[FoRK] User-friendliness and fascism

Stephen Williams sdw at lig.net
Mon Apr 11 16:55:51 PDT 2011

On 4/11/11 4:24 PM, Ken Ganshirt @ Yahoo wrote:
> ...
> Fascism is about control, not politics. E.g. Corporations are more fascist than most political parties in the western world, both inwardly towards their employees and outwardly towards their customers. Political parties tend towards fascism in their internal operations (restricting the selection of candidates, whipping, etc.) regardless of where they stand, outwardly, on the political spectrum.
> Neither of those statements are political statements.
> I agree with Damien; I thought the article was an excellent observation about what we consider "freedom", e.g. how [the generic] we can consider a highly controlled environment like Apple's walled garden to give us more "freedom" than Microsoft's relatively open can of worms. The very definition of a nanny state (of being).

One aspect is the difference between "freedom of ..." and "freedom from ...".  The various Apple environments trade some of the 
former to get more of the latter.  But it is easy to go too far and too long.  And, once you run the rascals (animate or inanimate) 
out of town, the restrictions become more and more noticeable.

At a more basic level, for operating systems, being able to choose anything other than a Microsoft product is freedom from the 
once-juggernautish Windows.  There were a few years in the 90's where you had to be hard core to think that anything but Windows 
would survive.  Any alternative was unusual freedom.  (We've come a long way...)  In a different but related sense, choosing 
something like Mac OS X is sort of freedom to move to modern operating system architectures.

For a typical user, Mac OS X compared to Windows means:
Freedom from the expensive and irritating and performance sapping anti-virus treadmill.
Freedom from (as many) crashes.
Freedom from quite as an obscure operating system interface (system preferences, etc.).
Freedom from slow and broken networking / configuration (WiFi for instance).
Far easier (and therefore more effective) backup / restore.
Freedom from driver issues.  (Almost completely.)
Freedom from support issues (mostly).  No OS / system maker / component maker finger pointing.

But you pay a little more.  Can't buy whatever junk-ish hardware is on sale at Fry's, at least in certain categories (video cards, 
This isn't much of a problem as long as Apple has, for the most part, the newest, hottest hardware.  They are behind in BluRay, but 
ahead or at parity nearly everywhere else.

Apple is more restrictive in their mobile app market / developer ecosystem.  This is a big tradeoff that limits their market, but so 
far it has paid off well enough.  Android devices will likely continue to take over, in some part because of this.

On the desktop, still not a problem.  Hard to see how they could make it one there.

> That's also not a political statement.
>            ...ken...


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