Sunday November 14, 2004
My friends all use Microsoft Windows
It happened again today. I ran into a friend
I hadn't seen in a week or so and they (she,
in this case) cheerfully told me, "I'm thinking
of taking my [new] computer back to the store -
it locked up again". Confused but sensing looming
potential deeper confusion, I quickly point out
that lockups are usually software, and not hardware,
and she can do something about that. She continues,
"Well, I had to unplug it again because the power
button wouldn't work, so I used the CD that came
with it, and it deleted all of my data, again".
Head scratching time - why is that Microsoft
Windows users will sacrifice all of their data
at the alter like Abraham when Christian-God
asked him to kill his son?
Error - Microsoft wants to delete all of your
data - click "OK" to procede. ... "OK!"
I know what my new years resolution is - to
get everyone hooked on Knoppix in some capacity -
as an emergency Internet access device when
Windows is having trouble, or for a collection
of free software, or an alternative, or
Microsoft Windows users
want back on the 'net. They want to IM their
buddies, upload their pictures, and do these
other social things, and having
persistant data is seen as a sort of luxury -
at least among non-advanced users.
After I pointed out to this particular friend
that "it's probably Microsoft's software
screwing up, not the hardware, if I can take
a look at it, I can tell you and probably fix
it" retorted, "but I didn't have any Microsoft
software open when it happened - I didn't have
Word open, only IE!". Of course, she completely
ignored that Microsoft wrote the operating system
which I quickly pointed out, to which she instantly read a challenge and pre-emptively
retorted "but I like Windows! It's so easy to
use!". I did not continue and point out that
she spends more time reinstalling software
than using it. Like an old '57 Chevy truck,
it runs like crap, but users know how to fix
it and they don't depend on any fancy mechanics
or tools to fix it so they sure as hell aint
gunna switch. Windows empowers users (gag)
to help themselves - this friend doesn't need
Linux toting dorks like me to help her out -
all she has to do is blow away all of her data
and reinstall all of her software... monthly.
That's a small price to pay for independence -
I suppose. Though, is accepting help from
computer geeks really that bad? A lot of us
are very nice about it... non-condescending,
and only pointing out things about Windows
matter-of-factly without any expectation that
our friends will give it up (we got over those
expectations years ago).
Knoppix lacking persistant secondary storage
(when booted out-of-the-box by a non-technical
user who won't mount a filesystem read-write)
doesn't really suffer a handicap.
Windows already essentially lacks
persistant storage - except through use of
the CD burner.
Without a harddrive at all, Knoppix is still
preferable in many cases where a user doesn't
want to sit around re-installing software all
the time. And I'm aware most CD restore disks
will refrain from reformatting the drive first...
I'm not exactly sure what's going on in this
case, but I've seen this feature fail to be
realized numerous times for numerous reasons
when it was present.
Yes, I know, this is really a topic for