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Vista vs. Cairo - A Microsoft History Lesson

CmdrTaco posted more than 7 years ago | from the something-to-read dept.

Microsoft 194

avocade writes "Here is a nice history lesson by (the unfortunately infamous) Daniel Eran, arguing why the Longhorn/Vista road is very similar to the NT/Cairo road that Microsoft took in the 90's, effectively trying their best to discourage competition in the marketplace."

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Not a great comparison... (2)

bigtomrodney (993427) | more than 7 years ago | (#17277342)

Wouldn't it be more accurate to compare NT/Cairo with Vista/Singularity [microsoft.com] ?

Cairo vs NT/Cairo (4, Informative)

DreadSpoon (653424) | more than 7 years ago | (#17277402)

This article has a confusing title, given that dominance of the Cairo graphics library these days.

Re:Cairo vs NT/Cairo (5, Funny)

6Yankee (597075) | more than 7 years ago | (#17277940)

Even more confusing when you read it as "Vista vs. Casio", and look forward to a story about a digital watch being forced to run Vista and bursting into flames :(

Infamous indeed - spammer (5, Informative)

mccalli (323026) | more than 7 years ago | (#17277420)

Daniel Eran has been spamming uk.comp.sys.mac for weeks now, ignoring every polite request for him to stop. He shows no sign of engaging with the group (beyond calling us "a hateful bunch of queens"), just spams links to his blog against charter and then swans off again.

Daniel Eran. Just Say No.

Cheers,
Ian

Re:Infamous indeed - spammer (4, Funny)

cloricus (691063) | more than 7 years ago | (#17277472)

We don't have to; His server is already slashdotted!
 
Maybe he is still running an early 90s NT server?

Re:Infamous indeed - spammer (2, Insightful)

cpct0 (558171) | more than 7 years ago | (#17277490)

Hmm, I don't want to sound any less stupid than I really am, but other than people using some signature on their Usenet mails, anyone can really make themselves appear to be anyone else on Usenet don't they? I've known these kinds in *cough* less respectable places, where they would get annoyed by the group, then suddenly prove they got no life and spam the heck out of the place with semi-plausible stuff, named against the member that pissed them off or simply ripping out the place.

Not making an apology, just saying it's a possibility. Then I haven't followed the drama there, so can't tell. I find his articles well written, with an obvious agenda, and repeatingly hitting the nail until we're tired of hearing about that point of view in long rants on nearly the same topic. Interesting point of view. I just wonder what that guy does because he surely got a lot of spare time since ... well ... forever ;)

How else do you get a message out? (0, Troll)

msobkow (48369) | more than 7 years ago | (#17277518)

If an individual has a message they feel is important that they want to get out, I don't see an issue with posting a reference or two. Flooding a board is another story.

Besides, using the term "SPAM" is inaccurate: what is the commercial benefit of his links?

Or are you trying to use distactics to distract people from his core argument, building up hatred by labelling him a spammer?

Re:How else do you get a message out? (4, Interesting)

mccalli (323026) | more than 7 years ago | (#17277546)

If an individual has a message they feel is important that they want to get out, I don't see an issue with posting a reference or two. Flooding a board is another story.

...and flooding is what's taking place. Yes, a post such as "here's a new and interesting Apple-related blog, please come and have a look" would have gone down fine. Instead we get every single article he writes for this blog being dumped as a rhetorical question into a group which specifically forbids advertising, and then he never engages in any discussion regarding it. The regulars of the group have all asked him to stop. He just totally disregards us.

Besides, using the term "SPAM" is inaccurate: what is the commercial benefit of his links?

Advertising revenue. He's abusing a community discussion group to take every opportunity to dump links to his advert revenue-driven blog. The group does not exist for his enrichment, as we say on there: uk.comp.sys.mac.adverts is thataway -->.

Cheers,
Ian

Re:How else do you get a message out? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17278788)

Thats how money is made, you sound jealous that you are not getting any of the pie :) I know I am :) Are you man enough to admit it? I am.

Re:How else do you get a message out? (2, Informative)

johnw (3725) | more than 7 years ago | (#17277676)

Besides, using the term "SPAM" is inaccurate: what is the commercial benefit of his links?
Nothing in the definition of Spam requires it to be commercial in nature. The term originated on Usenet and referred to the constant repetition of a message - as in the Monty Python Spam sketch. For a long time a distinction was made between Spam (repeated messages) and UCE (Unsolicited Commercial E-mail). Alas, such a distinction is too subtle for your average journalist to comprehend so now the one term is used for both.

Re:How else do you get a message out? (3, Informative)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 7 years ago | (#17278058)

Besides, using the term "SPAM" is inaccurate: what is the commercial benefit of his links?

Why do you think SPAM implies commercial benefit? One of the earliest spammers was an 'evanglist' - sending out generic jesus-freak messages.

Re:Infamous indeed - spammer (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17277600)

That is because he has been banned from spamming on digg and has instead been spamming Slashdot [and apparently USENET] recently. Whatever his real motivations may be, the incentive of those advertising clicks must be really something for him.

EVERY enemy of MS's is Slashdot's friend (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17278480)

This is nothing new. Just another irrational, ranting, foaming at the mouth Microsoft hater.

