LINGUIST List 6.169

Tue 07 Feb 1995

FYI: Fun: A semiotic view of WIN and DOS? for your musement...

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  1. alan harris, a semiotic view of WIN and DOS? for your musement. . .

Message 1: a semiotic view of WIN and DOS? for your musement. . .

Date: Thu, 2 Feb 1995 15:14:00 +a semiotic view of WIN and DOS? for your musement. . .
From: alan harris <>
Subject: a semiotic view of WIN and DOS? for your musement. . .

Definitely, a play of musement:
 Subject: The Software Schism (fwd)
Thanks to Nancy Owens ( and Harold Goldwhite

I append extracts from a piece by Umberto Eco that was first posted on the
Internet in Oct. 94: " ...I am firmly of the opinion that the Macintosh is
Catholic and that DOS is Protestant. Indeed the Mac is counterreformist and has
been influenced by the methodical path of the Jesuits. It tells the faithful
how they must proceed step by step to reach-if not the kingdom of Heaven- the
moment in which their document is printed. It is catechistic; the essence of
revelation is dealt with via simple formulae and sumptuous icons.....DOS is
Protestant and even Calvinistic. It allows free interpretation of scripture,
demands difficult personal decisions, imposes a subtle hermeneutics upon the
user, and takes for granted the idea that not all can reach salvation. To make
the system work you need to interpret it yourself; the user is closed within
the loneliness of his own inner torment.....with the passage to Windows the DOS
universe has come to resemble more closely the counterreformist tolerance of
the Mac. It's true: Windows represents an Anglican-style schism -- big
ceremonies in the cathedral but with the possibility of returning to DOS to
fiddle with things. With Windows you can still decide to allow women and gays
to be priests if you want to. And what about the machine language that lies
beneath both operating systems? Ah, that is the stuff of the Old Testament,
Talmudic and Kabbalistic. "

 Alan C. Harris, Ph. D. TELNOS: main off: 818-885-2853
 Professor, Communication/Linguistics direct off: 818-885-2874
 Speech Communication Department
 California State University, Northridge home: 818-366-3165
 SPCH CSUN FAX: 818-885-2663
 Northridge, CA 91330-8257 Internet email: AHARRISHUEY.CSUN.EDU
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