“The goal of reliable systems will have been achieved when no computer has a RESET button and no user has ever experienced a crash and does not know anyone personally who has ever experienced a crash.”
When we look back on the desktop software era, I think we’ll marvel at the inconveniences people put up with, just as we marvel now at what early car owners put up with. For the first twenty or thirty years, you had to be a car expert to own a car. But cars were such a big win that lots of people who weren’t car experts wanted to have them as well.
Computers are in this phase now. When you own a desktop computer, you end up learning a lot more than you wanted to know about what’s happening inside it. But more than half the households in the US own one. My mother has a computer that she uses for email and for keeping accounts. A couple years ago she was alarmed to receive a letter from Apple, offering her a discount on a new version of the operating system. There’s something wrong when a sixty-five-year-old woman who wants to use a computer for email and accounts has to think about installing new operating systems. Ordinary users shouldn’t even know the words “operating system,” much less “device driver” or “patch.”
Paul Graham. Hackers & Painters.