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As in Protestant Europe, by contrast, where sects divided endlessly into
smaller competing sects and no church dominated any other, all is different
in the fragmented world of IBM. That realm is now a chaos of conflicting
norms and standards that not even IBM can hope to control. You can buy a
computer that works like an IBM machine but contains nothing made or sold by
IBM itself. Renegades from IBM constantly set up rival firms and establish
standards of their own. When IBM recently abandoned some of its original
standards and decreed new ones, many of its rivals declared a puritan
allegiance to IBM's original faith, and denounced the company as a divisive
innovator. Still, the IBM world is united by its distrust of icons and
imagery. IBM's screens are designed for language, not pictures. Graven
images may be tolerated by the luxurious cults, but the true IBM faith relies
on the austerity of the word.
-- Edward Mendelson, "The New Republic", February 22, 1988


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