> How do they manage to put out an operating system as high quality
> as Linux for practically nothing? On another note, I wonder how
> Microsoft/Windows got to be so popular? I hold the opinion that
> it wasn't by making high-quality software. I'd say it is a
> combination of luck, timing, and advertising.
> Another possible explanation is that people just don't know any
> better; they just buy whatever's popular or whatever comes
> installed on their machine. Maybe this is just a biased opinion,
> but I would like to see more people learn to use Linux. The
> people I hate, well, I hope they continue to use Windows.
> Sorry, I'm just fed up with Microsoft and Windows. Sometimes the
> best things are life are free, like Linux and BSD! Yaa!
Having seen the evolution of CP/M through Windows NT first hand (I have
developed software on each incarnation) I think I have an idea, it is of
course, my opinion, so take it for what you think its worth.
CP/M was Digital Researches bastardization of a DEC OS for Intel 8080
and Zylog Z80 types of processors. CP/M was good because, until that
time, your only (practical) choice for computing was a mainframe.
IBM Wanted to get into the "little" computer market. The slapped
together a piece of *known as the IBM PC. They needed an OS, the
tried got get CP/M and for various apocryphal reasons could not.
Bill Gates knew of Seattle Computers QDOS (Quick an dirty DOS) which was
a clone of CP/M for the Intel 8088. Gates bought the rights for $50,000.
DOS was good in that it was fairly easy to port CP/M program because
many of the constructs were the same. (FCBs, console I/O, etc)
( Now is where the fun begins)
Bill et. al. managed to be non-exclusive with IBM, this opened the
market for "clones." Clones bought MS-DOS while PCs had PC-DOS. There
were subtle differences, but the standard was PC-DOS.
Then something interesting happened, the clones started out numbering
the genuine PC. IBM made some mistakes, the P.C. Jr. for instance.
Eventually MS-DOS not PC-DOS became the standard.
Another interesting thing happened. MS-DOS 2.0 was subtly incompatible
with MS/PC-DOS 1.0. MS-DOS 2.0 added more features, so one had to have
it. This resulted in the end user channel OS market for Microsoft. ISV's
noticed that when MS-DOS changed, the latest version of their software
that supported the new features would sell better. So you see where this
is going, right?
This is where Microsoft must have realized its market. I will not use
the term "improve" because that assumes something has been fixed as well
as had features added. Microsoft kept adding features to MS-DOS, these
features drove purchases, purchases of new OS versions also drove
purchases of applications. The money was in features (still is) not in
The ISVs didn't complain because they were selling software.
The hardware vendors didn't complain because they could sell more
The customers were in love with this new toy that could make their job
Microsoft also noticed with OS/2 that subtle incompatibilities promoted
sales, but, huge incompatibilities killed sales. A user that used 30
program, who upgraded a computer OS, and 90% of his programs work, is
one who will buy the new versions of the remaining 10% A person who goes
to a new OS and has none of his old programs will go back.
So Microsoft found itself in a pitiably and envious position. Microsoft
will never make a "new" or revolutionary product, because it would hurt
sales, however, Microsoft has a license to print money until Windows is
Up until, about, 3 years ago Microsoft was growing to world *.
They believed, as did everyone else, that it was inevitable. In the last
three years I have seen a substantial change in the view of software
engineers. 3 years ago, the attitude was "Windows, and if we have time
Mac." These days every single engineer I speak with has some plan on the
back burner for supporting systems other than Windows. Most of them are
"skunk-working" the product technology for Linux or FreeBSD.
So today you can look around at the ISV market and say Windows has
everything, but the visionaries and the engineers, the ones that make
the software, are actively preparing for the day that other operating
systems are revenue streams.
There will be people that will disagree, but thats OK their experiences
could be different from mine.
Windows 95, Windows NT, UNIX, Linux. Applications, drivers, support.