Fearing Computers

Good post over at marco.org on why Microsoft Windows Vista hasn’t sold well. The most striking paragraph:

Our industry has collectively taught average people over the last few decades that computers should be feared and are always a single misstep from breaking. We’ve trained them to expect the working state to be fragile and temporary, and experience from previous upgrades has convinced them that they shouldn’t mess with anything if it works. They’ve learned to ignore our pressures to always get the latest versions of everything because our upgrades frequently break their software and workflow. They expect unreliable functionality, shoddy software workmanship, unnecessary complexity, broken promises from software marketers, and degrading hostility from their office’s IT staff.

It isn’t just average people that fear computers. From what I’ve seen, the general IT staffer fears them, too. Hiding behind the mantra of “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” they refuse to patch, ignore service packs, eschew firmware updates, and deliberately keep their systems two to three years behind. It’s really no surprise; it’s exactly because of the unreliable functionality, shoddy software workmanship, complexity, and broken promises from vendors. VMware, Red Hat, Oracle, IBM — you name the vendor and their software sucks. So people find a combination where the problems are a known quantity, where the house of cards doesn’t fall over every day, and they don’t touch it again for years.

I’m not saying it’s right, or a good idea. I’m just saying I get it.

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