It seems a lot of people (especially those at Microsoft) are constantly extolling all the virtues of the next Microsoft operating system to-be, Windows Vista.
Am I really the only person who sees it as a dinosaur?
Admittedly, I’m not the biggest fan of Microsoft software. I’ve dealt with Microsoft for far too long to trust pretty much anything they release. I have struggled with each and every piece of software they have ever released.
Well, save for one: DOS.
Mind you, operating systems were a lot simpler back then. They didn’t need to do much. They just needed to provide an environment in which things would work. But the problems with Vista started even back then. Remember the 640k barrier? The workarounds to use the higher memory?
I’ll wager that the roots of DOS are still there. Sure, they rewrote the whole thing for Windows NT. But have you ever wondered why the requirements for the operating system keep getting larger and larger? Why you need more and more disk space to run it all? Windows XP is supposedly based on Windows NT (as was Server 2003), and I wonder how well all the changes are managed.
It’s an operating system. It’s supposed to support everything else, not set an initial barrier to entry! There have been press releases about how powerful hardware needs to be in order to get the best experience out of Windows Vista. Any system bought within the last year is likely outta luck — you don’t have the juice. That just strikes me either as gloriously poor support for the user, or collusion with hardware vendors. Since when do you need a graphics accelerator to view a Word document?
Okay, I exaggerate — it will run sans 64 MB of RAM on your video card — but the statement still seems to baffle the mind. Does Microsoft not think that perhaps there is need to rewrite from the ground up?
Take the most successful operating system in recent years: UNIX. Not just Linux, but also Mac OSX. The kernel is small. No graphics. It runs. Add on only what you need to make things work. It runs nicely. There are releases of Linux out there that at a glance look like Microsoft Windows. Mac OSX is based (loosely) on the Mach kernel from the vaunted (and lamented) NeXTStep operating system. There’s a reason Macs run sooooo nicely, and it ain’t just the hardware.
C’mon, Microsoft, if you hope to compete on the desktop space, you need to think much more carefully about your foundation. Crappy foundations lead to crappy experiences.