[permaculture] Software thoughts (Was: Help and conversations for possibility AND action)

jedd jedd at progsoc.org
Sat Jan 20 22:15:44 EST 2007


 Hi Robyn,

 Okay - I can grok the historical aspects.  (Though did you know that
 the WIMP (Windows, Icons, Mouse, Pull-down menus) was not invented
 by Apple, but rather Xerox? The same mob that invented the photocopier
 and ethernet networks, but couldn't imagine any business market for
 either.  From memory, Apple commenced a law suit against Microsoft,
 years ago, for plagiarising their GUI environment -- up until they
 were in turn sued by Xerox for exactly doing exactly the same thing.
 Unsurprisingly both law suits fell through.  This is relevant only
 insofar as to distill the popular myth -- one that Steve Jobs is more
 than happy for people to believe -- that Apple invented the 'modern
 computer desktop environment'.  They did not.)

 But yes, as I say, I get the usability aspect - particularly back in
 the mid to late 80's, PC's were pretty unpleasant things to use.
 I see that gap having closed substantially in recent years, however,
 with most graphics and DTP professionals (for example) conceding that
 there's very little functionality difference between working with
 their favourite apps on either MS-Windows or Mac OSX.

 The virus prevalence thing .. well, there's mixed thoughts on that.

 As you know, I've no love for things Microsoft.  (Coincidentally, they
 probably feel similarly towards me at the moment -- in my current
 gig I'm looking at ways of avoiding spending $280k with them,
 and expect I'm destined for all kinds of nastiness.)

 ] Macs still hold the edge in user-friendly function, which for
 ] many permies is a great advantage.

 The thing is, Mac OSX and Microsoft Windows (and most of the
 application software that people run on top of these things) are
 closed-source and very expensive.  Those two things are typically
 eschewed (in other arenas) by Permaculture types.

 The fact that the money spent on that software heads overseas, and
 not-very-indirectly gets spent by regimes performing all kinds of
 activities that Permy types also disagree with, is just icing, IMHO.

 That it supports a corporatist world, rather than community (either
 physically, or virtually, local to oneself) can't be good, either.

 I'm not suggesting ease of use is a bad thing in and of itself -- 
 rather think of it as an observation that it's easier for most people
 to head down to Coles / Tescos / Walmart and buy their GM'd
 glyphosate-laden tomatoes, and that there may be some parallels to
 be made in here somewhere.  Ease of use versus compromising a 
 larger ethical framework.

 (Mind, I'm well aware I'm in no position to cast stones at all with
 this stuff, as my ethical framework is precarious to say the least.
 I'm currently working for various organisations that advocate the
 invasion of other countries, the death penalty, and the locking up
 of small children.)

 Jedd.



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