Why Change When It Ain't Broken

By Xah Lee. Date:


“The sad thing being, that most PC manufacturers still include PS2 keyboard, despite selling machines with, uh, sometimes 6 up to 8 USB ports on them. I wish more PC had been legacy free earlier, would have shaked up the PC market a bit more, and moved the whole enchilada forward a bit.”

This is a display of the nature of dull human beings, which can be most eminently felt among the unixers. They have a slogan for you to chant: “Why change when it ain't broken?”

The slogan “Why change when it ain't broken” has the air of being wise. I mean, really, why change when things ain't broken? Just because there's some new whiz-bang technology, we ought to eradicate all tradition and established bases to fit the new technology? That seems ridiculous. Thus, one will see in PC industries, or more so in the unix industries, a plethora of things backed-up and defended by the slogan “why change when it ain't broken!”.

However, a slight analysis by the wise will seem to say that we should all still be using abacuses instead of computers, because “Why change when things ain't broken?”. From this point of view, the stupidity of all the unix chanters will come to light.

To be sure, we cannot simply dismiss a slogan being stupid just because it can be. One should give a fair accessment.

The gist behind the analysis of “why change when things ain't broken” lies in rationality. We want to be forward looking, but meanwhile we don't want to go extreme, because we want to be sure that new ideas or technology are worthy of change, if not radical change. Those who refuse to change for new technologies may be wise, but those who refuse to change because they are lazy are stupid.

Now looking back at the USB and PC manufacture issue, where many PC ships with USB hardware and software that supports USB fully, yet still uses PS2 keyboard. From our analysis above, we see that this is indeed stupidity (actually, it's a matter of practical economy). And likewise, of the so many things in unix advocated by the horde of unixers, are the world's most fantastically stupid group of people. (if you think USB and PC situation being stupid, just think about USB situation in unixes. Good luck trying to get it up!)

Now, when a unixer reads the above analysis, he may become all huffy and puffy, especially those sys admins familiar with mission-critical unix servers. They will begin to chant the likes of “industrial tools for industrial jobs”, or “then how do you explain those million dollar servers that are all unixes?”. This is a smart-ass retort, and a smart-ass retort is “then how do you explain those billions of machines that are all Microsoft Windows? and a good portion of them being mission-critical servers too!”. Of course, smart-ass retorts don't mean nothing. Only in-depth analysis can we approach to understand a phenomenon.