His article is like porn for Slashdot zealots: extremely skimpy on fact, and complete hatred against all things Microsoft. Nothing gets headline status around here quicker than an article reinforcing Slashdot's anti-MS FUD.

Re:EVERY enemy of MS's is Slashdot's friend (2, Interesting)

DECS (891519) | more than 7 years ago | (#17279292)

If something is factually wrong in the article, why don't you point it out?

Sounds like you are just dismissing anything that doesn't fit your narrow world view.

Re:Infamous indeed - spammer (2, Interesting)

davecarlotub (835831) | more than 7 years ago | (#17278668)

There are 15 messages from DanielEran in uk.comp.sys.mac since November 12th. They are indeed blog link posts, but hardly a FLOOD.

Perfect Timing (2, Funny)

Joebert (946227) | more than 7 years ago | (#17277424)

I shit you not, I was listening to the Wizard Of Oz on TV in the background when I opened this story.
Coincidence ?
I think not.


On a serious note, if it worked before, why do anything different ?
Are you trying to tell me that Microsoft doesn't have all the money ?

Re:Perfect Timing (1)

FrankNFurter (89904) | more than 7 years ago | (#17277756)

Offtopic: The Wizard of Oz was on TV here as well earlier today.

Ontopic: Am I the only one who thinks the author of TFA is a NeXT nostalgic? Most of the article (as well as other articles on the site, like the one about Taligent/Pink) were mostly about how NeXT had all the technology long before the competition - which is true - and how NeXT was hurt by the evil empire's vapourware announcement about NT/Cairo.

Re:Perfect Timing (1)

Joebert (946227) | more than 7 years ago | (#17277824)

Right about now, two people are thinking

Who's NeXT ?

However, they are not thinking in the same context.

I'm the one that doesn't know who this "NeXT" entity is.

Re:Perfect Timing (1)

FrankNFurter (89904) | more than 7 years ago | (#17277904)

They were NeXT.

Re:Perfect Timing (2, Informative)

FrankNFurter (89904) | more than 7 years ago | (#17277916)

Damn, I need to preview my posts.

They were NeXT. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Perfect Timing (1)

Joebert (946227) | more than 7 years ago | (#17277968)

NeXTSTEP 3.x was later ported to PA-RISC and SPARC based platforms, for a total of four versions including NeXTSTEP/NeXT (for NeXT's 68k "black boxes"), NeXTSTEP/Intel, NeXTSTEP/PA-RISC and NeXTSTEP/SPARC. Although these ports were not widely used, NeXTSTEP gained popularity at institutions such as the National Reconnaissance Office, Central Intelligence Agency, First Chicago NBD, Swiss Bank Corporation, and other organizations due to its programming model.

Looks like NeXT was just destined to remain in the shade.

Re:Perfect Timing (3, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#17278810)

NeXT was the company Steve Jobs founded after he left Apple. Their aim was to build the perfect computer, and many people believe they succeeded. Most who don't will concede that they came as close as was possible with the hardware of the time.

Some of their achievements include:

  • An OS with a driver framework written in a dynamic, object-oriented language (Objective-C), making it very easy to write drivers for.
  • The first Rapid Application Development system.
  • The first web browser was written on one of their systems.
  • A very powerful and flexible web development environment.
  • EOF, a transparent object-relational mapping a decade or so before Ruby-on-Rails made the idea popular.
And lots of others. In the early '90s, they worked with Sun to create a standard to sit on top of POSIX and provide a portable way of writing GUI programs. Sun eventually dropped it, but the GNU project has an implementation, and it's the standard way of developing software on OS X (the latest version of the NeXT operating system, renamed after Apple bought NeXT).

Re:Perfect Timing (0, Offtopic)

MicrosoftRepresentit (1002310) | more than 7 years ago | (#17277994)

Of course the Wizard of Oz was on, its fucking christmas. If theres anything thats guarunteed to happen at Christmas, its that that fucking girl and strawman sex pest is going to be on the tv.

Win95 just a "polish" of Win 3.0 (1)

ksalter (1009029) | more than 7 years ago | (#17277462)

I guess I was under the mistaken impression that Windows 95 was just more than just a "polished" version of Windows 3.0. That's what happens when you look at something objectively. I need to reevaulate my view of Windows 95 and Microsoft and add a lot more irrational hatred. :end of sarcasm

Ok, I'll bite. (2, Insightful)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 7 years ago | (#17277736)

What did Windows 95 actually add? The only thing I can think of is Win32, but really, even Microsoft seems to be admitting this isn't a lot -- they are giving away free upgrades to XP 64-bit to anyone with a legit 32-bit copy of XP Pro.

Re:Ok, I'll bite. (5, Insightful)

johnw (3725) | more than 7 years ago | (#17277844)

What did Windows 95 actually add?
W95 actually followed on from W3.1 rather than W3.0. The main feature which it added (and the thing which drove Microsoft to release it) was incompatibility with OS/2. Because IBM had licensed access to the W3.1 source they were able to achieve first-rate compatibility for OS/2 running W3.1 programs, plus much better stability, multi-tasking etc. A crashing W3.1 program running on OS/2 simply took itself out rather than the whole system. Microsoft saw themselves potentially losing market share in a big way, so rushed W95 out.

