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Windows Operating Systems Software IT

20th Anniversary of Windows 546

Posted by Zonk
from the looking-back dept.
UltimaGuy writes "When Windows first shipped, 20 years ago this month, it was considered nothing more than a slow operating environment that had arrived late to the party, well behind the industry leaders, Apple and Xerox PARC. Now, it's the operating system used on nearly 95 percent of all the desktops and notebooks sold worldwide. Take a look at Window's past and present, and what lies ahead in the future, including an interview with Mr. Bill Gates himself."
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20th Anniversary of Windows

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  • Windows (Score:3, Funny)

    by murdie (197627) on Friday October 14, 2005 @06:51AM (#13789179)
    Plus que ca change, plus que c'est la meme chose.
  • by ardor (673957) on Friday October 14, 2005 @06:53AM (#13789184)
    In Redmond, all windows are wide open.
  • What's changed? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RootsLINUX (854452) <rootslinux@@@gmail...com> on Friday October 14, 2005 @06:54AM (#13789185) Homepage
    "When Windows first shipped, 20 years ago this month, it was considered nothing more than a slow operating environment that had arrived late to the party,"

    Okay.....so how is it any different today? Viruses/spyware and/or anti-virus/spyware software continually slow it down, and all that Microsoft seems to do lately is copy the innovative things that its rivals do, so its still always late to the party.
    • by maxwell demon (590494) on Friday October 14, 2005 @06:55AM (#13789196) Journal
      20 years ago, you could safely ignore it.
    • Re:What's changed? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by vagabond_gr (762469)
      Okay.....so how is it any different today?

      Today, Windows' damage to humanity has been multiplied by .95 times the number of world's computer users.

      Well, to be fair, Windows has transformed personal computers from a happy hippie hacker's toy to a world phenomenon. Of course this may have happened in spite of and not because of Windows, still it has to be said.
    • First, windows is getting better, but it sure seems like a slow grind.

      More importantly, there is another thing that is not changing. The Wall Street Journal has an article today that confirms its previous reports of Google in talks with Time-Warner about giving them money to prop up AOL.

      Nothing has changed. Every time a potential challenger to MS pops up, the challenger kills itself off through its own hubris. Once again, the folks at MS sit in Redmond and laugh all the way to the bank while Google is throw
    • by Nailer (69468) on Friday October 14, 2005 @07:37AM (#13789339)
      I used to get really exited about Windows. Betas of Windows 98 and NT 4 at home, Systernals tools, things like TweakUI, an NT 4 era MCSE, caring about the differences between Windows 95 OSR2 and OSR1, etc.

      I kinda stopped being interested shortly after Windows 2000. What happened? Well nothing. Before Windows 2000, you had Windows 98, which was unstable, and Windows NT 4, which was a bastard to use (in particular, it had no Plug and Play support).

      Then there was Windows 2000, and it was more stable and still easy to use.
      Windows XP could hav been a Windows 2000 service pack. A better themable UI, a minor IE update, some utilities to do things like registry snapshots that were useful, but always available as cheap third party tools. No big deal. XP SP 2 was the same, except the firewall was so bad you still needed a third party firewall. And yeah, spyware got more popular in the last few years, so you need antispyware tools now too.

      There have been no significant improvements since Windows 2000. Meanwhile, about 1998, I saw a screenshot of Enlightenment. I wanted Enlightenment. Linux came with the bargain. Linux was tweakable to my hearts content. And also really difficult. And I'd use it for a little while,. then mess it up or find something I couldn't do, then go back to Windows.

      The thing is, Linux seemed to be improving. Things that seemed to buy me about Linux were bugging other people too. I went from Red Hat 5.2 to Mandrake, which had a nicer GUI, KDE. Then Red Hat 6 came out, and it had KDE plus a simpler GUI installer. Woo. And tools to notice new hardware and configure it. And I started learning about Linux, cause it was nice and tweakable and interesting.

