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We are all a bunch of bigoted jerks...about technology

Some use Apple products but won't use anything else, and vice versa, and it's all really a shame.

By Bryan Lunduke on Wed, 09/25/13 - 3:25pm.

It is amazing to me how many technologies that we, as nerds, use (and don't use) based solely on our own prejudices towards (and against) any given piece of tech, even when those prejudices are no longer relevant (and, perhaps, never were).

Case in point: Apple. (No, this isn't an anti-Apple article... it just makes an excellent example.)

There are many people who avidly (and only) use systems from Apple. They have their Mac, iPad and iPhone... and are so positively prejudiced towards Apple products that anything else is, in their eyes, pure garbage. They scoff at and scorn people who have the audacity to use, and like, technology made by anyone else.

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It doesn't matter to them if the other technology is faster, cheaper, looks better and is more stable than what Apple offers. Nor does it matter if their basis for comparison is outdated and no longer accurate (i.e. "MacOS is so much better than Windows ME!"). To them, their prejudice remains. Because they like one thing, all other things must suck eggs.

All of this is somewhat human nature, right? People like to compete, to think that their team is the best. I get that. Hell, I get caught up in it more often than I'd care to admit. It just seems so out of place when we're talking about technology - about software and hardware.

This same thing even applies to programmers. I know very few programmers who aren't (and I say this with love) complete, bigoted jerks about programming languages. The irony here is that I've found software developers to be some of the most reasonable, open-minded, accepting folk I've ever met.

You can test this rather easily by walking into a room full of software developers and reciting a list of random programming languages. It'll help if you add the word "then" between each one. "C then Basic then Java then Fortran.” The resulting battle will make the British Parliament look like an episode of Care Bears.

A real world example: Lazarus.

Lazarus is an Open Source IDE (and framework) that uses Pascal as its programming language. Many developers will be quick to dismiss Lazarus simply because of Pascal - because, you see, those specific developers use a different language (such as C or Python) and so must, obviously, hate Pascal. That's how the universe works.

It doesn't matter that Lazarus has some of the coolest features in the programming world, allowing you to build native software using a variety of different UI toolkits, including Win32, Qt and GTK. In order to build your application using a different toolkit, you just change a single option. That's cool... but what's even cooler is the fact that you can, in one step, rebuild the entire Lazarus IDE itself, (including the UI designer, code editor...all of it) using whichever UI toolkit you like, right from within Lazarus itself, because Lazarus is built in Lazarus and is open source. "Ah, I'm bored coding my software in an IDE that uses GTK... *click*... that's better... now it's a native Qt application."

For a software developer, this is a very cool thing. Perhaps it’s not the most critical feature ever, but it’s super cool nonetheless. Yet, despite awesome features like this, many will scoff at it because the word "Pascal" is involved. Good odds that most programmers doing the scoffing haven't ever actually used Pascal (or haven't used it in conjunction with a modern framework).

Again, I am guilty of this mindset myself. I've found myself mocking languages such as Ruby many times over the years. Is Ruby a bad language? Far from it. It's rather awesome, in fact. But I wasn't a Ruby developer. So, for some unknown reason, I mocked Ruby.

This sort of thing is basically the nerdy, technology-centric form of bullying and bigotry. It's mean. And, worst of all, it shuts us off from experiencing the joys of using other technology that we can learn from and enjoy.

...as long as it's not from Apple. Their stuff sucks.