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(Microsoft)   A brief history of the Windows operating system   ( divider line
    More: Interesting  
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18835 clicks; posted to Main » on 09 Feb 2003 at 8:14 PM (14 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

195 Comments     (+0 »)

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2003-02-09 03:24:09 PM  
On a scale of 1 to 10, I predict the soon to appear flamewar will be a 9.5.
2003-02-09 04:19:31 PM  
not a biased article.
2003-02-09 05:35:06 PM  
"On November 10, 1983, Microsoft announced Microsoft Windows, an extension of the MS-DOS® operating system..."

I wouldn't be too impressed. By the time Windows v1 was loaded, a good portion of that whopping 640k of RAM got sucked up by Windows itself, leaving you no memory to run anything useful. It got better. Kinda.
2003-02-09 05:52:15 PM  
No flames here, of course it is a biased article but quite frankly the war between Microsoft and the rest of the industry is good for business. Here's my take on it (if you care.) Back in the day it was IBM mainframe big-iron, then on to Suns with Suntools and X10 (X-windows version 10, not the camera.) The Suns were great, and I cut my geek teeth on 3/50's then on to Sparc 1's. IBM PC's running PC or MS DOS were toys, good as terminals, Wordstar, and maybe doing your personal budget with Lotus. Even then those PC's were pricey, at something like $2000, but to get a Sun workstation you're talking 8-10 grand or more. What you really wanted which had a graphical interface as slick as Suntools or X at home was a Macintosh. However Apple, in their almost fatal arrogance refused to price them out anything remotely reasonably. A basic Mac would set you back $5000 at least, and you haven't even gotten to a printer or extras. They did this thoughout every product line they introduced, while the IBM compatible stuff went down in price or at the least didn't increase that much as it got more powerful. Even so, DOS was so useless compared to the stuff I used at work I didn't actually buy anything for home. Windows 2.x was a joke, and I had plenty of power in my office workstation.

When MS introduced Windows 3.0, I was somewhat impressed. Here was an OS with a GUI which was almost like what I used every day. So I got a 386 with 2 meg of RAM to run that, and life was okay. Sure it crashed a lot, and it didn't really multitask but it was way better than it ever was, micro-computers were still somewhat considered toys, and it was WAY cheaper than anything with the fruit on it. Windows 3.1 and then 3.11 were incremental improvements. When Win 95 came out I was quite impressed. This GUI looked like what I had grown up with, and I could modify it to suit the way I worked. I liked it a lot until it became apparent that Microsoft was becoming the 800 lb. gorilla with its business practices. But it was the only game in town so what the hell right? Well, along comes Linux, which I discovered when I found the need to run an X based program on a DEC Alpha, but the cheap bastards where I worked never bought a console for this machine. I remembered that you can run an app on the remote box and have it display on your X server. PC based X server software was deemed too expensive so we didn't have any of that either. So I installed Linux on an old 486 box to see if its X server was up to snuff. It worked, I was able to do my job with it and it got me looking more into this hackers OS.

Today I have come full circle. My main workstation is a Linux box running X apps to do everything in my job. We still use MS stuff to do things for windows type things, but overall this MS vs. the Known Universe has been a good thing for business. I use MS products for that which I need to (Photoshop, and others) and my primary work environment is that familiar, configurable, powerful environment of a UNIX like OS and X GUI that I know so well.

So if you have made it this far, there is a brief history of the Windows operating system from the standpoint of someone who uses it and other things to get the job done.
2003-02-09 08:14:31 PM  
Flame war in 3..2...1...
2003-02-09 08:15:24 PM  

/sorry Weaps :)
2003-02-09 08:17:01 PM  
who is this guy called General Protection and why are things always HIS fault?

that's what I'd like to know.
2003-02-09 08:17:04 PM  
Windows sucks, but Linux will never get more that a 8% share of the desktop market, becuase it's too hard for joe dumbass to learn
2003-02-09 08:18:50 PM  
PS: Enjoy a cold can of Dr.Pepper while you utilize Microsoft's Glorious Graphic User Interface.
2003-02-09 08:19:51 PM  
Hmmmm....they forgot the part where it was a blatent ripoff of Macintosh and how it took nearly 20 years to make it operate almost as good as they had promised in the beginning.

Too bad you still need to buy extra software to make it run properly. Microsoft sucks.
2003-02-09 08:20:25 PM  
I ran a GUI on my Acorn Archimedes 310 with 1Mb RAM and no HD for years.

