Aaron Cordova's Blog

Tyranny of Software Choice

the tyranny of software choice

I recently read the Tyranny of Choice paper and the author mentions:
Software developers design their products so that users can customize them to their own specific needs and tastes, as if the resulting complexity and confusion are always a price worth paying to maximize user flexibility.

Nowhere is this principle more apparent than Linux. EVERYTHING is customizable, and that is usually done through a configuration file, whose format is usually unique within the system.
I switched to Macs from Linux in particular to get away from the tyranny of choice that Linux imposed. I found I spend more time customizing my linux box than using it to get stuff done. I remember worrying about not being able to recompile the kernel if I used a Mac.

Now, if I were creating something new I would certainly choose to start with Linux, since I can make it into whatever I want. But I definitely found that by using a system that is preconfigured with reasonable (actually quite good) defaults, it freed me up to stop working on the system and use the system to do work. This only worked with Mac OS X though, I was completely dissatisfied with the default choices made in Windows XP.