April 2, 2010

Gibson on Consumers

According to William Gibson, a consumer is "something the size of a baby hippo, the color of a week-old boiled potato, that lives by itself, in the dark, in a double-wide on the outskirts of Topeka. It's covered with eyes and it sweats constantly. The sweat runs into those eyes and makes them sting. It has no mouth... no genitals, and can only express its mute extremes of murderous rage and infantile desire by changing the channels on a universal remote."

From an excellent article by Cory Doctorow about why the iPad is a nasty nasty thing.

(I mean, I like the ease-of-use of my MacBook as much as most people -- in fact, I've been using Macs since the IIci on System 6 -- but the more I try to create my own software and hardware, the more I like Linux. Not just because it's open source, but when you're trying make things, Linux is simply easier. Software installs quickly; new code libraries compile flawlessly; I can prototype ideas instantly; and the software is mostly free. It's a system that the more people use it, the more they contribute to improving it, the wealthier the world as a whole becomes. It's really reversing the tragedy of the commons. The Mac, on the other hand, really is a consumer machine. Its BSD UNIX subsystem is nice, but it's still playing catch-up to Linux.)

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