The Lite Side

The GUI Fruits and the Dark Angel of the Dell

- 2005.01.20

In the beginning was the transistor, and the transistor was electronics, and electronics were good. The transistor begat the gate, and the gate begat the chip, and the chip begat the computer.

In those days computers were void and without form. Then came operating systems, which begat languages, and the languages were many upon the world, and the computers and programs could not talk to one another. It was a veritable Babel.

In the tallest tower of Babeling there came upon the mind of one of the Angels of Computation the idea that he should be the greatest angel of them all. And so he began to accumulate companies as a shift register doth accumulate its bits. His Gates were not of pearl but instead were stacks of greenbacks.

In those days it was still possible for inventive people to find new ways to talk to their operating systems, and there were companies that did spend their entire R&D budget on technologies they were nought to deploy.

Through the random operations of Chaos did they come together, and the inventive people took what was offered to them for a pitiable stack of greenbacks, and lo! it was GUI. And it was good.

The inventive people did plant the GUI fruit in the land of Kali-4-nee-uh, and it did take upon the ground and began to spread throughout the land.

Soon upon the tallest tower there descended a gloom, whereupon they said, "Here is a competitor, let us accumulate it. We shall pluck this Fruit from the Tree of GUI, and sweet will be the juices that run upon our face."

Through many trials and tribulations they did try, but in the end all the Babeling succeeded in doing was mimicking the GUI, and poorly did they mimic it. But the tallest tower could cast its warez as far as it could see, and that was mightily far indeed, for they did cast a pall upon any executive who did not buy from the Ivory Towers of Babeling.

Wherefore any noble, clerk, or the lowliest desk-jockey would deign use the GUI fruit, the Ivory Towers of Babeling would descend upon them, saying, "Eat nought of the GUI fruit, and I will make thee rich beyond compare."

And lo! the many did believe these false stories and did indeed give up user friendliness in despair in their desperate search for the One True Solution That Makes One Rich.

So successful were they that the inventive ones set to casting their own asunder, yea, even those who had come up with the idea in the first place.

Thus came the Dark Times, when the GUI fruit became spoiled and slow and, yea, smelly unto those who would still dare to use it; all the fruit lost its color and became beige.

Still, a few believers kept The Fruit alive in garages and lofts and sub-sub-basement workshops, in newspaper offices and studios and places of learning, and in foreign countries whose opinions mattered nought to the Ivory Towers of Babeling.

And in those days there was one known as Johnny Appleseed, who had been cast from the GUI fruit garden for his foul temperament and combative ways in the Dark Times. He did wander across the desert for many years, traveling from one place to the NeXT, but finally, when the Dark Times were at their worst, he saw his opportunity and was inspired by the GUI goodness of The Fruit and came back to the light.

Whereupon the fruit GUI regained its color and grew again upon the land; the Ivory Tower was forced to begin anew and try other kinds of bitter fruit, such as the grapefruit which groweth in the Dell.

Colors burst upon the land so even toasters and conveyances and hairbrushes began to glow with the colors of the GUI fruit.

This angered the Angel of the Tower, and he did cast about, looking for a proxy, and found one living in the Dell. And the angel of the Dell began to whisper to the people, verily, saying, "This GUI fruit is no good: It is rotten, and it is expensive beyond compare. You shall lose your job, flies will surround your dog, and your ventures will fail - all because you were tempted by The Fruit."

Forsooth, the Dell did even remove all the color from the fruit of its labor, and perforce black fruit came to spread across the land, sold at cut rate prices with no middling man to taketh his cut, and the prices did fall as the coconut upon the beach of a mildly temperate resort hotel.

Upon the GUI fruit trees a new kind of fruit was found, hanging in a Pod underneath a limb, and Johnny Appleseed did say to himself, "This is interesting." And cracking the fruit, he did find music filling the air, sweet music to accompany the color and juice of the GUI fruit.

Thereupon Johnny did have another Idea and did produce new fruits in great quantities, shipping them far and wide, giving them to the rich and famous in little bags under their chairs, and everyone who tasted the fruit and heard the music and said, "It is good."

Soon all were carrying bits of fruit in their pockets, which were cleverly concealed in white to distinguish them both from The Fruit and the black trees of the Dell, and all who partook of them wanted more.

This begat the battle of the press releases, whereupon the tiny Pods grown in the Dell withered on the vine and did die, and the dark angel, the proxy of the Tower, did say the white Pods were but a fad and should be cast out.

But lo! no one did listen, and this story has not reached an end.

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