I've seen a great deal of heat generated on this particular ng over
which is better, MS-based products or anything else.
The simple fact is, it depends entirely on the user demand and the net
result. For instance, for novice or beginner users, Mac-based
products proved to be the easiest system to master with the least
amount of effort. Regardless of whether or not the microprosser
architecture was better suited to execution of floating point
operations or not, the system had the look and feel that users with
little computer knowledge could operate proficiently.
That's why Gates et al. developed Windows. The GUI was the only way
to expand a market that until 1988 was still dominated by individuals
who had the patience to learn command line instructions and could
interpret the information coming back from the com. In essance, only
computer weeines could use the system prior to the advent of GUIs and
now my kids (2, 7 and 9) can whiz around the OS with little
difficulty. Try claiming that when the only interface was a group of
LEDs and toggle switches!
Because Gates is successful, he will be the target of disdain and
envy. His system is * only because there isn't a user base
large enough for software developers to port popular applications for
OSs like Linux. I have worked with them all (back to 1977 for micros)
and I still find advantages to all of them. I own no less than 3
different OSs now and am constantly looking for that next big OS
breakthrough that will provide power enough for the expert, with
simplicity to attract the novice. As of yet, none of these
requirements can be met with ANY competing system.
So the rants will continue and so will the mud slinging. But consider
this: Where would we be right now if it weren't for the following:
2. C programming language.
3. Apple Basic.
4. MS-DOS (was a great game platform!)
5. Mac OS (GUIs)
7. Linux and other copyleft products
Start with #1. Virtually all OSs owe some technique to the UNIX
system. Don't believe it? Aruge otherwise.
Move to #2. Program portability.
#3 - Introduced microcomputers to the hobby electronics scene (in a
practical way - I built one of the Altair machines in 1976. That was
a nightmare to use).
#4 Put a simple operating system (post CP/M) in the hands of millions
of users. Also provided a cheap development platform for all of the
system devices we now take for granted (find a magazine for video and
sound cards prior to MSDOS - there aren't many).
#5 Put and even easier OS on the market and drove the development of
later knockoffs like MS-Windows.
#6. One of the cheapest GUI-based OSs on the market at the time.
Still has the distinct advantage of having more application software
available for any micro-system architecture. Also pushed the price of
equipment through the floor for everything from memory to hard drives.
Unlike many of my fellow Linux users, I appreciate the introduction of
Win95 for the fact that it has accelerated the decline in hardware
prices as vendors fall all over themselves to supply newbie computer
#7. Reintroduced the concept of freely distributed code. Until MS
and the other commercial software houses, many of us who were
programmers long ago used to give the source code to everyone without
a thought to economic gain. It was, and has become again, a science
with the advent of freely distributed OSs to develop on. Unlike the
commercial developers, scientist like myself do not have unlimited
resources to purchase everything necessary to fully exploit the rich
variety of new equipment that has come along in the last 25 years.
So*and moan to each other about which is best. The simple fact
is, they are all interrelated in one fashion or another. And each
system has an end-user who has a different need.
For Windoze users: Be glad that Linux and other OSs are around.
Without us, the OS you now enjoy would stagnate from a lack of
For Linux users: Try to appreciate the newbies who are flashing their
red trikes around the neighborhood. Eventually they will develop a
need for an OS that is a little more challanging and requires more
thought to use.