This word “minimalism” has been rolling around in the back of my head for a couple of days now, ever since the e-mail that pointed out some contemporary usage. Call me paranoid, but I feel like I need to distance myself from that term now, since it seems to be bandied about in a different context, in the world beyond my focus.
I don’t want to be mistakenly associated with high-end hardware users who feel “minimalism” is somehow attached to Mac use, but with simpler icons or something superficial like that. And after someone else messaged me to point out minimal linux, which in turn pays homage to minimal mac, I am beginning to wonder if the word “minimalism” is what I represent at all. Neither of those sites is at all related to my own idea, and as a result, the term just seems … wrong.
In one manner of speaking, it seems to make sense: Getting the best available performance out of obsolete hardware, by relying on free and open source software that doesn’t tax the system to the point of being unusable. And in turn, avoiding buying new computers, keeping old ones in service, and hopefully preserving a small slice of the environment as a consequence.
Yeah, maximalism. I like that.
I don’t knock the minimalists; I have no opinion one way or another if you think Gnome with a simple, straight-line icon set is minimal. I don’t care if you are reducing your world to only one iPad, one iPod and one iMac, all with the same simple straight-line icon set. However you conduct your war on opulence in modern culture, I support your freedom and right to choose, probably even more than you do.
In the mean time though, some of us will be carrying out our own little wars, pushing antiques and throwaway machines to perform in ways contemporary software and hardware manufacturers would probably prefer you didn’t know about. Like writing blog posts from a 14-year-old computer running modern, customized, bulletproof, rock-solid software that didn’t cost a cent.
Yes, that is a much better word for it.