Monday, March 9, 2015

Software Stockholm Syndrome

Q: Why do you use that software? It’s horrible!

A: Because it’s what I know, and once you get used to it it isn’t so bad.

Sound familiar?  It’s what I like to call “Software Stockholm Syndrome”, and we’re all victims.

Take the application I’m using to write this post, Windows Live Writer.  Writer used to be a sweet little WYSIWYG blog editor, lightweight and versatile.  Sure, a little light on features, but a great little app.  Microsoft put their stamp on the app they acquired with the Onfolio acquisition until it had a few more features and a stunning amount of bloat.  And yet, I use it regularly.  OK, not that regularly (it gets more use these days for my travel^^drinking blog), but I stick with it because I know it.  Don’t laugh, pretty much everyone does it with some software.  Some companies are worse than others, even Apple does some things horribly- see every other iteration of the dreaded iTunes (aka iTurds), or that recent OS update that shattered audio (and other) workflows.

Software Stockholm Syndrome is part of the reason that those people who’s computers you fix don’t want to give up their AOL accounts, or Windows XP, or whatever.  But it isn’t just the luddites, even those of us who love new stuff cling to a few things out of familiarity.

Of course, newer isn’t always better (what, did I say “Windows 8”?), but if we don’t question our choices we’re all stuck with crappy software because “it’s popular”.

I don’t have a cure for Software Stockholm Syndrome, but as with many problems awareness is the first step to recovery.