understand its clumsy user interface (which is highly restricted), once you get around easily with a "Aha....!", there is no going back. Not unless you are extremely committed to it.

Most of the average Joes out there know that the Wintel platform they are using taxes them heavily, both economically and productively, but merely disposes them as daily hurdles of a computer user. The computer hangs once in a while. They begin the 3-step process to recover it :
Step 1: Press Ctrl-Alt-Del. Three finger salute!
Step 2: Bang on the cabinet. BAM! Boom! "Ey ey.. What a Fu*king thing ???"
Step 3: Press the reset button.
Maybe it is a gift, or maybe it is programmed so, whatever you do, the third step gets you right back to what you were doing before the computer hung. You can enjoy almost an hour of freedom and work until the cycle repeats.

Everybody knows it, but tolerates with it. Has it got something to do with human psychology? The majority of us are happy to voice our opinions from within a crowd, but are silent when asked personally for an opinion. Does the same thing happen here too? Are you using Windows because your parents, friends and neighbors are using it? Are you using it because you are not technically savvy enough?

The latter is a more common problem. People believe to be technically incompetent, thus branding a lot many things too geeky and among them the GNU/Linux system. What one needs to understand is that computer skills are acquired, not inherent. Thus everyone has an equal chance of acquiring the skills. By everyone, I meant all those who have access to the Internet. The Internet, the connection of networks of computers holds enormous resources to get anyone upto speed on any existing technology.

Thus in my opinion, quitting Windows takes only the time needed to understand the basics of installing another operating system, be it GNU/Linux, Mac OSX or even the obscure Plan 9 from Bell Labs! We are living in an age of information explosion. Why bind ourselvers to the slavery of proprietary, monopolistic companies when we have the freedom of choice, expression and code just an install away ?

To quote Karl Marx, "The proliterates have nothing to lose, but their chains!". (Read the proliterates as Internet browsing guys!!)

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