In reply to Cory Doctorow

Joel Johnson: Cory Doctorow, you are a consumer, too

It all just kills me. It literally makes me sick to my stomach. I am sitting here looking at my computer screen and looking over at your post and just wanting to take it apart line by line but what’s the point? I agree with so much of what we all seem to think about culture, about copyright, and freedoms to tinker. But I don’t want to use shitty computers with shitty operating systems, just like I don’t want to drive cars that come with their own schematics. Instead I want to drive beautifully engineered machines that scream with precision fury. And if they break, I want to take them to a shop and have them fixed. You keep the 3D printer; I’ll take AAA.

My own note to Cory Doctorow, in response to his now-infamous post:

People like you still exist. They’re growing up all the time. There are 12 and 13-year-olds writing iPhone and iPad applications already. Just like there are young children who use Linux or some flavour of Unix.

You see, the mere fact of the iPad’s existence hasn’t removed everything else from the world. It is a device which happens to be programmable — which is a bonus, by the way — and there are these other things which are called general-purpose computers. And if you see an iPad and want to know how it works, then guess what: you can find that out. You can get your general-purpose computer setup to write that software and to install it, etc.

If you want to know lots about operating systems and how they work, you can take a look at Linux. Absolutely. You can take a look at the masses of source code available for Mac OS X itself. There are lots of places you can go to learn this.

It just shouldn’t be a requirement, you know? Sometimes I just want the interface. It’s nice to play about in its innards, but that’s not the entire reason I purchased it. In fact, for any given item purchased in the world, that’s very very rarely the reason.

Complaining that people shouldn’t get the iPad because it doesn’t meet all your needs is like complaining that you have to change your schedule on Easter Sunday because your clients want to go to church. It happens. People look for different things.

Get over it.

When iPad-style devices are the only form of computing available to the world, then we’ll talk. Until then, since there’s been absolutely no indication that mainstream general-purpose computers are going away (outside of your own paranoid dreams that is) you’ll find that your fearful soapboxing falls on largely deaf ears.

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