We will win the war for general-purpose computing

Recent online articles have sounded the alarm over an escalating “war” on General Purpose Computing (GPC). Tech Giants have consolidated more power during the pandemic and are flexing their muscles, locking down systems more tightly, and becoming audacious in their open disrespect for digital rights and privacy. Much of this occurs under the pretext of security or compliance. Personal computers, once tools of choice, are being recklessly pushed aside in some societies in favour of “necessary” always-on, permanently connected mobile appliances.

Here I hope to offer a different perspective and explain why, as a technological optimist 1, I don’t think this will work out. In this essay we will examine why there’s a problem, and make the case that advanced technological societies must always retain open, general purpose personal computers, strictly under the control of their users, and that the market for these is set to grow.

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