Friendly and Secure Desktop Operating System

twig les twigles at
Tue Oct 28 09:43:22 PST 2003

> Question: What makes the user stupid?
> Answer: An environment that hides details and doesn't force
> the users to know 
> a little bit of the thing they're working with.

I think you are missing a crucial piece of the puzzle.  Every
single person I know suffers from information overload.  They
are supposed to know how to check their credit, know enough
about their car to not get ripped off, count calories, see
through stupid politician tricks, ponder whether there is a
deity, pick an HMO/PPO that doesn't suck (possible?), and do
their actual jobs.  If they have kids then double the work.  Add
to all this the myriad things I'm forgetting and then start
telling people about ActiveX and you can understand why they
love Windows and Mac.

> Call me paranoid, but I think this "over-userfriendlyness" is
> quite dangerous.
> We'll end in an environment where we don't understand
> anything, and a few 
> companies control our lives. This might seem farfetched, but
> we are slowly 
> walking in this direction.
> Think about it: No knowledge - no control. And users are
> accepting it.
> They are just lazy and want everything to be done for them,
> even if this means 
> they have to give up freedom.

I'm reminded of The Cuckoo's Egg when Stoll says to an attacker
at the end "But I don't want to secure my computer, I trust
other astronomers."  Most people simply have better things to do
with their time.  And the "stupid" part is a logic trap.  I
can't stand reading poetry.  Hate it.  So some well-versed
people could call me stupid too because I always miss the
subtleties, and in a particular scope they would be right I
guess.  But I simply don't care about poetry.

Open-source is a great way to combat the dangers of
user-friendlyness since if BSD ever decided to put DRM in the
OS, someone would see it fast and yell.  I agree that we as a
society are specializing too much, but I don't have a patch for
that :).

Get a taste of Religion ... eat a priest!       

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