Night out in London tonight: Beer, Reg and platform wars

Why Hacker Hate trumps Techno Love

Register Lecture Picture

Techies are often at odds with the world – but nothing matches the venom they save for other geeks foolish enough to devote their lives to other platforms.

That’s why tonight we’ll be examining why the tech “community” more often resembles a seething primal soup of warring techno tribes.

For this Reg lecture, Platform Wars, our fearless guide is Brian Alleyne, of the Department of Sociology at Goldsmiths. As a programmer turned sociologist, Brian is uniquely qualified to chart a course through the heated exchanges and tribal conflicts that reach back to the earliest days of personal computing, through games console flamewars, Mac vs. PC, Android vs. iOS, and the ongoing Linux vs. everything else.

Brian will also show how these platform war stories construct the "self" and the "enemy" and how these stories display features of "schismogenesis" – in this case a process of mutually reinforcing amplification of minor differences into major divides. Whether it’s consoles or Linux v Windows v Apple's Mac OS, he will show how both mindshare and market share are constructed and debated by plotting numbers as well as stories.

This all takes place at the Yorkshire Grey on Theobalds Road, London, this evening. The doors will be open from 6.30pm, with the talk proper kicking off at 7pm. And yes, there'll be refreshments, both liquid and solid, on hand.

After the lecture proper, we'll break for a drink and a bite, before opening the floor to questions, giving you the opportunity to discuss exactly why it is that techies reserve their greatest ire for people who to all intents and purposes are just like them.

Who knows, the conviviality might just help you bury the hatchet with a former keyboard enemy. Just don't make a mess if you do, please. You can get full details and buy tickets here. ®


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