posterity

Funniest comment in weeks:

“thanks all, will put amended version into a Word doc for posterity”

Now why is that funny?  Er, because we already canʼt read five-year-old word documents?  Not exactly, I mean, quite often we canʼt read ten second old word documents.

Letʼs put it like this.  Had this been at a meeting, I could ask, who here – put your hand up if youʼre in favour of democracy, a society where everyone has equal opportunities, where people in all sorts of social groups can talk to each other, live round each other, do the same jobs and actually even marry each other?  And Iʼd put my hand up and so would everyone else I think.

And I could ask, hands up those in favour of a caste society, where youʼre not allowed to talk to some people, where youʼre only allowed to do some jobs, where youʼre only allowed to marry people in the same caste.  And Iʼd put my hand on the floor.  And everyone would laugh.  Because itʼs such a funny idea, in these parts.

And I could ask, why then would anyone use proprietary software and file formats which require you to pay for the privilege of using them, which restrict your access according to what software you can afford, which lock you in to the particular companyʼs system, not letting you work with your choice of software, and preserving the power of the elite who had the money to buy up patents?

And people would probably protest.  They might ask – but donʼt you ever use any proprietary systems.  To which Iʼd respond, yes – but if we were living in some other parts of the World, or if we were living almost anywhere a century ago, we could ask the question about democracy and put our hands up if we dared, but weʼd have to acknowledge that itʼs what we want, not whatʼs currently real.  So I acknowledge that the circumstances Iʼm in – because I use some specialist software – are not what Iʼd like.

But even specialist software using open systems is becoming easier.  And word processing is not a specialist requirement; there have been more word processors than I can count, possibly since before I was born, and weʼre not living in a world where MS Word is or has ever been an archive format.  Itʼs so far from being an archive format that itʼs just hilarious.  But itʼs also not funny, so seriously – can we not do it?

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