      After a while, I'd want to do something in Linux I couldn't do in Windows. First it was pull down sequences of files using wget. In Windows you'd need to fetch and install some trialware crap to do that, and Linux came with the tool. Then it was use Evolution. Then I found smssend, which was cool as hell. Meanwhile, Gnome got quite decent, so I switched to that. These days, Windows has ...what? A crap web browser, an IM that only does MSN (Linux does AOL, ICQ, Yahoo, and Jabber, aka Google), a crap mail client (compared to Evolution - check hotwayd if you need to check Hotmail), OpenOffice 2 (yeah, I think OO 1 was crap too) a good firewall out of the box, no spyware hassles, and the ability to install and upgrade my apps/hardware without rebooting for every single one, over and over again. Sure, you could install all this stuff in Windows, but you have to find it and pay for it and reboot and reboot and reboot. If Linux fucks up, all the config files are documented and I can fix it. There's even useful shit like strace in the OS. If Windows fucks up, most of the registry isn't documented and Systernals tools are expensive as hell.

      Meanwhile, I and my Linux buddies had finished Grand Theft Auto on the PS2 while most of my remaining Windows using mates were waiting for it to be released.

      • by TrancePhreak (576593) on Friday October 14, 2005 @07:55AM (#13789411)
        You seem to not even know about UnxUtils [sourceforge.net], which happens to contain a native win32 port of wget and many other utils. I remember Evolution in 1998 too, what a piece of crap that was. It sure was pretty, but it really liked to hose the system.

        And not to nitpick, but GTA on the PS2 is really bad. People just ignore all the slowdown and terrible aiming or something. On top of that, there's Multi-theft auto, something not possible on the PS2.
      • Then there was Windows 2000, and it was more stable and still easy to use.
        Windows XP could hav been a Windows 2000 service pack. A better themable UI, a minor IE update, some utilities to do things like registry snapshots that were useful, but always available as cheap third party tools. No big deal.


        Well, Win2K = NT 5.0 and WinXP = NT 5.1, released only a year and a half later, so what were you expecting?

        That said, a lot of the useful features that were supposed to be in Win2K from the start (particularly r
    • by Moraelin (679338) on Friday October 14, 2005 @07:45AM (#13789366) Journal
      What's changed is that, as the article says, 95% of computers run Windows. It may not be the fastest. (But then again, I'm writing this in Konqueror on a Gnome desktop, and... well, it seems to me that Windows XP on my gaming machine does boot faster, and renders a lot faster. Maybe because it doesn't render and antialias everything in software.) It may not be _the_ one that discovered the wheel. Etc. But a lot of people like it anyway. It's an achievent they can be proud of.

      In a sense, the old wisecrack "Saying that Windows is better because more people use it, is like saying that McDonalds is the best restaurant" actually applies there. For a lot of people, McDonalds _is_ the better choice, or they would go eat somewhere else.

      Choosing a restaurant isn't just a matter of who has the best cuisine and the rarest wines, but a compromise that also includes stuff like:

      - price (self-explaining)

      - time (maybe I just want to pick my hamburger and be on my way, not wait an hour while the chef prepares a complicated 5-star meal)

      - accessibility and/or personal effort involved (if the 5 star restaurant is in the next town, and the McDonalds is right around the corner, you can guess where I'll eat. Doubly so if I have to drive home first and get a suit and tie for the 5 star restaurant.)

      - familiarity (I already know what a cheeseburger and a Cola taste like. Maybe I don't have the time or inclination right now to figure out wth 'escargot provencal avec champignons' or 'canard a l'orange' even mean, or which of them I might even like, and if I want a Chateauneuf Sauvignon or a Valadilene Pinot Gris with either.)

      - personal taste (maybe I actually _like_ a chickenburger, or not wearing a tie while I eat it.)

      - social perception/acceptability (if I were a teenager taking my punk gang to a restaurant, chances are some snotty Chez Lex establishment would just make them uncomfortable)

      Etc.

      Yes, McDonalds didn't invent hamburgers or Cola, they're latecomers, etc. But people choose to go eat there anyway. Go figure.

