Well, not really – the title is misleading – but it’s the title of a post at http://linux.oneandoneis2.org/wrongms.htm. Despite seemingly popular fashion, the author is not actually criticising Microsoft (and I’ll be explicit here: I’m a huge fan of Microsoft’s software and innovation) but is rather making the point that the easier an operating system becomes to use, the less knowledge its users require of how the computer works and this is the reason why many people now have computer problems.
I took a similar line in one of my Newcastle Herald articles – in 1999 I stated the reason computer viruses were becoming more prevalent were an unfortunate side-effect of the advances made in technology and ubiquituous connectivity.
I think it is very true that computer users are now, as a whole, far less knowledgeable about how their computers work than those of us who got into computing in the early 80′s or earlier.
In one sense, that’s a good thing; after all, giving more “ordinary” people the chance to use computers for personal enrichment is a positive. It would be unjust to expect they must know how it operates. I know I’d be lost if it was necessary for me to understand the inner workings of my car to drive it. It’s wrong to be elitist.
However, being an I.T. professional and some times a University lecturer, I do lament the “Windows 95 generation” and the terrible lack of curiosity and understanding many posess despite enrolling in I.T. degrees or seeking to pursue I.T. roles.
As young as I am, I have to say “when I was a boy” we wrote our own software or typed them out of magazines and books. We had to know how to do things and how the computer worked. We had to know what the OS did and what its files were and how memory was organised. When I was at University, UNIX systems were supplied for us to use – we had to work out UNIX ourselves if we were to successfully perform our work. And we did. We were curious about how it worked, we probed and even brought down the system with accidental recursive forks, or too many instances of xview or many other things. We taught ourselves vi. Yet, today, students protest and complain if you don’t spend time in a tutorial showing them how to use editors like pico.
Anyhow, better stop ranting here – but yes, I think the advances in operating systems, pervasive networks and general ease-of-use – while very good – are also the cause for virus proliferations and unwitting users.