One of the Greek linux bloggers mentioned the Unix Hater's Handbook the other day, and that it's available to download online, so of course I had to have a look. So far I've read the first few chapters. It is written in a humourous style, and some of it is rather dated. But the chapters do have titles such as "Unix. The World's First Computer Virus" and "Welcome, New User! Like Russian Roulette with Six Bullets Loaded". These guys really hate Unix.
They make the usual complaints - for example the fact that the delete command (rm) actually deletes files, even if you ask it to delete all of your files. Em, guys? this command is supposed to, em, delete things. Instead they think it should be far more complicated, so that it can try and second guess the user and protect you from yourself.
Sounds familiar? Yep, one of the authors worked for Microsoft. The people who brought us Windows, one of the least user friendly and most annoying systems ever. What's really funny is that a lot of this computer stuff is really quite simple, but Windows makes it really complicated, then designs an interface with 20 million menu options, 100 million annoying messages that pop up when you actually try and do anything, and then markets this as simple and easy to use.
Nowadays on Unix and linux people who don't want to risk destroying their entire filesystem with 8 keystrokes* have got graphical tools that are almost annoying as the Windows ones, so problem solved.
Naturally I was wondering about a Windows Hater's Handbook. But aside from the fact that the author of such a book might get sued to Kingdom Come, it'd have more volumes than the Encyclopaedia Britannica. It's also too easy a target.
Still, they reckon the Windows Tax is about £100 per computer - I'd be willing to pay Bill Gates £150 a machine NOT to put Windows on it...
*It's not that easy anyway - you have to be running as the Super User to really mess things up, and people won't usually be doing that.
You may (or may not) have noticed that I wasn't around last week. I was on the other side of the Atlantic. The highlight of my week was trying out some Canadian cuisine.
I hadn't realised that there was such a thing as Canadian cuisine, but they do have a national dish, and amazingly it doesn't seem to contain Maple Syrup. It's called Poutine. The locals rave about this, so I had to go and try it at an establishment that is apparently famous for it's poutine. It was a fast food trailer. I started to wonder why, if it was so great, none of the nice restaurants had it on the menu. I didn't have to wonder for very long. Poutine is made with fries, lumps of cheese curd, and gravy. Like the donner kebab and the deep fried Mars Bar, the idea isn't to provide a balanced, nourishing meal, but it's rather a competition to make unhealthy and revolting menus that don't actually taste that bad. In the case of poutine, I really can't see what the fuss is about - it tasted pretty bland to me. Experts can tell how fresh the curds are by listening to the squeaking noise they make when you chew them.
I had it a couple of hours before getting onto a plane. Perhaps I should have warned the pilot about the extra weight, but we did still make it across the Atlantic.
Since I've been back, I've not been getting hungry at dinner time. Either my body is still in the wrong timezone, it's still digesting that poutine...