Saturday, May 17, 2014

Windows, UNIX and Amiga....

Someone in IRC asked me two different questions:

Which one was the best version of Windows? Well, I have never been a Windows guy, I know how to navigate them and I have used them all and to get my MCSE I had to use all of them. I would have to say the best Windows OS was Windows NT 3.51, even NT 4.0 was a decent upgrade but after that they all started to suck. My mom had an old Tandy computer that Windows 3.1 hated with a passion and I installed NT 3.51 on it for her and that made it suck less. Some would say that Windows 2000 was good, I disagree because the USB stack to me was always flakey. But Windows since NT 4.0 has taken a slow nose dive with each release being a nightmare in usability and prime examples of what not to do in design. Windows 8 finally threw the Windows ecosystem 6 feet into the dirt.

Now, which OS do I think is/was the best? For me it was NeXTStep, now my friend Dave Haynie would disagree and say it was AmigaOS, probably, my friend Cristobal Molina would say it was SGI Irix. And thats fine because those three had the same problem, aside from company misteps and business malpractice, the problem those three suffered is that they were too forward thinking. All three of them had features that really made no sense to anyone aside from a power user. Those concepts make sense today to the average user but back then they just didnt and not many people could grasp it. Ultimately they failed to garner the mass userbase that they needed for survival. The only one that has managed to stay alive was Mac OS X, which is a form of NeXTStep, although Apple has screwed that up too. Now what do I mean, Apple has put so much complexity into the product its not even funny. Now complexity sometimes is not a bad thing. If it adds value to your product. Apples didnt add value, it just made it an unholy mess to deal with.

SGI Irix, it failed because of major business missteps. The business side killed Irix. Irix should have been ported to x86 and SGI should have revamped its product line to include the x86 processor. SGI decided to stick with a dead end processor that no one else in the industry used and charged way to much for their product. When HP and Red Hat started to eat their lunch in the creative industry, it was too late by that point. As SGI's major contracts started moving to HP and Red Hat the gig was up. If SGI had ported Irix to the x86 processor, delivered products that were reasonably priced, Linux probably would not have the foothold it has today. By the time SGI released workstations based on the x86 processor they used NT and Red Hat Linux and those systems were a joke.