You Can Hack An OS But You Can't Hack People - part 5: No Help For The Helpless

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Linux

In "Does Microsoft impose a prisoner mentality?", I speculated that years of using Windows seems to do something to people. Something kind of creepy. It seems as if it steals their intelligence, or their will to learn, or... something. At the end of the second part, after I took one commenter's questions and made a case study from it, I closed by saying, "Beyond freeing our software and our media, it will be useless unless we have free minds to go with it."

A lot of commenters wrote in to agree with those posts. Even some Windows users stepped forward and said, yes, they did feel that Windows had given them a prisoner complex, where they got into Linux and were absolutely paralyzed - at the freedom! And here again, I will point out: normally Linux geeks are thinking in terms of the computer. Explain the process to the subject; subject's problem solved. But they aren't looking through the monitor at the person's face.

In many cases, the person is scared. And fear is an emotion! Not something you can cure with a man page or simply answering a technical question. This is a human issue, not a computer issue. And right about this time I get the interface astronauts (thanks, Joel!) who start shooting off their big bazoo about how we need to change the interface to be just like Windows and throw away the command line and the compiler and the source code and the license and - oh the hell with it, just toss Linux in the dumpster while you're at it.

But that doesn't make any difference because these Windows users are just as scared of Windows and Apple as they are of Linux! They just happened to find Windows first and clung to it.

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