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Overcoming THE FEAR

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OSS

This being Halloween, it seems appropriate to talk about fear. Why don't more desktop users adapt to free computing? THE FEAR.

The command line. Scary stuff, for some. Speaking as someone with a family member who suffers from chronic anxiety disorder, I know exactly how crippling fear can be to the intellect. It is the performance anxiety of the brain. Here sit we geeks, calmly explaining the options to ls for the 60th time, and we can't see through the screen to the face of the person we're talking to. If we could, we might sometimes be able to tell that that person is terrified of messing up. How many people out there are misdiagnosed with ADD? When all the while the reason they can't learn is because their thoughts are drowned out by their amygdalas screaming "Panic! I have to get away from this NOW!"

Businesses. The debates that go round and round on Slashdot about open-source adoption in the business sector usually settle on the point: Businesses stick to commercial software because it gives them someone to sue. In other words, fear. If something goes wrong... what if? What if this? What if that?

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