Thursday, July 23, 2009

Who Cares About Operating Systems?

I just spent a fairly useless hour or so perusing the comments on the article "Windows 7 is the same as Ubuntu". The article appears fairly non-controversial since the author is making the point that for someone who uses a PC to access the web it doesn't really matter what the OS is.

It turns out the article is very controversial based on the 500 plus comments that range from fairly well thought out (but rarely new) ideas about Windows or Mac or Linux systems. It's entertaining to see the bait and hook techniques where someone says the equivalent of Linux (Windows) (Mac) sux and then the flames start to rise...but one comment struck me as pretty right-on.

The author says that while some geeky and sometimes fanatical types spend their time arguing (or trading insults regarding) the merits of an OS, applications, and the GUI - the world goes on and the average computer user could care less as long as their computer does what they want it to do. The author linked to this YouTube video to show how little people know (and need to know) about what's under the hood of their computer.

It's possible that the browser will be the only application resident on a computer in the not to distant future - but users don't care about that, unless it makes their computers faster or cheaper or capable of doing more. Companies that develop stand alone or enterprise applications and their competitors who want to provide applications in the cloud (think Google Docs), care about that - a lot. But users don't even need to know what a browser is - like the guy says in the video; to him the browser is that big e thing he clicks on to get to the web.