"Operating systems come with cultures as much as codebases. I
was forcibly reminded of this fact over the holidays when several
family members and neighbors press-ganged me into troubleshooting
their Windows computers. Although none of us had any formal
computer training, and I know almost nothing about Windows, I was
able to solve problems that baffled the others--not because of any
technical brilliance, but because the free software culture in
which I spend my days made me better able to cope.
"The origins of these cultures are more or less obvious. Windows
and other proprietary software are the products of a commercial
software market. In this culture, information flows mainly in one
direction--from the manufacturer--and companies' obsession with
so-called intellectual property and vendor lock-in encourages them
to force users into the role of unquestioning consumers..."
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