Skip to comments.Hasta la Vista - Why Windows rules the world
Posted on 12/22/2006 7:42:08 PM PST by Swordmaker
FROM the end of January any Windows-based personal computer that you buy will come with a new version of Microsoft's operating system, called Vista. Make no mistake, this is more than just a slicker, prettier version of Microsofts current operating system for desktop computers, Windows XP. Vista is considerably quicker, easier and more pleasant to use, and far more stable and secure, than was its predecessor. One of its particular attractions is its more intuitive way of storing, organising and locating files. Included too are better parental controls, a built-in DVD maker, and lots of other improvements. In many ways, especially in its look and feel and ease of use, Vista out-Macs the Macs latest operating systemthe Tiger version of OS X. However, that could change when Apple releases its Leopard version of OS X in spring.
Right now, the big question for most Windows users is one of timing. If they are not about to buy a new Windows PC, should they buy a copy of Vista to upgrade a perfectly adequate machine running an earlier version of Windows?
If you are running a PC with any version of Windows prior to XP (with all the Service Pack 2 updates), then the answer is most certainly yes. But if youve been religious about keeping your computer healthy with all the latest patches and updates released weekly by Microsoft, then the smart thing to do is to wait awhile. No matter how thoroughly the company may have tested it, the first version of Vista is going to be riddled with niggling annoyances that surface only when software confronts some of the crazy things we ordinary users do.
Many say Vistas problem is its sheer size and complexity. All told, the program comprises some 50m lines of computer code. And as any programmer will tell you, software contains typically five to ten errors for every 100 lines of code. So, even if 90% of them were squished during the extensive testing programme, Vista will hit the shelves with at least a quarter of a million bugs in it.
Thats the price you pay for bloated software, say the legions of Microsoft critics. But hang on a minute. Vista may have a complex architecture with 50 layers of interdependent activities, but its not a massive program by todays standards. Some of those quickest to accuse Microsoft of producing bloatware are even guiltier themselves.
In the religious wars that rage between operating-system fanatics, the worst offenders are actually to be found in the Macintosh and Linux camps. The highly praised Tiger version of the Macintosh OS X operating system contains no fewer than 86m lines of code. And while the latest Linux kernel may be only 9m lines long, the distro (packaged distribution ready for installing) of an important Linux variant, such as Debian 3.1, has some 213m lines of code in it.
One important difference between operating systems such as Linux and OS X on the one hand, and Windows on the other, is that the former are highly modularised. Instead of being one humongous piece of software, they are made up of hundreds of small stand alone programs, called packages. Both Linux and OS X are descended from Unix, the grand-daddy of modern multi-tasking operating systems, and share the same underlying structure.
With Linux at least, this modularity allows skilled users to strip out all the bits they dont needto create a robust and compact operating system tailored to specific needs. Linux can be trimmed down to run from a floppy disk, or fleshed out to manage a server farm or even a supercomputer. On the desktop, Linux works every bit as well as Windows, while offering greater security and fewer crashes. Installing any of the popular desktop distros such as Ubuntu, OpenSUSE or Fedora is a ten-minute breeze. But unlike Windows, downloading applications to run on Linux and ensuring all the necessary libraries are in place is most certainly not for novices.
But the real difference between Unix-like operating systems and Windows is their design philosophies. Windows may squander computing power through its clumsy architecture. But by favouring simplicity of use over simplicity of design, Microsoft has been able to leverage cheap but powerful commodity hardware, to provide cost-effective software solutions. These may be complex in designand full of bugs to bootbut, boy, are they easy to use and maintain. Thats a winning formula in anyones book, and the reason why Windows rightly rules the world.
So Vista has borrowed the Mac file storage system from 1995. Ooooooh, I am so impressed.
If you want on or off the Mac Ping List, Freepmail me.
Because it has so many problems and needs so many patches?
Gates is enriching himself off Jobs. It's like having a brutish Gaul stalking you and taking 3/4 of the nuts you gather.
Now that would be a first time for Windows.
boy, are they easy to use and maintain
Now this is just getting ridiculous.
I'd settle for Jobs' share.
No sense being greedy.
What is he smoking?
This is the first time I've ever seen anyone say Windows computers are easy to maintain. I don't think anyone in corporate IT would agree with that.
Every time I see a Windows computer bought by a consumer it's riddled with spyware and virii, often hundreds of the silly things. And usually they are just about impossible to remove.
I know that Windows lovers will say that the anti-virus and anti-spyware software will take care of this, but the truth is that for anyone who isn't obsessive about actually using it, spyware takes you over.
I generally like the Economist, but I think perhaps they need to get a better tech columnist ...
But the real difference between Unix-like operating systems and Windows is their MARKETING philosophies
It was all about marketing way back when, that's the reason MS got the lion's share of the consumer dollar. Once they'd grabbed the market share and defined themself as the OS to have, it was more just a river carrying them along, not and never excellence.
Windows: the flotsam and jetsam of the OS world.
Out Macs the Mac. When monkey's fly out of my butt, maybe.
How much did they have to pay this whore to write this trash?
I swear, this is the last PC I am ever going to buy. Just as soon as I can save up enough for a iMac, this thing is going into the trash.
Well in the commercial environment Novell Netware/Compaq ruled the small/med server market. When Novell didn't update Netware with TCP/IP, MS NT 4.0 Server quickly took over. With that came NT 4.0 Workstation. I think that marked the begining of MS's rise to near monopoly. Windows 95 was cool for home use, especially compared to Windows 3.1. But it was horrible for commercial use. Not that that didn't stop some businesses from using Windows 95/98 to run on their desktops(shudder).
I hope that HP and Dell allow the choice between XP and Vista for at least until this next summer. Otherwise it maybe pain to incorporate a Vista Workstation into an older network.
All told, the program comprises some 50m lines of computer code.Wasn't that the amount estimated for SDI control? ;')
What Mission Statement Generator has he latched onto?
Then why do my grown kids have to call up their daddy to fix their computers, while he never has to fix anything on my mac?
Windows is affordable, more importantly compatible, and most importantly easily available. Mac purchasers who want what they feel is a superior product can overcome these obstacles, but most new computer buyers would rather not. I was thinking of buying a new Mac myself, until I got a new 15" HP Intel laptop with DVD-R for $499. Could have gotten 2 or maybe even 3 for the price of a Mac. Not that the Macs aren't great machines, they are, and a good decision for those that can afford them, but Windows is cheap and everywhere, and I have all sorts of gizmos and software I need to be compatible, actually makes my life easier sticking to what I already have.
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