So, it’s pretty clear by now, computers are here to stay… Like it or not, the reality is that the majority of the world’s population uses them in some form or another. And we are increasingly finding ourselves unable to function without them, whether it’s at work or for pleasure, whether it’s using a laptop or a Smartphone, or the myriad servers that keep us connected to the internet …

I’ve come to recognize a love-hate attitude that we bring along every time we sit in front of a computer, though.

We love them because they allow us such easy access to people we want to communicate with, access to information we never dreamt possible before, and access to all forms of entertainment … all at the click of a few buttons. We love them because they make our work so much more efficient and more highly organized. We also love them because we are in awe of the amazing technology that allows all these things to happen, seemingly so easily.

By the same token, that same amazing technology can so quickly bring to the surface our hatred of computers. How often do we hear people say: “I hate computers, but I’ve got no choice; I can’t get by without one”?

Where does this loathing stem from? Well, computers are amazingly complicated devices considered on their own, but even more so when we connect them to each other over networks all over the globe. This complexity, and our associated lack of understanding of the inner workings, whether it be the desktop in front of us, or the processes involved in watching a movie from the other side of the planet on the internet, creates a discomfort within us. It’s a real feeling of insecurity while we’re using the very thing that’s become so indispensable to us in every aspect of our lives.

We also hate the perception that we have no control over the behaviour of our computers. We live in constant fear of virus’ and other ‘nasties’ infiltrating our domains. We get irritated because we are bombarded by constant appeals to buy more software. We get annoyed by so many ads appearing on our pages when all we want is to do a search.

And somehow, deep down, we resent having to spend so much money on software licences, whether it be for the operating system itself, or for any supporting programs, which then restrict their use to a limited number of computers. We realize that, in effect, we don’t own or control that software once we’ve paid for it, we are only allowed to use it under strict licensing conditions.

Next page … “What Is Linux?”


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