This is an absolute must read for any Windows/Unix/Linux/FreeBSD etc. programmer who has an opinion on the OS. "When Unix was created and when it formed its cultural values, there were no end users. Computers were expensive, CPU time was expensive, and learning about computers meant learning how to program. It's no wonder that the culture which emerged valued things which are useful to other programmers. By contrast, Windows was created with one goal only: to sell as many copies as conceivable at a profit. Scrillions of copies. "A computer on every desktop and in every home" was the explicit goal of the team which created Windows, set its agenda and determined its core values. Ease of use for non-programmers was the only way to get on every desk and in every home and thus usability über alles became the cultural norm. Programmers, as an audience, were an extreme afterthought."
And the most beautiful piece of all, which very accurately describes my feelings: "The cultural schism is so sharp that Unix has never really made any inroads on the desktop. Aunt Marge can't really use Unix, and repeated efforts to make a pretty front end for Unix that Aunt Marge can use have failed, entirely because these efforts were done by programmers who were steeped in the Unix culture. For example, Unix has a value of separating policy from mechanism which, historically, came from the designers of X. This directly led to a schism in user interfaces; nobody has ever quite been able to agree on all the details of how the desktop UI should work, and they think this is OK, because their culture values this diversity, but for Aunt Marge it is very much not OK to have to use a different UI to cut and paste in one program than she uses in another. So here we are, 20 years after Unix developers started trying to paint a good user interface on their systems, and we're still at the point where the CEO of the biggest Linux vendor is telling people that home users should just use Windows. I have heard economists claim that Silicon Valley could never be recreated in, say, France, because the French culture puts such a high penalty on failure that entrepreneurs are not willing to risk it. Maybe the same thing is true of Linux: it may never be a desktop operating system because the culture values things which prevent it. OS X is the proof: Apple finally created Unix for Aunt Marge, but only because the engineers and managers at Apple were firmly of the end-user culture (which I've been imperialistically calling "the Windows Culture" even though historically it originated at Apple). They rejected the Unix culture's fundamental norm of programmer-centricity. They even renamed core directories -- heretical! -- to use common English words like "applications" and "library" instead of "bin" and "lib.""
Yeah baby, yeah! :)