"I have a mind like a steel... uh... thingy." Patrick Logan's weblog.

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Saturday, December 20, 2003

I used Don Box

It's true, and in the morning I felt kind of bad. But it was for the good. I've done it in the past, but this time it was coldly calculated. Please read on...

Actually when it comes right down to it, I don't care what happens to Visual Studio. I also don't care what happens to Emacs. VS will continue to improve, but moreover it will continue to be hugely popular no matter what. Emacs has the audience it does, and will probably not improve beyond its current state, because it is in itself an axiom. Probably it's appeal and usage characterisitics will remain about where they've been for the last twenty years.

So why did I use Don Box?

More people than I could ever hope to draw on my own have had a chance at least to read the story about Emacs and the secretaries in the 1970s. Was this story really intended to promote Emacs and to benefit VS?

Not really. I saw the opening and ran for it. Here's the message: the Longhorn preview takes over five gigabytes to install. How much of that is for the typical user?

Very good arguments could be made that all of it will eventually trickle down to the non-technical user. There is no way I could or would argue against that.

But in the 1970s a few typical secretaries had a simple tool for helping themselves, the same tool most programmers have intimidated each other from using even as an influence. In the 1980s typical non-technical users were building multimedia applications using Hypercard. Emacs and Hypercard together take a miniscule fraction of the installation space and still a small fraction of the intellectual power required for computing with XML, DOMs, XAML, and WS-xxx. Are the secretaries going to be doing this in Info Path?

In all of these five plus gigabytes of impending computations, what are we doing for the typical user or even the non-technical MBA? Maybe this was an inappropriate way to use blogspace.

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About Me

Portland, Oregon, United States
I'm usually writing from my favorite location on the planet, the pacific northwest of the u.s. I write for myself only and unless otherwise specified my posts here should not be taken as representing an official position of my employer. Contact me at my gee mail account, username patrickdlogan.