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Not at all. Hardware is becoming more and more obscure. 5 years ago many people could and did swap components in their PC. Now try doing that with a modern smartphone or laptop.

Don't confuse the chatterings online about RPi etc with any kind of general movement. The vast majority of computer users now use sealed hardware boxes, and that proportion is increasing.




Do we care? I'm personally much happier with open software and formats, but my Ubuntu laptop can easily read a .docx written by MS Office a Windows 8 machine. I can run many programs and games under WINE. And I can still tweak whatever I like. Meanwhile, people too busy, uninterested, and uneducated to want to change anything can use a simple, elegant, functional platform.

As long as our software is continually developed and is supported (which is why UEFI is so scary), I don't see why we should object to black box computers.


5 years ago many people could and did swap components in their PC. Now try doing that with a modern smartphone or laptop.

Do you think this is an entirely new development? Wouldn't the statement "5 years ago people could do X with computers, now they can't" in fact hold true for the last, say, 40 years in the history of computing?


But the argument here is about the specific property of black boxes.

Computers in the olden days tend not to be hermetically sealed black boxes.


Well, Rpi etc could lead the way. Not as they are of course, but that could improve.

One way I can think of is memristors, which could make FPGA-like hardware ubiquitous. This would push the software/hardware frontier so low that there would be effectively little magic left.




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