If I didn’t know technology

My take on the three dominant philosophies of computing can be summed in the following metaphor.

You are keen on building a general hobby workshop for your house, and you decide to browse the example layouts set up at the local home improvement market to get an idea of what you want before you start building. There are three booths: Apple, Microsoft, and Linux. The Linux booth is well hidden, and you only know it exists because one enthusiastic shop attendant wouldn’t shut up about it.


You take a gander at Apple’s first, as it is the most immediately appealing. Everything is shiny and modern looking– you feel like it’ll get dirty as soon as you touch it. The room contains a beautiful workbench and only a single toolbox, laden with pretty and user-friendly tools that are advertised as “the only tools you’ll ever need.”

Skeptical, you move onto Microsoft’s offering. At first glance it looks inconsistent at best, like two different booths were cobbled together into one. You find a large workbench with a set of frequently used tools, but upon closer inspection, you find plenty of more specialised devices scattered about the room without coherence. You’re pretty sure you could find and figure out what each one is used for within a few moments.

At this point you’ve already made up your mind, but you’re still determined to see what is left. You search for some time to find something that claims to be a Linux example. As you walk in, you observe nothing but dozens of drawers and a plain, solid oak table. None of the drawers have any labels, but as you open them you find every tool ever that fits into the category of the drawer. You find it organised and specialised, but to the point of requiring a vast time investment just to begin.

You pause to reflect. There is already an Android branded tool bag that you carry around everywhere. It’s pretty versatile and specialised tools can be added or removed at will. It’ll get the job done in most cases, but is limited in its efficiency due to having no workbench and being compact. However, you realise that even if you bought a workbench, you’d probably never use it anyway, due simply to having to set it up every time you need to get something done. The store loses another customer to clever foresight.


There’s no comparison to a computer when it comes to getting raw work done, but is it any wonder that the millennial generation is increasingly beginning to look the other way from these traditions?

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