July 28, 2004

marvin, the paranoid android

I know it’s not healthy to be hostile, but I am coming to the point where I want to do bodily harm to my screen-saver.

On a normal computer with the Windows operating system, when the screen-saver is needed it appears immediately, in a flash of necessity, an apparition that can be missed if you blink a little too hard.

However, I am a stubborn technology snob, and so I run Linux. Early in the days when Linux was first created, they decided they wanted to save the screen, just as the Windows and Mac counterparts did. However, due to copyrights, they wouldn’t be able to save the screen with the flying toasters and simulated aquariums that were the symbol of cutting edge technology at the time, which meant that the Linux screen-saver would be inherently inferior.

This would not be tolerated.

Great Programmers met and decided that instead of simply appearing unannounced as it’s windows counterpart did, the great Linux screen-saver would fade out, gradually acclimating the user to the fact that he hasn’t added a single word to his term paper in the past ten minutes. This would be all well and good if they’d added a feature that let any user (or at least me…) interrupt the fade to black so that he may use the damn computer. On Linux, while fading to black nothing else is allowed to happen, no matter how much I move my mouse or slam my keyboard against the monitor, the screen-saver remains unresponsive in it’s few transitory seconds as if to say, “Can’t you see I’m fading to black? Either enjoy the show or get out of my sight. True art is always under appreciated in it’s own time.”

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