“There are no Buddhist Computer Systems”

I recently went to a BCS talk entitled “Eight Significant Events in Computing.” In the question and answers session at the end, one attendee noted that most innovations were Western in general, from the USA in particular. There are a good number of exceptions but, okay. He continued: the result of a Capitalist system and not Communist or Fascist. Again, I’m not sure that this is entirely true.

But it was his final point that floored me: IT innovations were mostly Christian. A few confused looks made him clarify with the line, “There are no Buddhist Computer Systems.”

I’m not really sure what a Buddhist computer system would look like, but I came up with the following list that would possibly qualify:

  • The concept of karma means that every time the application crashes, next time it starts you get a new, useful feature
  • Processes that crash are reincarnated rather than restarted
  • Long running processes (dæmons) therefore are said to be in nirvana

Then again, I wasn’t convinced that we actually have Christian computer systems either. Surely a Christian system would have the following properties:

  • A vast user manual written by people who claim to have seen the software
  • And translated some time later into a kind of pidgin English
  • The first half of the manual would be about version 1.0 of the product, which users still claimed was absolutely accurate. Even the bits that contradicted those in version 2.0
  • Both versions, but especially version 1.0, often erased your hard-disk or deleted child processes
  • Whether erasing your hard-disk or deleting child processes is a bad thing or not is still hotly debated by some users
  • Although version 3.0 has been around for a while, many users still cling to earlier versions
  • Despite having a third of the market, users often claim that they are being persecuted by people using other software or no software at all

Can you think of any more?