This has always been the way with Microsoft. They'll happily deny there's anything wrong with a product, no matter how much evidence exists that there is. The *only* thing that will move them to act is the prospect of losing market share to a better product.

Re:Ok, I'll bite. (1)

ksalter (1009029) | more than 7 years ago | (#17277986)

So you are saying that Win32, released more than a decade ago, is "not a lot" because NOW (a decade or more later) you can get a 64 bit OS for free? Puhleeeze.... Anyway, Windows 95 provided a pre-emptive multitaking OS that was backwards compatible. Of course, there were other OS at the time that had this too (Unix and OS/2, among others), but this was extremely important to the survival of Windows as an operating system. The point is that this "article" had a very weak premise and was not-objective. Why stuff like this sees the light of day is beyond me. Oh wait, it is anti-Microsoft.

Re:Ok, I'll bite. (1)

HairyCanary (688865) | more than 7 years ago | (#17278406)

Wasn't Win32 actually available in 3.1? It's been so long that my memory may be incorrect, but I think I remember that Freecell was available for 3.1, and in fact it was created as a demo of Win32 API usage.

Windows 95 added the start button. Yay.

Re:Ok, I'll bite. (4, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#17278846)

Win32s was available for Windows 3.1. It exposed some win32 APIs to win16 developers, but not all of them. From the Wikipedia page [wikipedia.org] :

Although ostensibly compatible with early versions of Windows NT, many functions were not implemented including threading and asynchronous I/O, newer serial port functions and many GDI extensions. This essentially limits it to applications specifically designed for the platform.

Re:Ok, I'll bite. (1)

Kenshin (43036) | more than 7 years ago | (#17278092)

32-bit architecture had been around for quite a while on desktops when Win95 came around, so people were aching for the opportunity to use it.

64-bit is still relatively new (for Intel-compatible desktops), and offers no major benefits at the moment.

Re:Ok, I'll bite. (1, Insightful)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | more than 7 years ago | (#17278230)

Win16 to Win32 was a huge deal. Though Win32 retained a large number of 32 bit versions of 16 bit API's that allowed developers to (largely) just recompile their apps with only about 10% or less work, there was also a significant number of new API's... more actually, than the Win16 API's.

Win64, however, is largely just extending the Win32 API's to 64 bits and adding a few new memory management API's. So the two transitions can't really be compared.

Re:Ok, I'll bite. (4, Informative)

cnettel (836611) | more than 7 years ago | (#17278686)

Win32 is not to Win16 what Win64 is to Win32. Win64 is a recompile, with a few typedefs changed and a few further changes where they were really needed.

Win32 contained lots of changes compared to Win16. Threads, overlapping I/O, lots of new controls, additions to GDI, long file names, pipes for IPC. It might seem like a joke, but access violations really had a greater chance of not taking the full machine down in Win95, versus Win 3.1.

And of course, a full driver model for all devices, with the Registry (yuck) to track the config. Yep, you could do anything in a VXD in 3.1, but there was no real structure to it. 32 bit disk I/O wasn't present in the original 3.1 either, so the difference is greater if we compare 3.1 versus 95, or the very last releases of 3.11 WfW versus 95.

I discourage competition all the time... (2, Insightful)

dada21 (163177) | more than 7 years ago | (#17277488)

That's part of competing -- to give your customers EVERY reason to pick you over someone else. Any good business does it by:

1. Providing a product that meets the current needs of their customers.
2. Providing a path to new features/efficiencies for their customers' futures.
3. Working with third parties to offer incentives to provide your product solely.
4. Providing a proven ROI for a short-term and long-term focus.

Microsoft, to me, is not a monopoly -- except when the State is involved (providing patents and copyrights and trademarks). I'm against those monopoly provisions, but those are "legal" ones. Without them, Microsoft's power over competitors would be equalized. You can't blame Microsoft for taking advantage of what you, the voters, allowed them to utilize. The judgements against them calling them a monopoly are only there because you, the voters, let those policies become standard based on Microsoft's given legal priviledge over competition. Nothing prevents competition from doing what Microsoft does -- except than the competition would rather use THEIR monkeys in government to try to stem Microsoft's growth.

As we see in the relatively free and unencumbered market of the web, Microsoft doesn't have any sort of monopoly -- people are free to choose what they want, and they do. In fact, the long tail effect shows that many products openly compete with Microsoft -- both legally obtained products and illegally obtained ones.

The whole Vista issue is a non-issue. Everyone who cries foul against Microsoft refuses to see that the products they prefer just don't meet the top 4 items I listed -- in fact, some of them fail most or all of them. No one will invest in a product, even a free one, if it doesn't offer those items. Many Microsoft products do -- but not all of them. Vista will succeed only because consultants will like its standardization, manufacturers will like knowing there is a standard interface for their hardware/software to run on, and resellers will like it because it has always worked well enough for both the casual and the power user.

Who cares about it looking like past products? If it worked for Microsoft in the past, why wouldn't they follow through with similar performances -- and making new ones to try to produce a better selling product?

