Why do so many applications and web sites use a white, or very near white, as their background colour?
Back in the days of yore when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, many graphical computing environments defaulted to a grey background. Amiga OS did, Mac OS did, Acorn RISC OS did. DOS and most other CLIs had a black background.
At some point we moved to white backgrounds, I think around the time that WYSIWYG editing became popular. But white isn't a great colour for backgrounds, especially back-lit ones like computer monitors. A little less contrast and a little less blue light seems to be the way things are going. Indeed, many programmer's editors offer this as a feature, when it used to be the default.
Why do white backgrounds persist? Why are they the default in almost everything? What benefit do they have, or is it a simple lack of most developers giving it much thought?
Here is an example of AmigaOS showing good contrast levels but not excessive brightness: