Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Another question from the Linux realm

People are really funny, but I guess it depends on who you are talking about. For years we have been mesmerized by bigness. Big cars, huge trucks, big homes, when we got to put our body in it we want room to spare. Or we want everyone to know how well we are doing. With consumer electronics we thought big was cool for a while. You know, big case with that tiny circuit board on the inside. To this day we struggle with the size that matters. Here's the picture, a company (Microsoft) we all know and love makes software for computers. And without wavering, they over the years have required users to upgrade or buy new computers with every new version of that software. You, and it's been explained are supposedly driven by bigness, must have this bigger better hardware and bigger better software. Only there are three little problems. 1. The present hardware hasn't worn out before the new software comes. 2. Your computing habits haven't changed in the face of all the "new features". And 3. You can't always justify the cost of newness (or its' associated bigness) when it is not needed. Unfortunately, we are somewhat driven by fear of being behind, not being up to date. So, like the good consumers we are we go out and buy the big (normal) computer setup and the compatible software. This includes laptops, which brings me to the thing I am talking about. This group invents a small laptop for the One Laptop Per Child project. It's smaller than a traditional laptop in all respects. This laptop is small in size and capacity (sort of like my old stuff) yet, it is new, cheap too, and does all the stuff the big ones do. Kids are loving it. But wait, it doesn't do MS Windows Vista, it's too big, won't fit. Microsoft belts out, "it's not fair to design and sale a computer that can't run MS Windows".
Then this other company makes a small laptop, Asustek's eeePC and they have got Microsoft scrambling to trim down MS Windows of some sort to fit on it. Unfair they cry, how dare you make a computer we can't put our stuff on. So my question is, is there a law that says any computer that is bought or sold in America must be able to run some version of Microsoft software to be fair? Oh, did I mention these little PC's can run Linux just fine? Hey, Apple owns Mac's, don't we own PC's? No Bill, a marketing strategy does not give you ownership or squatter's rights. Computers don't have to be able to run MS Windows at all.
Wow, Linux will run on the older hardware Microsoft doesn't support any more and on some of the new stuff coming out that Microsoft can't. Linux does not stifle new computer designs or limit consumer choice. Linux this, and Linux that and Linux.............

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