Windows, a Victimized Hip Culture

In the years of his PC computer use, my younger brother got caught up with the “build your own custom computer, install pirated Windows and save money” movement. While I, at the time, recommended he buy a mac, he was told they were over-rated and expensive, thanks to his Windows karate friend named Jeremy who always thought he knew better. (If I recall, you could get an 400MHz G3 IBM processor in a second generation iMac, while Intel made lowly 200MHz processors on which Windows ran.)

Well, the “build your own computer mindset” lead to stability problems, presumably due to a lack of hardware support in the way of frequent system crashes that didn’t let up until Windows XP, which –by that point in time– ran slow on my brother’s ageing machine. Adding to his continuous stream of problems, lately, he has all sorts of trouble with his Windows installed laptop. He associates his Hotmail problems (he has problems receiving emails) to the fact that he runs a pirated copy of Windows. Because of this, he can’t update his system, either. So, his OS is a security powder keg waiting to happen. Not too impressive considering that he does intelligence gathering on the middle east for a think-tank on this setup.

I find surprising that he and his Windows friends gleefully talk about being infected with the latest virii, as the latest topic of conversation over cups of coffee and in between university classes. They smile and laugh at associated problems. They advise each other on how and where to keep up to date on the latest virri information, recommend their favourite anti-virus software and mention associated headaches running it. It’s self-evident that they enjoy sharing each other’s experiences and problems. Keep in mind, these are not technically inclined people, so they don’t talk about virii for academic reasons, but find significance and meaning in relation to (or within) a culture of virri infested Windows users. This unifies them and identifies them as part of larger group where infection is a proud badge of honour.

Call me anti-social but I never understood why being infected with Windows virii was so fun, nor do I want to. You don’t find people happily sharing their experiences about suffering the latest flu, and how uncle Ted almost bought the farm on account of it. Or how “so and so” had gonorrhoea, and another has syphilis. These are things people generally keep private and, more importantly, things you want to circumvent –be it by way of safe practises or abstinence. So in relation to circumventing and opting out of Windows, my little brother says,

..i dont even [believe] in propritiary software..so i dont pay [for it by installing pirated copies of it] … everything i need …i got…why change that?..

That’s like a hick Ford truck owner turning down a free Ferrari saying, “takes me home, work and my bitch’s house … everything i need …i got…why change that?.. “. [No offence intended to Ford owning hicks.] What’s more revealing is the subtle undertone suggesting that a Libre OS could not possibly meet ordinary user needs, “everything i need …i got…why change that”. Astounding.

The corresponding Mac, BSD, and Gnu-Linux cultures seem to lack the substantive premise for such sharing of negative experiences, namely these platforms are affected by few virii. I could never relate to the concept of having to defrag and risking information loss. As far as I can reason, there aren’t good reasons to run Windows, so why do people continue to do so? If it works, why change it? Clearly, it is broken. Might there be a fashion element to it? It almost seems fashionable talking about your trials and tribulations running it.

I recall one definition of insanity was attempting the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result than the previous –lets say 100– times. I’m not sure what this has to say about my brother. On the general public, well they are fairly ignorant of better alternatives.

Daniel, have yourself another glass!

No, I don’t know his present address to sick the Microsoft police on him for using a pirated Windows copy, although this wouldn’t be a bad thing.

Maurice Cepeda

This is licensed under the Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported Creative Commons License. All brands mentioned are properties of their respective owners. By reading this article, the reader forgoes any accountability of the writer. The reading of this article implies acceptance of the above stipulations. The author requires attribution –by full name and URL– and notification of republications.

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