      Well, the same applies to OS's. If you factor in the whole mile-long list of reasons, and not just take one aspect out of context, for a lot of people Windows actually is the best choice. So, well, I'd say MS has reason enough to celebrate there.
      • Well, the same applies to OS's. If you factor in the whole mile-long list of reasons, and not just take one aspect out of context, for a lot of people Windows actually is the best choice

        I beg to differ. To simplify to the max, reasons for Windows being used has NOTHING to do with the reasons for people that go to McDonald's.
        People don't go to Mc Donald's because they know someone in the vicinity that will help them to eat for free, while that's the case with OSes.
        Mc Donald's imply a sense of scarcity, nothi
      • familiarity (I already know what a cheeseburger and a Cola taste like. Maybe I don't have the time or inclination right now to figure out wth 'escargot provencal avec champignons' or 'canard a l'orange' even mean, or which of them I might even like, and if I want a Chateauneuf Sauvignon or a Valadilene Pinot Gris with either.)

        I agree with you on this, and I can put myself as a live example[although I use Subway instead of McDonalds]. See I am from Mexico and I live now in the UK. After arriving here, the fi
  • 20th post (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 14, 2005 @06:54AM (#13789187)
    20th post
  • Huh? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 14, 2005 @06:54AM (#13789189)
    Huh? A /. post about Microsoft Windows WITHOUT bashing?
  • Nothing new (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DDiabolical (902284)
    When Windows first shipped, 20 years ago this month, it was considered nothing more than a slow operating environment that had arrived late to the party, well behind the industry leaders

    So, nothing has changed then!
  • by Timberwolf0122 (872207) on Friday October 14, 2005 @06:55AM (#13789193) Journal
    When Windows first shipped, 20 years ago this month, it was considered nothing more than a slow operating environment


    20 years and billions in R&D and the only change is in Longhorn we have RSOD aswell as BSOD. 20 years well spent I think./
  • by oberondarksoul (723118) on Friday October 14, 2005 @07:00AM (#13789215) Homepage
    Ugh. 20-odd pages, each with only three paragraphs of text? Massive great ads in the middle of the text? Seems like just a glorified way of getting more adverts seen. I'll pass, thanks.
  • by Walterk (124748) <.gro.mca. .ta. .telbud.> on Friday October 14, 2005 @07:07AM (#13789232) Homepage Journal
    Take a look at Window's past and present, and what lies are in the future
    I believe this to be more accurate
  • Yeah, right (Score:5, Funny)

    by Dunkirk (238653) <david@ d a v idkrider.com> on Friday October 14, 2005 @07:08AM (#13789234) Homepage
    Man, if there were EVER an article that Slashdotters weren't going to RTFA...
  • http://www.microsoft.com/windows/WinHistoryIntro.m spx [microsoft.com]

    I wonder how many of you did use those first versions of Windows. From 3.1 on, it was quite common but before 3.1...
    • I used Windows 3.0 regularly on my first PC (an Amstrad PC1640 - an 8MHz 8086 CPU, 40MB of hard disk and 640KB of RAM. I briefly played with Windows 1.0 when I acquired a copy on an apricot machine, and laughed at the lack of overlapping windows, and the lack of any software other than the dosbox.

      Windows 3.0 was a fairly good environment for its day, although I found it somewhat slower than GEM, and some things (e.g. putting all of your icons in the same program manager group) could completely kill it.

    • The general perception was that windows was that thing you needed to make pagemaker work. GUIs were not all that popular in the work environment at the time because they just slowed things down.

      The internet made multitasking a legitimate necessity. Today it seems absurd that we wouldn't be able to keep our im windows open while we download files and stream music all in the background of our actual work. Back then, however, multitasking was like the solution looking for a problem. The first version of window
  • Relieved (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 14, 2005 @07:11AM (#13789244)
    After using GNU/Linux for three years, it was kind of a relieve to return back to Windows. I still use tools like emacs, gimp, gcc, latex, etc. But Windows is very stable now, and it supports all the hardware you can throw at it. Now I don't have to sit for days at end trying to get my TV tuner, printer, etc. to work.
    • Re:Relieved (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Vegard (11855) on Friday October 14, 2005 @07:47AM (#13789378)
      Hardware-support is a no-brainer. It's really simple: *do your research before you buy*, and it will be equally well supported in Linux.

      Do not reward the monipoly. Reward standard-friendly hardware vendors who help the community, not hardware-vendors who help the monopoly.

      I haven't got any hardware-problems with Linux. I simply don't buy non-compatible hardware.

      As for software/features, it is getting better by the day in Linux, and I am more productive on a *nix-platform than a Windows-platform.

      No, I will not surrender my independence, and I encourage all who are remotely interested in competition and freedom in the software-market to do as me.

      In addition, my advocacy-strategy is one that I recommend to everyone:

      1) When you go to a hardware-store, ask the clerk for Linux-compatibility! Let him know that there *is* a demand. Do it regardless if you know the answer or not (unless it's written on the box).

      2) In case they don't know, and you don't know, ask for their return-policy. Don't buy if you can't return it!

      3) Never buy Windows-only-hardware, even if the machine which is going to use it is currently a Windows-machine. Things may change, and some time in the feature, the hardware will be used in a Linux-machine. And even if not, the monopoly does not deserve rewarding!

      Last, but not least, do not support the Windows-monopoly by being the virus/spyware-janitor for all your Windows-friends. It's quite relieving not having to bother *at all* with the Windows-viruses/spyware. Let them fix their own mess if they choose to take the lazy way and go with the monopoly. Don't be the one who makes it easy for them to use Windows!

      And when they're ready, get them hooked on Linux ;) Offer them transition-help, it will reduce your burden with Windows-questions long-term.

      and no - I'm not really a fundamentalist. I believe everyone *should* have the right to choose. But the monopoly limits *my* right to choose, so I fight the monopoly. When competition is restored, mission is accomplished, not when MS is broke. If MS goes broke if they don't have a desktop-monopoly, however, I will not really feel sorry for them. I believe competition to be more important.
      • Re:Relieved (Score:3, Insightful)

        We're back to the same question again

        Why?

        Yeah, I've been using Linux for 5/6 years at home but I'm a geek, I know this, I'm OK with it
        I buy hardware I can use like you say, but not everyone cares about how their computer works
        they only care that it does.

        They are not like you and I who usually have their nice shiny new PC opened up within a week
        of purchase.

        They don't want to do anymore than browse the internet, send/receive emails, play games, write
        a few documents.

        Windows does do this, Windows
      • Re:Relieved (Score:3, Insightful)

        by julesh (229690)
        Hardware-support is a no-brainer. It's really simple: *do your research before you buy*, and it will be equally well supported in Linux.

        Yeah, right. We live in a world where vendors change the chipsets in their cards without changing the model numbers. No amount of research will tell you whether or not a Belkin F5D7200 will work under Linux: it could be one of two entirely different cards, one of which works fine, the other of which doesn't, and you won't be able to tell until you get it out of the box.
  • To Windows! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 14, 2005 @07:12AM (#13789248)
    The cause of, and solution to, all of lifes problems!
  • I was using windows/386 well before 1995. (Though I am a bit embarrased to say it)
  • There biggest coup (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gnalre (323830) on Friday October 14, 2005 @07:13AM (#13789251)
    I always thought MS biggest coup was not producing a graphical interface(others were doing far better ones at the time) but convincing companies like lotus to port there applications to it.

    I bet the discussion did not go like "if you port lotus 1-2-3 to our new graphical interface and help make it popular, in a few years time we will use our position to write a competing app and wipe you off the mat."

    I bet the head of lotus wished he had negotiated a non-compete clause.

    • by Frankie70 (803801) on Friday October 14, 2005 @07:19AM (#13789274)

      I bet the discussion did not go like "if you port lotus 1-2-3 to our new graphical interface and help make it popular, in a few years time we will use our position to write a competing app and wipe you off the mat."

      I bet the head of lotus wished he had negotiated a non-compete clause.