Mind you, the OS runs from ROM...
2003-02-09 08:20:46 PM  
Exactly true BigHonky. And for a while, Mac was the killer desktop. But Apple tripped over their dick and refused to sell a cheaper system. Windows runs on elcheapo hardware - doens't matter how much it sucks or not or crashes or whatever. For the vast majority of people it's good enough. Try to explain to someone why their game doesn't work with Linux, or XP, for that matter.
2003-02-09 08:20:46 PM  
You mean Xerox's GUI?

There, that should hit the spot...
2003-02-09 08:20:54 PM  
A history of Microsoft, as told by Microsoft.

Well hello there biased information, how are you doing today?
2003-02-09 08:21:02 PM  
Yeah, and the Mac interface was ripped off from Xerox PARC. What's your point?
2003-02-09 08:21:27 PM  
"Windows sucks, but Linux will never get more that a 8% share of the desktop market."

"Nobody will ever need more than 640K of memory."
2003-02-09 08:21:36 PM  
Holy crap! There's new version of Windows after 3.1?? I should upgrade....
2003-02-09 08:21:43 PM  
they forgot the part where it was a blatent ripoff of Macintosh

you mean the part where Macintosh ripped off Xerox first?
2003-02-09 08:22:00 PM  
"Windows Me offered consumers numerous music, video, and home networking enhancements and reliability improvements."

huh? I have not seen one Windows Me box NOT crash.
2003-02-09 08:22:10 PM  
*shrug* I prefer my mac. . .

2003-02-09 08:22:46 PM  
Ok, seriously. I've been farting around with Linux for about 3 weeks, I've learned how /etc/rc.d works, what /etc/issue is, what .bashrc is, how X/Gnome/Kde start up. My God. All that just so I can start VMWare tools on startx. taught me tons. But I just installed Red Hat 8. Pretty nice. Working on figuring out what's in /var/log. Got my prompt all pretty. Lots more resources have been added in the past few years.

But I gotta tell you. Professionally, I'm a windows developer. And Visual Studio .NET is the best IDE ever. Everything's in 1 package. No tweaking required. What's Linux got for dev tools? Anijta? KDevelop? They're good, but not Microsoft good.
2003-02-09 08:23:06 PM  
Yeah, and the Mac interface was ripped off from Xerox PARC. What's your point?

That was my point.
2003-02-09 08:23:12 PM  
BigHonky Windows sucks, but Linux will never get more that a 8% share of the desktop market, becuase it's too hard for joe dumbass to learn

No it's not
2003-02-09 08:23:13 PM  
[image from too old to be available]
2003-02-09 08:23:18 PM  
Yes, the win.exe virus has been around for a long time.
2003-02-09 08:24:15 PM  
Grateful-net, it's always his fault :) It certainly isn't OUR fault! Anyways you made me smile.
2003-02-09 08:24:26 PM  
"Nobody will ever need more than 640K of memory."

didn't gates also say something about the internet will never be a big deal?
2003-02-09 08:25:02 PM  
you mean the part where Macintosh ripped off Xerox first?

You mean the part where Apple paid Xerox for it?

The company's name is Apple, not Macintosh.
2003-02-09 08:25:12 PM  
too bad bob was only an interface for dos...

[image from too old to be available]
2003-02-09 08:25:30 PM  
microsoft? brief? how can those 2 be used together?
2003-02-09 08:25:34 PM  
Don't forget about the whole "There will only be 5 computers in the world" thing...
2003-02-09 08:26:51 PM  
XEmacs. Best IDE ever.
2003-02-09 08:28:33 PM  
[image from too old to be available]

huh? what? who said what now?
2003-02-09 08:28:50 PM  
In general, I perfer Mac over windows, and Linux over both.
2003-02-09 08:29:08 PM  
Microsoft bashers, before you bash, answer this questionarre:
[ ] I use a Mac
[ ] I use Linux
[ ] I use Unix
[ ] I use some other non-windows OS
[ ] I do not own an X-Box
[ ] I do not own anything else affiliated with Microsoft or other corporations of a similar size.

If you are not able to check any of these boxes, you may then not flame until you do. Hypocrit.
2003-02-09 08:29:27 PM  

I'm a VB man myself, I wish there were something similar for Linux.

I tried Janus Software's Phoenix, but was nowhere near as polished as VB.

Have yet to try Borland's Kylix...
2003-02-09 08:30:05 PM  
Freaky, I was reading a page on this just last night, in my search for old video drivers. What are the chances, ooh i never, etc.

Got bored by it somewhere around 1988, just too g33ky and stuff. Kinda odd to see the old tacky 70s-esque MS logo on the load screen tho, and never knew they didn't commercially release anything til like DOS 3 and windows 1.2...

Quote of the year: "Microsoft have gone to great lengths to hide the fact that Win ME still runs on top of DOS 8, much like a misbehaved TSR".

My uncle runs Me. I can't fathom why, apart from that it came with the PC. Its awful and keeps breaking down. When he upgraded from a 14" to a 15" monitor it took about two hours just for it to get the right drivers installed. For a bloody monitor. Whenever his young kids scrawl a new windows background in Paint, it reactivates the Active Desktop and Very Bad Stuff happens concerning load times.


As for XP.. i dunno.. it's just too much of a babying system. No easy command line either, and there's plentymuch things you can still do quicker there if you touchtype than with the mouse.
cd games\driver
md cheat
cd cheat
copy *.* e:

in about the same time as it takes windows to open up the floppy window and display the files)

Though having seen reports that with the setup /nm kludge method, and removing all of the new UI bloatycrunchware options (which needs a little patience, it gets pissy and pretends to hang for a few minutes), it will actually run on a p150 with about 24mb RAM and be surprisingly stable. Which is still bloody awful even compared to 98SE, but nowhere near the posted minimum specs - quite rare for an MS product. Hmm.
2003-02-09 08:32:17 PM  

Its called Kylix and made by Borland. Delphi's IDE is much better than .net too, IMO.
2003-02-09 08:33:05 PM  
As for XP.. i dunno.. it's just too much of a babying system. No easy command line either.

sounds like you need to check out cygwin.
2003-02-09 08:35:11 PM  
2003-02-09 08:35:14 PM  
Couple of points missing from the history:

I recall reading at one point where Bill Gate's input into the design of Windows was basically, "The Macintosh doesn't do it that way! Make it work like a Macintosh!"

Then was another WIRED article about how Bill offered to partner with Apple in marketing its OS much the same way it does now. Sculley turned him down.

Ah, what could have been.

Truth be told, Apple's marketshare have probably been a blessing for those of us who do use Apple, as it has kept the fire under their butt to be as good as they are. OS X rocks.

Note to AbbyNormal, as I am sure you know, with OS X, you have Linux and Mac in one box.
2003-02-09 08:36:32 PM  
Windows may not be the best operating system ever, but considering how many people use it, it can't be completely bad. When it comes right down to it, I don't really care. I use Windows because I know how to use Windows well. An operating system is simply a tool--I think the quasi-fanboy cultures that have grown out of the Win vs. Linux (or whatever other OS) debate is quite retarded.
2003-02-09 08:36:33 PM  
Yup, cygwin is to Windows what 4DOS was to DOS.

Makes it usable. :)
2003-02-09 08:36:40 PM  
Not Brief enough
2003-02-09 08:39:32 PM  
what i liked best was the horrible rendering of the pages on netscape 4.71- i'm setting up a lab machine, and the text got up to about 96 point by the end of the page.
you don't think they'd intentionally do something like that, do you? naw.
the thing that annoys me about microsoft is the additional complexity they add to further entrench their monopoly. if they REALLY thought their software, like word, would compete on its own, they'd use plain, interchangeable document formats.
but no, we've got to embrace, extend, and extinguish
2003-02-09 08:40:59 PM  
Kmoney, I agree. The right tool for the job.

In my experience, most of the kidz yelling "M$ is teh sux0rz!!!111" tend to be n00bz who managed to set up a copy of Roothat on their dual boot machine, and think that somehow makes them 1337. They give the rest of us Linux users a bad name. :(
2003-02-09 08:41:00 PM  
Okay, yeah I wrote a novel. That's what happens when we don't get enough links on Fark. Hey, I didn't even mention OS/2!

Be very, very glad...
2003-02-09 08:41:15 PM  
My OS is better than your OS.
Some of you people need to get laid. Sheesh.
2003-02-09 08:41:24 PM  
Millia what i liked best was the horrible rendering of the pages on netscape 4.71- i'm setting up a lab machine, and the text got up to about 96 point by the end of the page.
you don't think they'd intentionally do something like that, do you? naw.

Yes, they would...

2003-02-09 08:42:01 PM  
Dunkinbean... arrghhhhh synchronicity.

Hmmm if the history I read was to be beleived, MS were working on windows well back in about 82-83, before the mac was released.. Sure it may be a ripoff of sorts, but when you've only seen one or maybe two examples of a GUI before, there's not much to go on and you just tweak those ideas with some of your own. Like early automobiles all looked a bit like Benz tricycles. Wonder what OS's will look like in 100 years time.
It wasn't exactly a mac ripoff til 3.0 anyway (more like DOSShell mixed with an icon-less GEM.. oh, if only Digital Research hadn't been dicks with the licensing we could be using GEM 2000 instead, much nicer and no DOS basis)... hell in fact even that was halfway between, transiting from an 80s GEM machine to 3.1 was fairly easy, but 3.1 to 95 (there's the ripoff!) was a ballbuster.

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