[LINK] Coyote Linux

Roger Clarke Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au
Wed Jan 6 13:17:44 AEDT 2010

At 12:35 +1100 6/1/10, Stilgherrian wrote:
>  ... pretending this stuff is easy and that anyone can learn what 
>they need to know in a few quick lessons over coffee is a MASSIVE 

Agreed, up to a point.

It's the natural sequence for new technologies to become 
commoditised, simplified, and 'disappear under the bonnet'.

What industry has done wrong is to pretend that it's matured 
sufficiently that it's already sufficiently commoditised and 

In defence of 'industry', however (and these days it's 
multi-furcated, so there are actually many industries), part of the 
problem is the continual waves of overlapping technologies that 
re-conceive and re-define what the product is.

Hobby micros became PCs became desktops begat laptops begat handhelds 
merged with mobile-phones begat hybrids.

Superseded PCs begat bulletin-board-servers begat web-servers begat 

Telecomms begat LANs begat plug-and-play LANs (Appletalk onwards) and 
gave rise to an (unjustified) expectation that networks using MS and 
Linux devices would be just as simple to install.

Audio/Image/Video format compression plus bandwidth enabled AIV 
downloads and streaming, which begat home desktops used for AIV 
entertainment, and home-based AIV-servers.

I continue to bitch mightily about Apple's abandonment of the SOHO 
market (quite some years ago now), such that Apple networks (esp. 
local backup and recovery) are no longer simple to instal for 
business purposes, let alone for the more advanced forms of 
entertainment.  (And don't get me started on the inadequacies of 
simple things like iPhoto).

I've never written an installation customiser (or 'wizard' as someone 
unhelpfully called it).  But the variants that a general-purpose IC 
needs to cope with are (a) vast and (b) not actually capable of being 
enumerated quickly enough to enable speedy-enough development, 
testing and release of the IC ...

I guess I see the industry's real mistake as being the projection of 
installation as being easy enough for amateurs to do themselves, and 
hence complicity in the undermining of the local IT service sector.

(Personally, I wouldn't even install a decent set of *speakers* 
myself.  I've got mine ceiling-mounted, so that gave me the excuse to 
get tech support to do the whole job!).

Roger Clarke                                 http://www.rogerclarke.com/

Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd      78 Sidaway St, Chapman ACT 2611 AUSTRALIA
                    Tel: +61 2 6288 1472, and 6288 6916
mailto:Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au                http://www.xamax.com.au/

Visiting Professor in the Cyberspace Law & Policy Centre      Uni of NSW
Visiting Professor in Computer Science    Australian National University

More information about the Link mailing list