Re:I discourage competition all the time... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17277530)

I am ... not exactly sure abut that ... I respect what you think, but it IS a monopoly when a company can bully anyone else over using their product (the dominant in the marketplace) and announcing that product for their flagship product OTHERWISE they cut the deal off with the company. That refers to bundling Windows with any new branded computer, and even beige boxes)

When they push to make a law that make sure a computer is sold with an OS, with the aforementioned detail being known.

I certainly call that a monopoly. EU calls that a monopoly.

Is the US gov't against such thing? Well, not really. Hey it funds their lobby quite roundly thank you, it fuels their economy worldwide, so they are all for monopolistic behaviors, other than some small watchdog groups that just get wiped under the carpet. But who cares about the legality and fairness when you can make dough, even if it's not good for competition and it quashes the dreams of some smaller companies, who care? Here, let's light this cigare with a $!00 bill.

WTF (3, Informative)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 7 years ago | (#17277496)

Article rambles all over the place, seems more to be pleading for reader to look at previous articles by author rather than make its higly convoluted point. Reads like a lot of sour grapes about historical irrelevance so I assume the author is just looking for hits by trying to be inflamatory.

Re:WTF (1)

ticklish2day (575989) | more than 7 years ago | (#17278288)

So much FUD. He's got a pretty looking site though -- with all those links to Apple properties.

Microsoft lost the war long ago (1)

locksmith101 (1017864) | more than 7 years ago | (#17277520)

I don't really get all that vista hype...I really don't. If you ask me, Microsoft lost this battle over the market, once Google stepped up and became what it is today. Google changed all the rules - and the battle now is not about advanced graphical layout and trifles of sorts, but about offering real and valuable services to the users. Microsoft is like the last mammoth - it's huge and strong, but alas, belongs to a dying breed.

Re:Microsoft lost the war long ago (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17277758)

Ya, A high traffic web site vs. the company that runs 90% of personal computers.. They are done for. In other news, the Java platform is posed to take over as the predominant OS.

Re:Microsoft lost the war long ago (1)

sbben (983577) | more than 7 years ago | (#17278216)

I see your point, and its valid. As of now Google offers nothing unless you can get to the site. Most people will be doing so with IE on a windows box.

But! Google is changing the way many people look at these giant corporations. No, I am not a GoogleOS conspiracy theorist but I do think people will come to expect more from a company like Microsoft after seeing what Google has done (with little to no backstabbing and expression of malice towards its users like Microsoft has done with things such as WGA and activation).

Re:Microsoft lost the war long ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17279148)

Ya, joking aside, I totally agree. MS is trying to answer with live.com. Tit for tat. Currently its not as good, but give it a few product cycles ( The 'satelite' view for maps is already better then google for places where they have taken aerial photography). That's the beauty of being the copy cat, the goal is very certain.
A similiar example might be Japanese and American carmakers.
Microsoft defintion of innovation is standing on top of what other people have done, and let's face it, that business practice works

Re:Microsoft lost the war long ago (1)

canuck57 (662392) | more than 7 years ago | (#17278202)

I don't really get all that vista hype...I really don't. If you ask me, Microsoft lost this battle over the market, once Google stepped up and became what it is today. Google changed all the rules - ...

Would it not be so kewl if Google came out software and games support, perhaps their own destop/Linux?

Google certainly is in a position to take on M$ for anything it wants, including OS.

Re:Microsoft lost the war long ago (1)

SEMW (967629) | more than 7 years ago | (#17278618)

I can't find the quote, but I'm pretty certain the Google have categorically denied that they are making their own OS or planning to do so. That given, "this battle over the market" doesn't actually seem to exist, let alone be something that Microsoft has "lost".

NT (4, Interesting)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 7 years ago | (#17277526)

NT stand for Nested Task, it's a register in the 286 that helps preepmtive multi-tasking which is the feature of both OS/2 and NT that distinguishes them from Window 3.x/9x that used co-operative multi-tasking.

http://pdos.csail.mit.edu/6.828/2006/readings/i386 /s04_01.htm [mit.edu]

4.1.1 Systems Flags
The systems flags of the EFLAGS register control I/O, maskable interrupts, debugging, task switching, and enabling of virtual 8086 execution in a protected, multitasking environment. These flags are highlighted in Figure 4-1 .

NT (Nested Task, bit 14)
        The processor uses the nested task flag to control chaining of interrupted and called tasks. NT influences the operation of the IRET instruction .

Re:NT (2, Interesting)

MLopat (848735) | more than 7 years ago | (#17277702)

NT as in Windows NT has always stood for "New Technology". In fact, the operating system at one time was simply going to be branded "NT" except that Northern Telecom (Nortel) had something to say about it.

Re:NT (1, Interesting)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | more than 7 years ago | (#17278256)

Actually, no. "New Technology" was actually the second name of the code name. It was originally derived from the first CPU they wrote NT for, the Intel N-Ten, which eventually became the i860 Risc CPU.

When they ported NT to x86, they changed the name to "new technology", then later claimed it didn't stand for anything anymore (because it's harder to trademark an acronym).

Re:NT (4, Interesting)

pla (258480) | more than 7 years ago | (#17277706)

NT stand for Nested Task

Or, officially, "New Technology".

Or, the most likely of all, by analogy to IBM -> HAL (as in, HAL-9000 from the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey), VMS -> W(indows)NT. I would normally consider that a cute coincidence, if they didn't share Dave Cutler [wikipedia.org] as a lead designer on both projects.

But given that he did help design both OSs, and the propensity for geeks to come up with bizarrely convoluted acronyms, I'd call that the "right" answer as to the origins of the name "NT".

Re:NT (5, Interesting)

diegocgteleline.es (653730) | more than 7 years ago | (#17277882)

Sight. This topic. Again.

Just check the Windows NT [wikipedia.org] wikipedia page, which links at page, where you can find this quote from one of the original NT creators:

"We checked the first code pieces in around mid-December 1988," Lucovsky said, "and had a very basic system kind of booting on a simulator of the Intel i860 (which was codenamed "N-Ten") by January." In fact, this is where NT actually got its name, Lucovsky revealed, adding that the "new technology" moniker was added after the fact in a rare spurt of product marketing by the original NT team members. "Originally, we were targeting NT to the Intel i860, a RISC processor that was horribly behind schedule. Because we didn't have any i860 machines in-house to test on, we used an i860 simulator. That's why we called it NT, because it worked on the 'N-Ten.'"

So please, stop all those theories, the origins of the name are well documented.

Re:NT (1)

dryeo (100693) | more than 7 years ago | (#17277978)

Except NT started out as OS/2 NT v3. I have a Byte around here with a little news blurb about MS actually booting up OS/2 NT v3 for the first time. This was on a MIPS processor IIRC.

Re:NT (1)

lseltzer (311306) | more than 7 years ago | (#17277782)

>> NT stand for Nested Task, it's a register in the 286 that helps preepmtive multi-tasking which is the feature of both OS/2 and NT that distinguishes them from Window 3.x/9x that used co-operative multi-tasking.

As others have said, NT of course stands for "New Technology" and is a marketing term, not a reference to a bit flag in a register.

And Windows 9x preemtively multitasks.

Re:NT (1)

Epicyon (777863) | more than 7 years ago | (#17277870)

While NT may in fact stand for Nested Task, that may not be the origin of the use of NT in Windows NT.

"In the fall of 1988, Microsoft hired David N. Cutler ("Dave") to lead a new software development effort: to create Microsof's operating system for the 1990's. Dave, a well-known architect of minicomputer systems, quickly assembled a team of engineers to design Microsoft's new technology (NT) operating system." (Custer 1993 p2)

(Finally vindicated for moving this book around with me all over the country for the past 13 years when it has almost zero relevance today.)

It's interesting to note the design goals of the system: Extensibility, portability (including a modular structure), reliability and robustness, multiprocessing and scalability, distributed computing, POSIX compiance, Government-certifiable security

When I first read through this book, I was exited by the goals and looked forward to seeing the evolution of the OS. Even now, many disillusioned years laters, I believe Microsoft set out to create an exemplary product. It seems likely that Microsoft lost their way. (IE is integrated into, and cannot be abstracted from, the OS,etc.) Accomodations kept being made to fulfill market (or marketing's) demands which slowly eroded the fundamental goals of NT's original development resulting in the nearly unmanageable behemoth we're faced with today.

Custer, H. (1993). Inside Windows NT. Redmond, WA: Microsoft Press.

Re:NT = "N-Ten", working name for the Intel i860 (1)

cpeterso (19082) | more than 7 years ago | (#17278466)



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_i860 [wikipedia.org]

Microsoft initially developed what was to become Windows NT on internally-designed i860-based workstations (codenamed Dazzle), only porting NT to the Intel 386 and other processors later. It is often rumoured that the original meanings of the 'N' and 'T' in Windows NT was for "N-Ten", after the working name for the i860 core.

Re:NT (1)

fa2k (881632) | more than 7 years ago | (#17277900)

preepmtive multi-tasking which is the feature of both OS/2 and NT that distinguishes them from Window 3.x/9x that used co-operative multi-tasking.

Windows 9x did support preemptive multitasking to an extent. The NT-flag/IRET point still is correct, but I must assume that the NT flag was used in Windows 9x too.

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pre-emptive_multitask ing [wikipedia.org] :
Windows 95 and 98 only pre-emptively multitask if the running software is capable of dealing with pre-emptive multitasking. Much of it is not. Even tasks which are part of the operating system (eg updating graphics and window displays) are often adversely affected by programs which "busy wait".

Re:NT (1)

siride (974284) | more than 7 years ago | (#17278518)

The NT is not used (or irrelevant) because modern OSes like Linux and Windows NT do not use the x86 task management mechanism. Rather, tasks and task swapping are implemented in the kernel by saving and restoring register manually. Furthermore, all interrupts use interrupt gates instead of task gates, so no x86 task switching occurs there either. On both Linux and Windows, the double fault exception, however, does use a task gate, probably to avoid any further faults which would reset the processor.

this is COMPLETELY WRONG. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17278070)

Windows NT does *NOT* stand for Nested Task. That's complete misinformation, either made up by the parent or by the friend of the friend of whoever he got it from. NT stands for "New Technology". The fact that the parent post is modded "+5, Informative" reveals something about the experience level of Slashdot moderators... many of them are probably high school and college kids.

