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Re: [dvd-discuss] Gedanken Experiment -Unix and Norton

On Tue, 15 Jul 2003, John Zulauf wrote:
> For an EMACS user (that explains *everything*) anything that doesn't
> require knowledge of Lambda calculus is a sterile, cheapened debasement
> of computers.  You're wrong too.

Phew, we ARE quick to snap judgments and assumptions, aren't we?

I'm not an emacs user myself and never said I was (I just appreciate it's
completeness as a working environment).  It is a valuable counterexample
to your assertion that some commercial software has somehow become more
"complete" than Free Software.

And anyway, you missed my point (or ran past it on purpose).  A general
purpose computer has this infinite capacity for function.  You can make it
be a machine for doing just about anything with information.  The
Macintosh was not designed as a general purpose computer, rather as a
multi-purpose appliance.  And anyone who chose to use it for general
purposes had to become an expert in the system's maintenance.  And anyone
who chose to use it in a networked environment had to familiarize
themselves with the arcana of its security.

I don't think there's any doubt that the future will bring a large number
of devices into our laps that use general purpose computing hardware under
the hood and specialized appliance-like software for people to make the
computer DO anything.  But the real innovation and human progress comes
from the tinkerers who go beyond the what the appliance was designed to
do.  These people are best suited with general purpose computers.

Has Microsoft Word brought the world more and better literature than would
have been created without it?  Has Adobe Illustrator given us more and
better graphic communication?

More memos and more press releases and more inter-office newsletters,
sure.  But is that progress?

> In HCI people talk about usability contrasting the piano with the CD
> player.  The CD player can only play prerecorded music (a "sterile")
> limited environment, while the piano has an combanotorically limitless
> ("general purpose") music making ability.  Yet their is room for both
> (and many shades in between).  While I, as a drummer, really dislike
> drum machines... for my friends that are guitarists/composers a drum
> machine is a a vital creative tool.

> (who is in recovery from EMACS)
> <troll>VIM Rules!</troll>

I use vim.  I wouldn't say that it "rules" because I don't think there's
any need for oppression or subjugation in the realm of text editors.

     Jeme A Brelin
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