Why Can't Computers Just Work All the Time?
Dec 05, 2008, 16:33 (7 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Andrew W. Tanenbaum)
[ Thanks to Britta Wuelfing for this
"Computer users are changing. Ten years ago, most
computer users were young people or professionals with lots of
technical expertise. When things went wrong-which they often
did-they knew how to fix things. Nowadays, the average user is far
less sophisticated, perhaps a 12-year-old girl or a grandfather.
Most of them know about as much about fixing computer problems as
the average computer nerd knows about repairing his car. What they
want more than anything else is a computer that works all the time,
with no glitches and no failures.
"Many users automatically compare their computer to their
television set. Both are full of magical electronics and have big
screens. Most users have an implicit model of a television set: (1)
you buy the set; (2) you plug it in; (3) it works perfectly without
any failures of any kind for the next 10 years. They expect that
from the computer, and when they do not get it, they get
frustrated. When computer experts tell them: "If God had wanted
computers to work all the time, He wouldn't have invented RESET
buttons" they are not impressed."
- Interview with Andrew Tanenbaum, Creator of MINIX(Aug 11, 2008)
- Free Software magazine: MINIX: what is it, and why is it still relevant?(Mar 20, 2007)
- LinuxWorld Australia: Make Vendors Liable for Bad Code Says Expert(Feb 15, 2007)
- Linux.com: Linus and Andy Together Again: Day Three at Linux.conf.au(Jan 19, 2007)
- Vrije Universiteit: Tanenbaum-Torvalds Debate: Part II(May 15, 2006)
- internetnews.com: MINIX Gets (X) Windows(Mar 31, 2006)
- Tanenbaum: Some Notes on the "Who Wrote Linux" Kerfuffle, Release 1.1(May 20, 2004)