Change PC to Win or Windows

Derek Martin code at
Mon Jul 21 22:45:31 CEST 2008

On Mon, Jul 21, 2008 at 12:32:00PM -0700, Lie wrote:
> > The term "PC" is commonly used in English, in the United States
> > and other English speaking countries, to mean a computer running
> > Microsoft Windows.
> As far as I am aware, they're like that because most people aren't
> even aware that there are other OSes than Microsoft Windows. 

You are missing two points.

The first one:  It doesn't matter what the reasons are for the
terminology to be common.  It only matters that it IS common.  It is;
and it is therefore "correct" in the sense that it conveys a meaning
to the overwhelming majority of English speakers, which is the
intended one.

As for the question of whether or not it is appropriate to refer to
Windows installations as "PC", it's as simple as that.  It is, by
definition (via common usage).  That is what this thread is about.

> The reason why the world hasn't evolved to the two predictable cases
> ("all kinds of microcomputers" or "IBM-PC and clones"), is what I'll
> explain below.

Your explanation is irrelevant to the argument of whether or not the
term PC is an inappropriate term to describe a Windows installation,
which is what this thread is about.  That is the premise put forth by
the OP, and that is the notion to which I am responding.  It simply is
not wrong or inappropriate in any sense; it is in fact correct,
regardless of how the meaning or usage resulted, and regardless of any
ADDITIONAL meanings the term may have.
For what it's worth, your explanation is also WRONG; the term PC
began to be popularly used in the United States to describe
Intel-based Microsoft machines when there was a proliferation of other
kinds of personal computers available to consumers.  When it was first
used this way, the IBM PC was *NOT* the most popular personal computer...
the Commodore 64 was.  It dates from a time when the Commodore VIC-20
and C64, Atari 400 and 800, Timex Sinclair, and other computers were
all very popluar home machines.

The term probably originated primarily because IBM chose to name their
computer the IBM PC, and because of Americans' predeliction to
abbreviate everything that's more than 2 syllables. ;-)

> > It wasn't something that Apple started; it's been used this way
> > in increasingly common usage for at least 20 years, although
> > exactly what combination of hardware and software was being
> > refered to as a "PC" has evolved over that timeframe.
> Apple popularizes the term by explicit marketing, 

And here is the last point you are missing: Apple does no such
thing.  They are only using a term in a way that has previously been
popularized by the computer industry as a whole, and its market (i.e.
consumers, predominantly American consumers historically) for
*DECADES*.  If I'm not mistaken, their ad campaign mentioning PCs is
less than 10 years old (though I can't quickly find any references as
to the date).  The popularization of the term PC to refer to
Intel-compatible machines running Microsoft OSes PREDATES APPLE'S AD

Therefore none of your points are valid or relevant, as to the
question of whether the usage of the term "PC" to describe windows
builds of Python is appropriate.

Can we return to the subject of Python now?

Derek D. Martin
GPG Key ID: 0x81CFE75D

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