[ubuntu-uk] Ubuntu CNR deal

Tony Arnold tony.arnold at manchester.ac.uk
Mon Feb 12 22:19:10 GMT 2007

Martin Fitzpatrick wrote:
> On 12/02/07, Tony Arnold <tony.arnold at manchester.ac.uk> wrote:
>> I find it odd, because no-one expects to drive a car without doing some
>> learning and even taking a test, but some people expect to use a
>> computer with no training/learning/effort what so ever!
> That's called "the law".

And it became law become someone realised it was not a good idea to have
lots of untrained dirvers on the road as bad things would happen.

> If there was no legal requirement to pass testing I suspect there
> would be a larger proportion of clueless people on the road.

I agree. And we have a lot of clueless computer users on the Internet.
It's not their fault either but a result of the way machines are sold
and the expectations that have been set for them.

As a result, though, bad things happen. For example, we have an enormous
amount of SPAM due machines infected with trojans enabling huge botnets
to evolve that can deliver this SPAM.

> The difference of course is that computers do not regularly kill
> people. Same goes for the televisions, radios, washing machines and
> lawnmowers that we happily use without training.

No, but bad things can still happen with some of these devices if not
used correctly.

> Successful home appliances (of which a PC is one) need to be
> user-friendly, intuitive and require minimal maintenance.  If you want
> to pull them apart you're free to do so but the bar to achieve
> *normal* *safe* operation - as with any consumer device - should be
> set as low as possible.

The problem is that most home appliances have one job to do. They may
have some bells and whistles around that job, but most consumer devices
serve a single function.

Computers on the other hand can do lots of things and are, IMHO,
significantly more complex. A user will get far more out of a system and
run into less trouble if he/she learns just a little about what is going on.

Tony Arnold, IT Security Coordinator, University of Manchester,
IT Services Division, Kilburn Building, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL.
T: +44 (0)161 275 6093, F: +44 (0)870 136 1004, M: +44 (0)773 330 0039
E: tony.arnold at manchester.ac.uk, H: http://www.man.ac.uk/Tony.Arnold

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