HAL must die!

Chad Perrin perrin at apotheon.com
Wed Mar 16 17:23:50 UTC 2011

On Wed, Mar 16, 2011 at 07:30:45AM -0400, Jerry wrote:
> There are numerous sites with purport to state the latest statistics on
> OS usage, etc. This is just one that I have used before. I obviously
> cannot verify its accuracy. As far as I can tell, it is an impartial
> assessment.

Just keep in mind that it doesn't hve to be partial to be wrong, of
course.  Data gathering for things like this is notoriously subject to
selection biases and other obscuring factors.  For instance, a surprising
number of people set their browser user agent strings to non-default
values to deal with Websites that refuse to display for anything but IE
versions greater than or equal to 5.0, and business-oriented market share
figures usually count only unit sales (which excludes free stuff and
doesn't discount cases where people throw it away right away).
Statistical analysis is not nearly as easy to get right as people usually
think it is (including most statisticians).

> In an interesting side note, another article that I read recently and
> am trying to locate at this moment states that 50% of users who
> switched to MAC from Windows in the last 5 years are now seriously
> considering dumping it and moving to a Windows 7 machine. Their biggest
> complain was with the added complexity of doing routine tasks. A lack
> of job specific software was also mentioned. Exactly what that entails
> I have no idea. Apparently, keyboard users found Windows easier to use
> and maneuver. I am a mouse person myself so I would not be able to
> comment on that even if I used a MAC.

. . . and yet, a majority of those people would probably extol the
virtues of the mouse if I introduced them to vi.  Funny how that works.

> In any case, the subject declaring "HAL must die" if no longer
> relevant. It is all ready dead, except on FreeBSD. Even its author has
> declared it so. The real question is how long are the developers of the
> fragmented open-source community going to continue to display
> testosterone poisoning by refusing to come together and develop one
> common interface/API or whatever they want to declare it to be that
> works on all the competing distros and thereby helps to unite the
> open-source community? The sad part is even if that did happen, each
> distro would then refuse to use it because it was not licensed
> according to their own specifications. Yes indeed, you have to love
> standards, there are so many of them.

Especially for security software and stuff meant to act as a de facto
portable standard, people need to learn to grow up and release things
under copyfree licenses so everybody can use them.  Trying to push a
"standard" under a restrictive license is the height of irrationality.

Chad Perrin [ original content licensed OWL: http://owl.apotheon.org ]
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