A quick review of Operating Systems

The first operating system I remember being aware of was DOS.  It came on a stack of 3.5″ floppy disks.  Before that, I had computers, but I wasn’t aware of a particular OS.  Windows 3.1 was my first OS that I could say had an actual Graphical User Interface (GUI).  Of course, Apple had the Mac, but I didn’t have one, so I didn’t pay very much attention.

Fast forward a few years.  Around 1994, Apple had grown and was using System 5 or 6 and was doing quite well.  Microsoft had been stuck on Windows 3.1 for a long, long time.  It started to look like Microsoft was just not going to improve.  Then in 1995, we got Windows 95.  This to me was a moment when Microsoft reached parity with the Mac.  And in 1998, they released Windows 98.  This polished the 95 version and made it pretty stable (comparatively).  At this time, Apple was on System 6-7, but the OS was starting to show it’s age.  It wasn’t improving very much from version to version.

Then in 2000, we got Windows 2000 and Windows ME.  Windows ME was a disgrace, so we won’t talk about that. Windows 2000 was kickass.  It was multi-threaded and multi-tasking and multi-super-cool.  It crashed way way way less than 98 or the Mac.  It was a bold and strong OS.  Windows XP polished even further in 2002 and drew a strong line in the sand for Apple.  Microsoft had the better OS, by alot.

Apple panicked.  They ended up bringing back Steve Jobs from Next/Pixar to save the company.  And he did.  Besides the iPod/iPhone stuff, he reinvented the OS with MacOS X.  At this point, Microsoft just released Vista and Apple has the latest version of MacOS.  In an fair comparison, it is hard to say that Microsoft is better in any category.  Apple has taken the lead.

I have noticed alot more ‘developers’ using the Mac.  It is gaining market share.  Vista is slow.  It looks pretty, but it’s just too slow.

It seems that the latest version of Windows opens MS Word in the exact same amount of time today as it did 10 years ago.  Shouldn’t some things just pop up??

I don’t know where I am going with this…I was just thinking about it.

One reply on “A quick review of Operating Systems”

I have somewhat of a similar story.
I started on a Commodore 64 and then moved to a Macintosh in 1994.
I used it until around 2000 or so when I got totally fed up with developing applications under MacOS 8/9. It froze/crashed often, the MacOS toolbox was no picnic, and I had been using Windows more and more at work (including development within using the Win32 API). So one day I made the switch to Windows.

I too loved Windows 2000, and was resistant to Windows XP until I realized that I could turn off all the doodad stuff and then Windows XP looked just like Windows 2000 and was stable and fast as hell.

Over the past year though I’ve switched my primary workstations both at home and at work to Linux. I’m running Gentoo with the IceWM window manager. It’s skinned to look, behave and feel exactly like Windows 2000, but it gives me the power of running Linux. I’m really quite happy.

I still run Windows on my work laptop and I dual-boot Windows at home, but that’s only for games.

I tried switching to MacOS X at work after my old workstation died and got a Mac Pro to replace it. After using it for several hours, I just couldn’t get used to the differences. Apple keys and a whole list of other annoying little things. Especially font smoothing. I HATE anti-aliased fonts. With Linux I could turn off all font-smoothing and all my fonts look super crisp and clean. I did extensive research on the MacOS X side, and although I found that I could turn off anti-aliased fonts for a lot of things, not everything. That was the final straw for me.

Sad, though. I would like to become a Mac user again, but not at the cost of headaches because the fonts are blurry.

Whatya think?