Re:this is COMPLETELY WRONG. (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 7 years ago | (#17278222)

> Windows NT does *NOT* stand for Nested Task.

They have better reading comprehension than you. I didn't say Windows NT stood for anything

building a custom bike/car (1)

stock (129999) | more than 7 years ago | (#17277552)

Vista should be compared with the construction of
a custom build bike/car to be displayed at Detroit's Autorama
and hopefully will draw the last 8 cut.
Well it might make the best 8, but Vista will never be
a winner in real day practice, because no-one is going to
drive a $1 million cost custom to the supermarket or even
to the next state or cross country.

Vista is not the next industry desktop workhorse,
certainly not of what i have seen. Being the biggest bad ass
ballmie bully on the block might pull it through, but
it won't make much friends.

Re:building a custom bike/car (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17277656)

I don't know if it's really like a custom bike or car. It is intended to be a mass-market product. It may not be cheap, but imagine how much more it would cost if Microsoft only intended to sell one copy? The buyer would have to pay for all the development and testing - many billions of dollars, I expect.

Vista is not the next industry desktop workhorse, certainly not of what i have seen. Being the biggest bad ass ballmie bully on the block might pull it through, but it won't make much friends.

I think it is. It will end up on every corporate desktop because it'll be hard to buy new machines without it. Upgrades will involve upgrading to Vista. Similarly, it'll end up on many home computers because it will be preinstalled by the OEM. It'll take a few years, but eventually it will be almost everywhere.

There's a pattern here. This is why XP was successful, too, even though it added little to Win2K.

Better Windows history here... (5, Informative)

Aphrika (756248) | more than 7 years ago | (#17277610)

Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] - generally a little more authoritative than a (rather opinionated and flawed) blog entry.

Incidentally, I distinctly remember Cairo not being vaporware or a hoax as stated in the article, there were certainly dodgy builds of it floating around before it was canned and NT 4.0 appeared as a Win95-ified NT 3.51 replacement. The idea that Cairo was a hoax in a non-starter. That's like saying Copland was a hoax, no, sometimes projects get shelved because they're not working out - OS design is an area of computing where it's incredibly easy to be idealogical about features, then figure out that you just can't deliver the goods.

Re:Better Windows history here... (1)

lseltzer (311306) | more than 7 years ago | (#17277810)

I followed all of this very carefully at the time. Microsoft was always careful to call Cairo a "set of technologies" and not necessarily a specific version that would be released at some specific point. Almost all of what they promised for Cairo did come true except for the "object-oriented file system."

where are the feetures .. (2, Interesting)

rs232 (849320) | more than 7 years ago | (#17277902)

Remember they were included in Cairo in some form in 1995. Vaporware as usually described, is announcing something that don't exist in the hope of warding off the opposition from entering the market and also with the full knowlege that such feetures are not implementable in a realistic timeframe. Else why haven't we seen the pre-announced features even now in late 2006.

"The top level will .. [be] the Cairo desktop itself .. Cairo's Object File System (OFS) makes the whole hard disk a single huge docfile that exposes its internal objects to the user"

"In Daytona's successor, Cairo, OLE structured storage will be able to attach to, and extend, the file system",

"Microsoft's future object-oriented file system for Windows NT (see the sidebar "A Peek at OFS"). Ultimately, we could be looking at a distributed file system based on this technology .. Almost all this technology is expected to converge in Cairo"

"Object File System Lets you create a pseudodirectory that unifies local, network, and Internet files"

http://www.dynamicobjects.com/d2r/archives/002430. html [dynamicobjects.com]

was Re:Better Windows history here...

Re:where are the feetures .. (1)

cnettel (836611) | more than 7 years ago | (#17279054)

OLE structure storage was present as alternate NTFS streams in NT 5 Beta 2 (and maybe also Windows 2000 beta 3, not sure anymore). Some Office files could become strange when saved on such partitions, especially when later accessed over the network. It was dropped from the actual release, but this also means that it was present, in a limited way, in Real Code. There's also a lot of support for storing keywords/properties for individual files in NTFS and exposing some of it in Explorer, but "nobody" uses it.

Re:where are the feetures .. (1)

twitter (104583) | more than 7 years ago | (#17279294)

Taking out the non operative words, we have:

OLE structure storage was present as alternate NTFS streams in NT 5 Beta 2 ... [but did not work and was not released] ... but ... it was ... Real Code.

Did not work and never saw the light of day is who's idea of software?

It's not a Windows History. (1, Troll)

twitter (104583) | more than 7 years ago | (#17278048)

Wikipedia - generally a little more authoritative than a (rather opinionated and flawed) blog entry. Incidentally, I distinctly remember Cairo not being vaporware or a hoax as stated in the article,

The Roughly Drafted article is not supposed to be a Window's history, it's a Microsoft Marketing history. Versions of software are mentioned and compared to competing and promissed versions. The history presented is accurate as are the product descriptions. What's more important is how M$ prommisses everything their competitors have today, convince the press the promisses are credible, but fail to deliver for decades. To find the same information in Wikipedia, you need to combine the Microsoft specific information from these articles:

Or you could just have a memory and a brain. It should be clear to any Windows user that M$'s operating systems are bloated, insecure and feature poor. It is equally clear that the reason for their market dominance has everything to do with marketing and nothing to do with technology. The author goes into some of those mechanics and why they won't work in the future.

