Of cars and source codes (Part 001)

Filed Under (Random.scribbles, work.BLOG) by WildFire on 13-08-2004

Before I begin to scribble these thoughts that were bouncing around my mind for the past 16 hours let me tell first that I have great respect for the Open Source. From Torvalds, who my previous co-officemate system administrator worships (and I worship that SysAd during Wednesdays and Fridays), to the linux-kernel-super-computers, to the airplanes, air traffic controls and production plants that use it, the centibots, RedHat, SlashDot and lately Miguel de Icaza and Mono.

Throw in Python and Perl if you like, even Paul Graham and Prometheus.

Yes... too many to mention.

Include also the top universities in this country who are pushing Java and Open Source.

In fact the area of Open Source is too broad and deep to tackle. Let me just highlight the topic partially from Dean Mikhail's post that had ignited these bouncing neurons in my mind.

Imagine a car with the hood sealed tight and the engine closed from the world -- would you trust it blindly to get you to where you want to go. -- Mikhail Online

In a perfect world, geeky car owners knowledgeable in how the internals of the car works, exist in every square block. In fact not only the car owners but every human knows how the car functions as well.

Besides, in a perfect world everyone has a Porsche Carrera GT as their 'obsolete means of land transportation' inside their 1 mile nanotech-protected garage, located in between two vehicles that have perfected the vertical takeoff.

(I won't even mention that Monica Bellucci look alike chauffeur... she's a cyborg anyway.)

Perhaps even 8 year olds know about internal combustion, the four-stroke combustion cycle, higher-octane gasoline, cooling and fuel injection systems. Add in the lubrication, exhaust, electrical and emission control systems.

These kids would even mod their cars to make it look like H-Wings from Star Wars (Too bad the mod pics are already 'off-lined').

OK... I'm exaggerating things.

But still, in reality things are not this way.

Far from it really.

Take Mr. Anderson's car for example. Let's say Mr. Anderson knows the logic behind his car that well. Inside, outside and beyond. Chances are Mr. Anderson has a wife who cares nothing about cars. Hansel and Greta, his two daughters in this world who can't even move their focus away from their cell phones when riding that vehicle, don't care either.

Now Mr. Anderson is beginning to wonder if those cell phones were attached to his daughters when they popped out to this world.

Expand that car to a bus... or to a train or a plane if you like. Sometimes humans even tend to know more about how a train works if something wrong happens like what occurred in MRT Kamuning Station this day. (I was on my way home from a certain client visit and I indirectly suffered from the jam.)

Try randomly asking passengers if they know how the engine works... chances are most of them (if not all) will give you that 'duh-look'. One out of ten would even yell or glare at you for disturbing their peace, probably 2 would give you their cutest smiles with a 'go away' subliminal mindset in the background and probably one out of one hundred would bluff their way into discussing things.

Chances are you won't even try asking for you know the outcome already.

Most of the time, these passengers don't even care. As long as they arrive safely to their destination... be with their families... just in time for a rerun of their favorite TV show.

Sans the knowledge of how the engine works or what is behind those hoods, life goes on.

And it goes on peacefully.

Replace(variations('passengers'), 'computer users')

Point is... most computer users don't give a smurf's arse on the 'internals'. Probably some of them would care knowing the logic behind things... but only few care about the source.

In fact try asking some programmers too how memory is managed, garbage collected, dangling references and the /3GB switch.

They would rather finished the tasks at hand than spend a time discussing these things to you. That is if they really know how things are done in depth.

Most users don't care how machines and mathematics merged in the form of computers with binary numbers as the battlefield. As long as they can type, edit, save and print their assigned papers and spreadsheets the world is fine.

They don't care how NudeAngelinaJolie1618.jpg was compressed, 'digitized', chopped into pieces and transform into bits once again as it passes fiber cables, lines, modems, routers and cyberspace when they're sharing those things to their peers.

As long as their friend receives the file, laughs and does things which I won't even mention here afterwards.

They just don't care.

Sad... but true.

Even in my programming-related client visits, I have experienced this countless of times already. Sometimes from 'normal users'... sometimes even from computer technicians. And I believe I'm not that boring when I talk. And I'm fresh as mint.

In fact my pet tiger and my three year old baby thinks I am interesting and cute. (OK... I am exaggerating things once again but yes the tiger exists)

Urgh. This is getting longer already... would you mind if I chop this for a while and continue this some other time?

No you won't.

You don't even care.