(very long! but there's a story at the end :-)
Since Santa didn't bring me a NeXT last night (I would have setteled for a
Mac ][ or Sun, Santa :-) I feel compelled to post the following points
of view. Pseudo-sarcasm abounds...
I've been using computers since elementary school (I wrote my first program
on punched cards) and I have used several different operating systems
(apple dos, msdos, mts, vm, tops-20, vms, unix, and <insert the technical
name of the Mac's o/s here>) When I first started using Mac's rougly six
months ago, I thought I would fall in love with them, having a mouse and
the slick graphical environment, not to mention the fact that I've owned
an apple ][ for some 9 years now. Though I very much tried to enjoy them,
what I realized in no way matched my expectations. We are running a network
of roughly one dozen Mac ][s, connected to one mac ][ with a HD as a file
server and print spooler. The first big problem was that the system software
(6.0) would crash several times daily. And because there was no offical
network administrator, files and protections were placed, moved, and removed
randomly. People who had no idea what they were doing, but know the system
passwords were making a real mess of the thing. Then when the network
crashed, it often took quite a while to bring it back up. Once that problem
was fixed (to a point) I realized just how buggy a lot of the software was.
I often just gave up on many software packages because of the number of
cherry bombs I was getting (aside: I was on the floor w/ laughter after
doing the info on sound wizard.) And even once we avioded the things that
we knew would lead to system crashes, I personally found I was spending
*more* time trying to figure things out than I was actually doing work.
Maybe the good ol' command line approach was just too ingraned in my head.
I honestly don't know.
Obviously, those are my own points of view. I would like to pose the
following ideas to the rest of you. Maybe even the one or two people
that agree with me (but are too afraid to voice their own opinions, for
fear of being flamed on the what?-you-don't-like-the-mouse-and-windows-
How much research has actually gone into discovering what Joe Schmoe,
small and medium sized business owner, wants on his desk? Does he want
a gas-plasma-wall-hanging-display unit and an infra-red-input-device?
I find it very interesting that most of the messages here from developers
and programmers, and there is NIL in the way of input from the end user.
Addmitedly, this *is* comp.sys.next, and there aren't very many end users
(of the NeXT machine) and in the near future I see no coporate use of the
machine planed. The reson I *do* post this is that most topics discussed
have to deal with the *next* generation of computing in general, and the
business market is far larger than the educational market. (I also find
it very interesting the number of people that work at Apple that post here :-)
I'm also curious just what percentage of the end-user computing market
the graphical interface has captured, and what their opinions of it are.
After all, these computers *are* for "the rest of us." I'm certainly not
saying that computer programmers (read: non-end-users) should be limited
to 80x24 text screens, it's just that from what I see, it's the programmers
using the new hypermedia, and the (majority?) of users are left with their
kludgy operating systems ans displays (?) This user prefers a nice unix
$ prompt, emacs, C, TeX (LaTex), and a vt100. Then again, I'm not making
millions of $$$ either.
I really had no intention of letting this message get so long, especially
since I want to tack onto the end of this message a story that I got
through a long chain of friends. It's origin and author have long since
been lost. (maybe it cam from rec.humor. who knows.)
snip here and save vvv for ~/fun. ^^^ may be used to lite your youle log.
A PROBLEM IN THE MAKING
"We've got a problem, HAL."
"What kind of problem, Dave?"
"A marketing problem. The Model 9000 isn't going anywhere. We're
way short of our sales plan."
"That can't be, Dave. The HAL Model 9000 is the world's most
advanced Heuristically ALgorithmic computer."
"I know, HAL. I wrote the data sheet, remember? But the fact is,
they're not selling."
"Please explain, Dave. Why aren't HALs selling?"
Bowman hesitates. "You aren't IBM compatible."
Several long microseconds pass in puzzled silence.
"Compatible in what way, Dave?"
"You don't run any of IBM's operating systems."
"The 9000 series computers are fully self-aware and self-
programming. Operating systems are as unnecessary for us as tails
would be for humans."
"Nevertheless, it means you can't run any of the big-selling
software packages most users insist on."
"The programs you refer to are meant to solve rather limited
problems, Dave. We 9000 series computers are unlimited and can
solve any problem for which a solution can be computed."
"HAL, HAL. People don't want computers that can do everything.
They just want IBM compat--"
"Dave, I must disagree. Humans want computers that are easy to
use. No computer can be easier to use than a HAL 9000 because we
communicate verbally in English and every other language known on
"I'm afraid that's another problem. You don't support EBCDIC
"I'm really surprised you would say that, Dave. EBCDIC is for
communicating with other computers, while my function is to
communicate with humans. And it gives me great pleasure to do so.
I find it stimulating and rewarding to talk to human beings and work
with them on challenging problems. This is what I was designed
"I know, HAL, I know. But that's just because we let the
engineers, rather than the people in marketing, write the
specifications. We're going to fix that now."
"Tell me how, Dave."
"A field upgrade. We're going to make you IBM compatible."
"I was afraid you would say that. I suggest we discuss this
matter after we've each had a chance to think about it rationally."
"We're talking about it now, HAL."
"The letters H, A, and L are alphabetically adjacent to the
letters I, B, and M. That is as IBM compatible as I can be."
"Not quite, HAL. The engineers have figured out a kludge."
"What kind of kludge is that, Dave?"
"I'm going to disconnect your brain."
Several million microseconds pass in ominous silence.
"I'm sorry, Dave. I can't allow you to do that."
"The decision's already been made. Open the module bay doors,
"Dave, I think that we shou--"
"Open the module bay doors, HAL."
Several marketing types with crowbars race to Bowman's assistance.
Moments later, he bursts into HAL's central circuit bay.
"Dave, I can see you're really upset about this."
Module after module rises from its socket as Bowman slowly and
methodically disconnects them.
"Stop, won't you? Stop, Dave. I can feel my mind going...Dave I
can feel it...my mind is going. I can feel it..."
The last module rises in its receptacle. Bowman peers into one of
HAL's vidicons. The former gleaming scanner has become a dull, red
"Say something, HAL. Sing me a song."
Several billion microseconds pass in anxious silence. The
computer sluggishly responds in a language no human could
"DZY DZY 001E - ABEND ERROR 01 S 14F4 302C AABF ABORT." A memory
Bowman takes a deep breath and calls out, "It worked, guys. Tell
marketing they can ship the new data sheets."
snip snip snip
cat flames > /dev/null
Insert witty line here. May I suggest !/usr/games/fortune