The central thesis, that M$ uses vaporware to it's advantage, is clearly true. The similarity between Cairo an Longhorn mostly exist because Microsoft has yet to deliver on the feature promisses they made for Cairo. As the author pointed out, those features were available in competing products of the day and many are still not implemented in the new 10 Gigabyte sized Windoze.

Specifically, Cairo promised to deliver:
  • an object oriented user interface, featuring direct manipulation of desktop objects like OS/2 already had
  • an object oriented development environment like the one already offered by NeXT
  • distributed computing features like those offered by NeXT
  • an object or database file system that would replace the flat file system with a fully searchable object store
  • a standards based messaging system like Lotus Notes
  • a standards based directory system just like Novell's NDS

Yes, when I say many, I refer to the lack of standards and use "Embrace, Extend Extinguish" delivers after a decade of fumbling. You can run in circles forever with slippery M$ promisses, or you can get out and enjoy standards based software from innovators. This has been the case for decades.

Re:Better Windows history here... (1)

PsychicX (866028) | more than 7 years ago | (#17278286)

Parent is right, this article is just...bitter.

Vista is Cairo. As is Win2K, and Active Directory, and Exchange, and SQL Server, and god knows how many other technologies out of that company. It dissolved out of product status long ago, but the overarching goals are really what have driven Windows and related development for close to 15 years. Vista was a badly executed push towards that same ideal. That "information at your fingertips" motto has controlled Windows development. Just look at the sheer prevalence of search in Vista. (Some people will want to bring up Apple's Spotlight here. Yes, they are extremely similar. Vista's version existed internally for a long time, though. Things like this tend to come up independently in multiple companies around the same time.)

Back to the point, this article is a mess. The starting premise, though he tries to hide it, is that Vista is bad mmkay. Everything else is built backwards from there. That's why everything else is so akwardly set up and the connections are so tenuous. He's justifying his own baseless anti-Vista sentiment; the Cairo thing is just a distraction. (And let's face it, there's enough real problems with Vista that this straw man is just sad.)

More spam from Daniel Eran (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17277652)

More spam from the idiot who was caught spamming digg [googlepages.com] .

This guy has been caught spamming dozens of sites. Apparently, only /. editors don't get it.

Re:More spam from Daniel Eran (1)

RFaulder (1016762) | more than 7 years ago | (#17277842)

If he were trying to be a legitimate writer - and some of his articles are genuinely interesting - then what would he have to gain by making such an elaborate scheme of spamming? I don't buy it.

Re:More spam from Daniel Eran (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17278184)

He is an attention whore. He calls his blog a "magazine" and then spams links to it everywhere he can find. From previous comments it looks like he has stumbled on usenet now. I can only assume that he is finding himself banned from more and more of the places that he used to use to drive traffic to his site.

Re:More spam from Daniel Eran (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17279170)

Well that is because Mike Caddick, aka Lackawack, aka Zybch (and other alieses) has made it his life's work to write to every site that has ever posted an article from RDM and spun his tale of DE being a "spammer" and manipulating Digg.

I have not only gotten Mike's emails, but have talked to other webhosts who got the same thing. What is most interesting is that generally clueful people are so quick to fall for his bullshit hatemail and the anonymous web troll sites he sets up. As if lots of truth gets whispered around by anonymous trolls. WTF?

Why does Mike Caddick care what DE writes about? DE likes attention for the stuff he writes, but he doesn't send out bulk emails - I've seen postings in two Mac newsgroups with a link and an article blurb, and I've seen his stuff posted to the front page of Digg and Slashdot. Is the world falling down? Even if you don't agree with his ideas, at least he writes in an interesting way that gives people something to talk and think about.

Re:More spam from Daniel Eran (1)

Siker (851331) | more than 7 years ago | (#17278622)

I'm not fully aware of the specifics but you should probably provide both sides of the story. The response to that claim was that the users registered when Mr. Eran was writing about Digg and requested his readers to give him a hand. So supposedly there is a number of legitimate users who came in from his blog and registered for the express purpose of only digging the articles they liked from Roughly Drafted.

I'm not taking a stand in the question but just pointing out there are two sides to every story.

This article is barely coherent (2, Insightful)

defile (1059) | more than 7 years ago | (#17277692)

Factual errors aside, I think he's trying to say:

Microsoft announced it had big things in development, didn't quite release all of the things they announced. This is fraud. Microsoft bad. They did it on purpose, by design. We're onto you guys, you won't fool us with Vista!

He references The Mythical Man-Month as if this would give him some kind of software development street cred. I don't buy it, mainly because he doesn't seem to have ever been involved with any software development project.

