Change PC to Win or Windows

Lie Ryan lie.1296 at
Tue Jul 22 15:19:05 CEST 2008

On Mon, 2008-07-21 at 18:50 -0400, Derek Martin wrote:
> On Mon, Jul 21, 2008 at 02:47:31PM -0700, Lie wrote:
> > Common usage isn't always correct. 
> Actually it is, inherently...  When usage becomes common, the language
> becomes redefined, and its correctness is therefore true by identity
> (to borrow a mathematical term).  The scholars complain for a while,
> but eventually capitulate, and re-write the dictionary.  Language
> bends to its use by the people, not the other way around.  Your
> assumption is the opposite, and therefore all of your argument is
> false.

But until the dictionary is rewritten, it is incorrect usage. Since
dictionary isn't rewritten unless (nearly) the whole world agrees with
it, not all parts of the world used the term PC exclusively for
Windows-based computer, in this part of the world specifically, PC is
used for any desktop computers. Therefore your argument is false (at
least: yet).

> > For example, a physicist would not use weight when he meant mass. 
> > much, but in technical environment doing so would embarrass him. In
> > this analogy, I consider download page for a software source code to
> > be a technical area.
> Your analogy is still broken.  The term "PC" has been used BY

Yes, and they are wrong on using it. So do some physicist, before the
clear distinction is drawn explicitly between mass and weight.

FOR DECADES, people used the term PC for all sorts of things, in the
most technically correct usage, only IBM-branded home computers could be
called a PC, since PC is officially their advertising term. However,
since Personal Computer is a brand-neutral term (unlike iMac, Lifebook,
etc), it have the tendency to be extended (by the people) to include
other personally owned computers as well. The technically correct
extension would be "PC is computers that is designed and marketed for
personal possession and use", which means it doesn't matter what OS it
is, what hardware it uses. A debate (or a long observation to the
people) might be needed to determine whether that definition extension
is acceptable, but the definition extension you mentioned: "PC is
Windows-based computer" needs no debate, it is completely wrong and is a
baseless misunderstanding.

>  + Authors of technical books, manuals, and other forms of
>    documentation have refered to them as PCs... for decades.
>  + Educators in CS and EE at major universities have refer to them as
>    PCs, since at least as early as 1988 (when I started college).

I'm sure they were mentioning IBM-PC and its clones, not mentioning
Windows itself. (Well, it's true that IBM-PC and its clones is mostly
Windows-based, but PC is a term for the combination of hardware and
software that makes a personal computer, in the current incorrect usage,
PC is Windows, a software.)

>  + Industry news publications such as Computer World have refered to
>    them as PCs, for decades.
>  + There are even whole magazines dedicated to them! (PC Magazine, PC
>    Shopper, PC World, PC Gamer, etc.)  They are dedicated to Microsoft
>    on Intel, and have existed (at least in some cases) long before
>    Apple started talking about PCs in their ads.

Excuse me, those magazines (at least in this part of the world) also
contain non-Microsoft articles. The fact that Windows articles is the
dominant topic, is solely because most of their subscribers are Windows
user, it is not as profitable to write about Linux and Mac and Unix.

> All of this has been going on, essentially since there has been such
> a thing as the IBM PC.  I'm sorry, but you sir, are quite simply,
> plainly, and completely, wrong.  

Compounded with misunderstanding, you sir, are very well ignorant.

> With a catastrophic amount of
> written documentation, written by technical people in the computer
> industry over the last 20+ years, to prove it.
> > > > Apple popularizes the term by explicit marketing,
> > >
> > > And here is the last point you are missing: Apple does no such
> > > thing.
> > 
> > They did, by using the term PC to refer to other computers. 

Sure it catches the wave that has been going on for some time. And use
it to their own advantage. I've mentioned that Apple could not be blamed
so much for this, since with or without them, the term would become
popular, although its meaning mightn't have been as twisted as nowadays.

> > This kind of advertising Apple (the computer company) used is
> > misleading, since it implied that their PC is not a PC.
> They haven't implied anything; they're stating it outright!  Apple
> sells personal computers, but they do not sell PCs.  Apple's personal
> computer is NOT a PC, and never was, and never will be.  It's an
> Apple.

Apple's personal computer is NOT a PC? Aren't you contradicting
yourself? Just like what Apple, you have just said: "I'm Apple, I'm a
personal computer, but I'm not a personal computer." Completely

Last, probably my strongest argument: "If the folder has been called
WinBuild/WindowsBuild, there is no need for arguments. PC as Windows is
an arguable usage, Windows as Windows is not arguable."

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