Thursday, August 24, 2006

EBKAC: Windows 2, Linux 0

Do you remember when Coca Cola changed its formula in the 1980s and released "New Coke"? The new product was a disaster and served to renew the consuming public's lust and devotion to "Classic Coke." I've since heard, and have no trouble believing, that this was a calculated move on the part of Coca Cola. For this reason I now believe that Microsoft is, in fact, the creator of Linux.

It makes perfect sense. There's been growing disillusionment with MS for years, and its reputation for bringing to market unfinished products and letting its users do the Q/A that Microsoft should be doing, is set in stone. So, one day Bill Gates assembled his team of gargoyles and put the question before them, "We can either begin creating quality products or we can simply frighten the computing public into never leaving us. Which will it be?" Since Microsoft is incapable of creating products that work as advertised, Gates and his team of gargoyles decided to make an alternative operating system to Windows, and called it Linux (because computer names that have an "x" in them are somehow viewed as oldschool and aboveboard).

So, the Microsoft Intelligence Unit located some rube in Finland named Linus Torvald, who seemed capable of only shrugging and smiling during interviews, and made his the improbable face behind "Linux." Linux was then released, with a cover story that is truly a 180-degree diversion from the Microsoft story -- it's all open source, developers from around the world worked on this because of their passion for computing, not for money, blah blah blah. And thus Linux and its various "flavors" came into being.

"Hey man," I hear a granola-intense voice call out from the balcony, "what about all the people who are using Linux? Are you saying they all work for Microsoft?"

Not at all. I have no doubt there are computer users who have actually gotten some vintage of Linux to work on their machines. I once had a girlfriend who's father's car had some weird glitch to the engine where if you drove a little too fast or a little too slowly, some valve would close, rendering the car immobile. The valve could only be opened with a pen or screwdriver and then the car would suddenly work again. My girlfriend's dad explained the whole thing to me, once, and it made absolutely no sense. He was already reluctant to lend his car to his daughter, and this weirdism with the vehicle put us off entirely asking. Yet he drove the car with no trouble.

I'm an experienced computer user. I started this week with a perfectly serviceable and fully functioning desktop computer -- and a strange, now unaccountable, desire to try switch to Linux. After attempting to install Linux on this desktop computer, I now end this week with a completely smoked desktop, and an unworkable strain of Linux sort of installed on it. Clearly, magic was needed. I do not possess magic. I hardly possess anything approaching luck. Now I have a Dell paperweight on my desk, and have to connect my virginal laptop computer to the Web in order to write this blog.

Years ago I worked at a software company where the techs had a term for what I've just experienced with this foray into Linux: EBKAC. It stands for "error between keyboard and chair." Meaning, the problem is with the user, not the software.

Maybe I will market my own open source, granola-smelling operating system and called it "EBKAC for Human Beings, Man".

1 comment:

Beau Peep said...

Hello Matt,

It was wonderful to have got a comment from someone like you on my post. I will reply to it there.

As I was going through this post, the New Coke and Classic Coke fiasco caught my attention. Coke lost about 2% of the supermarket share in sales to Pepsi then. Philip Kotler mentioned it in one of his books on management that I studied as a text book during my MBA days.