Sunday, December 30, 2007

A word, what it means, and how the world accepts it.

One thing that bothers me. People who go and say your using the wrong word. I'm guilty on this as well, but have finally given up and use the right word for the right time. I'll let others try to figure out the context.

Example 1: Hacker.
Originally meant person who makes things of wood, using a hatchet. In computers, it meant a person skilled with computers and can make them do more than an average user. Then the media came along. Instead of using the word Cracker to mean people who break into computers and networks they used the word hacker. This created the mind share (how the world accepts it) of hacker meaning computer criminal. No matter how hard you try to change that perception, the criminal themselves call themselves hackers and the word will always be associated that way. Regardless of how the purists (real hackers and computer security people) feel about it.

Example 2: Windows
I think you can get the original idea. If not, look outside from within your living space. In computers, it's used as a blanket term associated with the current operating system of Microsoft. Windows 3.1, Windows 3.11 for work groups, Windows 95 / NT / 98 / ME / XP / Vista.

Example 3: Linux
Originally it meant just the kernel itself. All it does is the talk between the Operating System and the Hardware. The OS would be GNU/Linux, since it's usually paired with the GNU tools set. Then a distro would be a distribution, a collection of tools, beyond the GNU tools. However that is not the mind share The mind share treats all three as one interchangeable word.

Like the concept of Windows and Hacker, the word is lost, and all you do is make the rest of us look small and petty when you try to assert the way it should be.

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