      You are wrong there. Lotus was very slow in getting 1-2-3 to Windows. They concentrated on
      OS/2. This gave Microsoft the chance to gain a lead in the Windows spreadsheet market
      with Excel.
      • Same with WordPerfect. Many of the old school software firms were too slow, or didn't care until it was too late to port their products to Windows. By the time WordPerfect got a stable usable version working Word had taken its marketshare. Shame too, I loved still having reveal codes in the Windows version of WP.
      • by MemoryDragon (544441) on Friday October 14, 2005 @08:37AM (#13789617)
        Not really that correct, Fact is Lotus did not the needed info to make 123 work on Windows in time, while Microsoft relied on internal undocumented code to have Excel ready for Windows 3.0 (which was the cornerpoint where Microsoft took over the app market as well, before they were only niche players just being the market leader in dos and basic) All that stuff is documented very well in the book undocumented windows, at least it was in its first incarnation. And to my knowledge there was a lawsuit regarding this which just ended this year with a loss by Microsoft and a payment to Lotus.
  • FWIW (Score:3, Insightful)

    by spycker (812466) on Friday October 14, 2005 @07:13AM (#13789252)
    IMO Microsoft made computing cheap (as in $) well before Linux was a twinkle in Linus' eye. And MS still makes computing cheap relative to all other commercial offerings.

    SUN and Apple had the world by the tail in those days (mid 80's), but they never worked to commoditize themselves (despite what they tell you its a good thing). Rather SUN, with its hubris laden leadership thought they were so great that only universities and large conglomerates were entitled use their software and hardware; a fact reflected in their price list. And look were its gotten them... McNeally - "I could've been a contender!"

    An argument could even be made that Microsoft with its relatively low priced OS is what made the business model that created Linux. The only way to compete with cheap (as in $) is free (as in beer).

    • Re:FWIW (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Moraelin (679338)
      "SUN and Apple had the world by the tail in those days (mid 80's), but they never worked to commoditize themselves (despite what they tell you its a good thing). Rather SUN, with its hubris laden leadership thought they were so great that only universities and large conglomerates were entitled use their software and hardware; a fact reflected in their price list. And look were its gotten them... McNeally - "I could've been a contender!""

      Yes, but they didn't tell you it's a good thing back then.

      Fact is, the
  • Another operating system will have supplanted it.

    Perhaps something open like Linux, but not necessarily Linux. I think Plan 9 has some potential:
    http://www.cs.bell-labs.com/plan9dist/ [bell-labs.com]

    I like Plan 9's idea of having one protocol, P9, for communicating in the network. Very simple.

    Or better yet, most of us won't have to worry about operating systems at all (for the desktop), because many things become more standarized, drivers contain metadata detailing the device's operation rather needing to deal with every
  • "[Windows] was considered nothing more than a slow operating environment that had arrived [...] well behind the industry leaders, Apple and Xerox PARC"
    No, it was considered a slow environment that was no more usable than the other graphical challengers to the actual industry leaders, with their (non-graphical) DOSes. Has the writer of this article summary celebrated his own 20th birthday yet?
  • What a waste (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wazzzup (172351) <astromac&fastmail,fm> on Friday October 14, 2005 @07:15AM (#13789263)
    With 20 years and 95% market share they had the time, money and resources to create the most advanced operating system ever. Instead, all they ever produced was "good enough" - never on the leading edge, never innovative.

    What good have they done? They made the PC a commodity, accessible to all but the most poor. Gone are the days of $7000 proprietary machines that didn't operate with other different computers. These are all good things but they came as a result of market share and fate rather than purposeful design and innovation.

    I look back at the last 20 years of Windows and say - what a waste. What a colossal monument to greed and complacency.
    • Re:What a waste (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Bogtha (906264) on Friday October 14, 2005 @07:25AM (#13789294)

      They made the PC a commodity, accessible to all but the most poor.

      This is the second time I've seen this claim this week. As far as I know, it's utter nonsense. How did Microsoft make the PC a commodity? Surely the single crucial factor was the IBM clones being given the legal go-ahead through the IBM vs Phoenix lawsuit, which Microsoft had nothing to do with. How on earth did Microsoft make the PC a commodity?

    • Re:What a waste (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Masa (74401) on Friday October 14, 2005 @07:36AM (#13789336) Journal
      I think that people expect too much of Microsoft. The sad truth is that Microsoft - as a corporation - is not interested in advancing computer science, innovation or helping to create better tomorrow. They are in the business to make money. That's their only motive to be the biggest player in the business. I'm sure that investors are very happy, how Microsoft has been able to grow in the past 20 years.

