Business, Ubuntu

Smack Me Again, Baby – I Like it

People who use proprietary operating systems (OS) are like those people who like physically abusive relationships.

I was having a business conversation with a non-profit organization on another topic. During the conversation I noticed that they had older computers. When I noticed the somewhat dated machines, she explained that they don’t want to waste the donor’s hard-earned money on new computers and these could ‘get the job done’. Watching her use it was quite painful.

During the conversation, she also mentioned to me that she didn’t reply to my email because she had received a virus which crippled her machine and that she was paying someone to fix it.

I left the meeting and went about my life for a while when all of a sudden it dawned on me – THEY SHOULD COMPLETELY SWITCH THEIR ORGANIZATION OVER TO UBUNTU!

It would solve everything:

  1. It would be free (no wasting any of their donor’s money)
  2. It would run faster (Ubuntu runs very lean on any machine)
  3. She would not have been affected by that virus that was designed for her proprietary OS
  4. It’s brain-dead simple and these people were clearly not interested in something complicated
  5. It’s more secure (no viruses, less risks of outsiders gaining access to the organization’s data)

I was so excited that I stopped what I was doing, contacted to inform her that I would – for free – come and explain Ubuntu and even help them install it and get started. To my complete surprise, she replied “We just set these computers up so no thanks.

I had to read it again.

Was she really rejecting a free solution and labour that would solve her entire organization’s issues? I couldn’t believe it so I made it even more convincing by reassuring her that some major governments and some of the largest technology and information companies are using Ubuntu.

She again rejected my offer.

That’s when it dawned on me that she actually liked the pain. There’s no other explanation. She’s comfortable in her abuse. Every time her proprietary operating system beats her and her colleagues down, they just accept it like it’s okay. They shut their eyes to the truth that there actually is a better way – a way that doesn’t hurt so much.

I then had the creepy revelation that it’s like the physically abusive boyfriend who beats the girl and after each beating apologises, tries to apply a band-aid solution and whispers kind words and promises of improvement.

But abuse is abuse.

We need to start a 1-800 helpline for these poor people. As for my family, we will use Ubuntu.

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7 thoughts on “Smack Me Again, Baby – I Like it

  1. Man, this opens up a lot of discussion and worm cans. I think there are a few topics here:

    1. The “Boomer Generation” who just spent the last 10 years learning to use RedmondOS, and have this fantasy that it’s easier to use what they “know” rather than something that is actually easier in itself.
    2. The IT environment: “The less it breaks, then less work I have to do, the less control I have over these goons, then less money I can swindle…”
    3. Masochists… They like the abuse as you mentioned. Also a possible biproduct of the Generation formerly known as Boom. “Technology is supposed to hurt.” If it doesn’t hurt, then it’s unfamiliar, and unfamiliarity is scary.


  2. I don’t think anyone else could add more to your comment. You covered them all. I especially like the IT comment. I’ve had IT people admit to me that RedmondSoft is the source of much pain but also all their financial stability. That’s like becoming a mechanic who specializes on a brand that knowingly manufacturers lemons.

  3. Couldn’t we help this organization provinding them an old computer like the ones they already have but with Ubuntu, so they can experience it before they can make a decision?

    I think some people can’t just picture themselves using something different what are they used to, until they actually do it.

  4. You might actually be more correct than you seem to realize. People do anthropomorphize their comuters. And there might be a physical reason for it. Research have shown that when someone prays to a specific entity, like god or Jesus, they actually use the same part of the brain that they use when talking to another human being. When people meditate, they don’t. It wouldn’t be surprising to me if the same thing happened when a computer is not working, because it is an actual entity even though it’s not a human being.

    When something isn’t working, it’s rather easy to feel like saying «Oh, come on, this is a very bad time for me! Can’t you crash some other time?!». But who would you be talking to? Your computer. As if it was someone who was in charge of your own personal wellbeing. When everything is working, though, you’re not thinking about the computer at all, but you’re focusing on the things you want to achieve. It seems logical, then, that the more unstable your software is, the easier it would be to anthropomorphize it. However, with Ubuntu, if something isn’t working, then you file bugs or contact the community and ask for help. That means you do take charge of the situation instead of just hoping that it’ll go away.

    It is a little bit speculative, but it wouldn’t surprise me at all if an MRI scan revealed that this is similar to the difference between praying and meditating. It would be very interesting to know if there is any neurotheological data on this subject. Because, if you think about it, the exact thing happens to religious people as well; the more catastrophes they experience, the more religious they become. Or they lose their religion altogether, but that’s less common, I think.

    Your post certainly gave me something to think about. It might be a good idea not to propose a switch short time after a crisis, but let some time pass. Then you introduce a new friend, rather than offering to replace their current friend. There are other reasons why this is a good idea as well; when someone has chosen Windows and you ridicule Windows, then you’re actually ridiculing their choices, which makes it personal. That makes people defensive, which closes their minds to other opportunities. So you should always make it clear that the system you’re talking about is newer than the system they’re currently using. For instance; Ubuntu 12.04LTS was not an option when they chose Windows 7. And if they’re using Windows XP, then it’s a difference of more than ten years of computer industry development, so it makes sense that there might be something even better.

    Thanks for a very interesting post and for giving me a new perspective.

  5. Nice post! Some victims may develop the Stockholm Syndrome. They not only express positive feelings towards the captives/abusers, but flat out defend them. They shut out others who offer better solutions because they have been so brainwashed. The shiny ads by proprietary companies manipulate people into believing that they really want what is sold to them at high prices. Since others they know are buying the same products, they feel safer and not recognize the possibility that they have been duped. So the 1-800 help line, safe houses (think LoCos), etc., will have to really show success stories of how people have found freedom from their captives and thrive in the new community.

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