It’s striking what happens when you admit, out loud, that you are torn between buying a Windows laptop and a MacBook Air. Proponents of each platform come out of the woodwork at you, offering their list of reasons why the other machines suck and theirs are oh so much better. Emotions run very hot when it comes to their preferred OS. It doesn’t matter which one people prefer; if they have a strong opinion, it’s held with almost religious zeal. The emotions involved seem way out of proportion to the items we’re talking about.
I think that people are so passionate about computer operating systems because we have come to rely on our computers so much. The personal computer (and similar mobile devices) are extensions of ourselves. They store our thoughts, memories, and feelings. They hold our diaries, libraries, critical thinking and creating spaces. Computers connect us with our physically distant loved ones and allow us to create deep friendships that now take place entirely on rectangular screens the size of the letter-sized pieces of paper that we used to use for such correspondence.
If you look at computers as external electronic brains, it’s no wonder that we are so emotionally attached to our devices.