      Well, at least in my books Microsoft is just another greedy company. Nothing more. I don't expect them to do same things than universities and other research organisations who have passion to this segment of industry.
    • Re:What a waste (Score:3, Interesting)

      by EnglishTim (9662)
      With 20 years and 95% market share they had the time, money and resources to create the most advanced operating system ever. Instead, all they ever produced was "good enough" - never on the leading edge, never innovative.

      I'd like to know where the phantasmal operating systems were that we could have had that were 'leading edge' and 'innovative'. The only candidate that's come along recently was OSX, which was unfortunately crippled to only run on proprietary hardware.

      I'd go so far as to say that Windows 95
    • Re:What a waste (Score:3, Interesting)

      I don't know about that. If you discount the virus, spyware, and exploit threat, Windows XP Pro is a pretty nice workstation operating system. I've never had it BSOD on me like Windows98 used to and it's pretty much rock solid. The main problem are third party applications introducing incompatible DLLs, spyware, viruses, etc.
    • Re:What a waste (Score:5, Insightful)

      by justins (80659) on Friday October 14, 2005 @09:55AM (#13790113) Homepage Journal
      Instead, all they ever produced was "good enough" - never on the leading edge, never innovative.

      Their innovation can be summed up as not being as completely fucking retarded about the way they ran their business as IBM, Commodore, Apple, and any UNIX vendor you care to name were.

      Having a superior technology and not getting it into users hands is a failure. Why is it so hard for people to understand this? There's a reason why we aren't all typing into Amigas right now and it's not because Microsoft is an EBIL MONOPOLY!!!, it's because Commodore made a lot of extremely dumb business decisions. God knows that's also true of the UNIX vendors and Apple.
  • by MECC (8478) * on Friday October 14, 2005 @07:23AM (#13789290)
    Just look at what Apple is doing now. No guesswork there.
  • by Burann (916084)
    Unlike most here on slashdot I'm quite happy with Windows, I think it works great, provides a myriad of features and is fast and stable. So heres to another 20 years of Windows
  • More lies about:
    1. security;
    2. efficiency;
    3. non-draconian DRM;
    4. interoperability;
    5. openness;
    6. standards compliance;
    7. release dates;

    I hope in 5 or 6 years time the Windows anniversary will be about "the year MS lost its monopoly".
  • Leaders? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MasterOfGoingFaster (922862) on Friday October 14, 2005 @07:32AM (#13789320) Homepage
    "...well behind the industry leaders, Apple and Xerox PARC." PARC was certainly a leader in research, but not an industry leader. You couldn't buy their stuff at the time. And the Mac was a slow seller with almost no software. DOS was king, and IBM was still on top. I have a 20 year old issue of Byte that reviews all the window managers (GEM, TopView, Desqview, etc) that were shipping, and it mentions the soon-to-arrive Microsoft Windows. My Windows 1.0 SDK has a "hello world" example with several pages of C code. I remember thinking "this will never work"...
  • by Dan East (318230) on Friday October 14, 2005 @07:32AM (#13789323) Homepage Journal
    Interesting, because this month is also the 20th anniversary for another OS and mouse-driven GUI - Amiga OS 1.0. The Commodore Amiga 1000 first shipped in October, 1985. It's truly a shame it did not become more mainstream, because the Amiga's GUI completely blew Windows away.

    It took Microsoft at least another decade to offer a gui as smooth and responsive as the Amiga's, with the release of Windows 95. Yep, 10 years before they had a mouse pointer that properly followed the physical mouse like the Amiga's, instead of the herky-jerky mouse movement Window's users had to put up with.

