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Linux Voice

© Andrew Gregory

© Andrew Gregory

Article from Issue 200/2017
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The unstoppable march of progress.

The unstoppable march of progress

We often talk about modern technology as advanced, and think of it as the pinnacle of electronics mastery. It's not. Future historians will look back on the devices and computers we use now and think of them as the first, fledgling attempts by a people still getting to grips with the ideas and concepts of the area. Don't forget that we're still well within the first hundred years of programmable computers, which may seem like a long time, but in terms of human progress, it barely counts as a moment. I don't have a magic looking glass that tells me which way technology will go, but I am sure that the golden age of computing is ahead of us, and not behind.

If you think of it in terms of another icon of modern technology, the car, the Ford Model T didn't come out until 139 years after the first full-sized, steam-powered car. Today's so-called advanced technology will come to be viewed as we view cars of the 1800s. It's clunky, creaky and primitive, but it's also exciting, because now is the time when things are changing fast and advancements come quickly.

One thing about advancement is that when things have truly advanced, they become mundane. When there are no more giant leaps of progress, things quickly become ordinary. So, maybe our computers are slow and prone to failure, but they're exciting in way future generations will never be able to understand.

This month, we're focusing on the emerging technologies of the future, not the past. Simon Phipps takes a look at how copyright could change to support digital progress, Valentine Sinitsyn shows you how to work with virtual machines, Mike Saunders looks at the future of LibreOffice and I embrace systemd.

The future is coming; let's reach out and grab it.

– Ben Everard

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