June 25, 2011

Moving At Internet Speed

In his book Program or be Programmed, Douglas Rushkoff writes:

For most of us, the announcement of the next great "iThing" provokes not eagerness but anxiety: Is this something else we will have to pay for and learn to use? Do we even have a choice?

At Mozilla, we talk a lot about user choice, but one choice we have a hard time giving our users is whether to upgrade to the latest version of our software.

This isn’t unique to Mozilla, of course. It’s fundamentally a social problem: once developers decide to push a product in a certain direction, there’s not enough human resources left to maintain the old version for an indefinite period of time. Eventually, the old version reaches its end-of-life; one can try to keep on using it, until a security hole that goes unfixed results in data compromise, or a dependency like the underlying operating system changes and breaks the program that relies on it.

Our inventions shift beneath us like tectonic plates.

Every company wants their product to be the next great iThing, but what about people who are content with what they’ve got? Or the ones that are so overwhelmed by the other changes in their life that they simply don’t have the time to figure out how to use the latest version of their software, which has been forced upon them at internet speed?

© Atul Varma 2020