    Dan East
    • It was a superb architecture - an advanced interrupt driven, custom active chipsets, multiple bus hardware that could be used by a its preemptive multitasking OS which could really be used. Very high quality compilers, among many other things available. Was linear addressing memory, multitasking and running with the large networked systems while others still trying to figure out how to fit things into memory, rebooting between applications, or to load multiple network stacks at the same time.

      http://en.wikip [wikipedia.org]
  • by dogStarSirius (921993) on Friday October 14, 2005 @07:38AM (#13789342)
    "...was considered nothing more than a slow operating environment that had arrived late to the party, well behind the industry leaders" - how times change?
  • by Antifuse (651387) <slashdot@ryanw[ ]ell.com ['add' in gap]> on Friday October 14, 2005 @07:43AM (#13789355) Homepage
    I'd much rather read Wikipedia's History of Windows [wikipedia.org][Wikipedia] entry instead.
  • by weavermatic (868696) on Friday October 14, 2005 @08:05AM (#13789450)
    (AP) Associated Press Hordes of rabid, self-described "elite open-source programmers" unable to properly keep their Windows-based PC's free of spyware, viruses. Experts attribute this to the fact that they spend all day downloading random .iso files from Russian serial/crack sites hoping to find a new Linux build that they haven't installed/reformated over on their ancient Pentium Pro machine.
  • 20 years? (Score:5, Funny)

    by keyrat rafa (856668) on Friday October 14, 2005 @08:11AM (#13789478) Homepage
    Or about as long as the Serenity poll has been up.
  • by pottymouth (61296) on Friday October 14, 2005 @08:14AM (#13789499)

    Just goes to show....

    You build a better mouse trap.... and some stinking Harvard MBA dropout will steal it, make a bad copy and sell it for a lot less!!
  • by ader (1402) on Friday October 14, 2005 @08:19AM (#13789532) Homepage
    This is one of those celebrations that starts with raising a glass and ends when one passes out holding the empty, tear-stained bottle.

    Ade_
        /
  • 20 years... (Score:3, Informative)

    by wiresquire (457486) on Friday October 14, 2005 @08:37AM (#13789622) Journal
    Let me just add that even before I saw my first version of Windows - 2.something? - there were other alternatives around for PC's.

    Quarterdeck's Desqview [wikipedia.org] was vastly superior at that time. There's even a wikipedia entry for it! I rest my case.

    Desqview got a look in only because of Quarterdeck's QEMM. Does anyone even remember that ? The good old days of really needing an expanded memory manager - never to be confused with an extended memory manager ? And that some of the key programs during that period worked with expanded memory and some worked with extended memory? And how the way you loaded your drivers and then your programs *mattered*?

    Goddam you young 'uns have it easy.

  • I did try, honest (Score:5, Interesting)

    by el_womble (779715) on Friday October 14, 2005 @08:52AM (#13789685) Homepage
    I tried to RTFA, but I got depressed. There is no mystery as to how or why Microsoft became so ubiquitous - it represented the best balance of usability / functionality / cost to businesses and home users in the time before the internet. By the time the internet had hit, there was so much human momentum behind it that the microsoft of today was inevitable. We shouldn't blame Microsoft for becoming Microsoft, we should blame human nature. We wanted a single platform and we wanted it for as little money as possible.

    The problem we're facing today is that there are two many people pushing single platform solutions. You can't blame them for that, you stand a better chance of repeat purchases if your software doesn't play well with others and the cost of migration is greater than the cost of an upgrade, but in the long run its not good for anyone, because it creates Micorsofts.

    We need to educate people in the benefits of hetrogentity - don't buy software that only works for a single platform. Don't buy computers that will only work with similar computers. Don't buy into product that only has a single line of support - and never buy a product that has no support (I include offshore telephone support in that) and top of the list must be: don't buy software that generates files that can only be read by a single application.

    Anytime you buy/use a product that adopts and enhances a standard protocol and doesn't tell the rest of the world how they are doing it, you buy into the next Microsoft.
  • by Baloo Ursidae (29355) <dead@address.com> on Friday October 14, 2005 @10:46AM (#13790491) Journal
    Now, it's the operating system used on nearly 95 percent of all the desktops and notebooks sold worldwide.

    As if. Random sampling [ursine.ca] seems to put the number at around 80% and falling over time.

Whenever a system becomes completely defined, some damn fool discovers something which either abolishes the system or expands it beyond recognition.

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