Many software projects start with ambitious and optimistic sets of features. And by many, I mean all. The bigger the project, the more ambitious the scope. "Yeah! Our next generation Operating System is going to have an OBJECT FILE SYSTEM and DISTRIBUTED COMPONENTS and JUST IN TIME COMPILATION and ADAPTIVE HEALING and ADVANCED AI COMMAND INTERFACE and VOICE RECOGNITION. The future is NOW! We're awesome!" Developers believe the hype and do a lot to generate it. And if they believe it, and they're implementing the fucking thing, what chance do marketers have of looking at it critically? None. So they tow the line.

Result? The ambitious wildly impractical story is impossible to keep quiet. Sure, you can certainly fault companies for announcing features well before they're release candidate quality, but ambitious features getting cut because project deadlines are slipping happens all the time. Aside from the bad press that's generated from missing your release date, and the investment you blew developing features which don't get commercialized, there aren't many other downsides. If you can afford it, who cares?

I can totally imagine cutting these features if I were the project manager and we missed our release date; the decision process would go something like this: what is the most expensive feature we're developing right now that has the lowest return on investment that if we cut, would allow us to release much earlier? "Object filesystem" probably makes the top of everyone's list. It gets cut it in a heartbeat. What, was marketing hyping the shit out of it this whole time? I hadn't noticed, because I haven't left my cubicle in 36 months. Tough it out, marketing clowns.

Re:This article is barely coherent (1)

julesh (229690) | more than 7 years ago | (#17278904)

Factual errors aside...

Actually, factual errors not aside. This is a most peculiar piece of writing I've seen for a while. It ignores the popular myths about how Windows NT came to be, and cuts straight for the truth... then neatly sidesteps it and comes to incorrect conclusions. It's almost like it's been written by somebody who knows the real story as a deliberate disinformation piece. But who'd do that?

From the article:
Microsoft initially targeted NT to run on the i860, Intel's new 64-bit RISC processor that was supposed to usher in the future.

The i860 was a 32-bit processor. If it were a 64-bit machine, MS would have struggled to downport NT to 32-bit architectures after initially developing the kernel on it.

Of course, Microsoft and IBM had also long referred to OS/2 3.0 as "NT," for new technology, so the idea behind the i860 as the source of NT's name might be historical revisionism.

Windows NT development started out as OS/2 3.0 development, and was switched to be in the Windows line later when Win3.0 took off. You'd have thought the writer could figure that maybe, perhaps, the i860 kernel that Cutler wrote for NT was originally slated to be for OS/2, and that perhaps therefore OS/2 3.0 was targetted at the i860 as well?

Not saying that this *is* the true meaning behind the NT name, but it's more likely than the "new technology" thing, which is widely regarded as a marketing-inspired backformation. Interestingly, he has used exactly the right argument here that dispels the "WNT=VMS+1" theory, but he doesn't mention that one.

Xenix eventually turned into today's SCO UNIX.

SCO don't sell a product called "UNIX". SCO OpenServer is what used to be called Xenix. "SCO UNIX" is likely to be confused with "SCO Unixware", which is an entirely different product line, originally developed by Novell.

Despite quaint stories about Bill Gates singlehandedly writing DOS on the back of a napkin

Anyone heard these stories? The much more common one is that he was in a hurry for an operating system so bought it form its original author for some pittance or other. That's very commonly known.

Windows 3.0, a DOS application

??? Windows 3 was somewhat more than an application. In almost all ways it qualifies as an operating system (it only lacked a device driver framework, relying on DOS to provide that in its place). But the writer's thesis doesn't work if Windows 3 was an operating system, so it's an application instead. Yeah, right.

At some future point, the world was supposed to trade in the essentially free-to-obtain DOS with a paid $200 copy of OS/2. That would enable PC users to run the software designed for DOS and Windows they already could run, as well as new software native to OS/2 that they did not have and did not yet exist. Hmm.

It's amazing that neither IBM nor Microsoft seemed to worry that this strategy might not work out, but everything is much clearer in hindsight.


Perhaps because that was never anybody's strategy. Nobody expected people to switch to OS/2 for no reason. Windows was a portability thing: if the Windows API were supported on both DOS and OS/2, then applications could be written that targetted either. When people came to buy a new computer, they could see that the more advanced operating system basis of OS/2 could give them superior performance to DOS, and so buy OS/2 instead.

Also, DOS wasn't "nearly free to obtain". I distinctly remember paying £70 for a copy back around the time we're talking about, which makes it pretty similarly priced to the $200 claimed for OS/2.

a world ready to believe that everything Microsoft could plan would be delivered at some point, even though Microsoft had absolutely no history of delivering any significant or original operating system technology.

Other than, you know, DOS and Windows. And this MS who had recently hired Dave Cutler, a very respected OS engineer. Nobody had trouble believing at that time that MS was capable of producing a real, innovative operating system because it was true.

[I]n 1993, Microsoft delivered the first version of Windows NT [...]. [It] didn't perform well on standard PCs, which lacked the resources to run it.

That sent Microsoft scrambling for an interim plan. It dusted off the DOS based Windows 3.0 and improved it enough to act as a placeholder until NT could be fixed. Microsoft hoped to call its next version of NT "4.0," so the new version of DOS based Windows was called "Windows 95" rather than being named after a version number.


Right. Err. No, wrong. Nothing that happened in 93 caused MS to release Windows 95, because Win95 (under the guise of "Chicago") was already being developed. Its expected features were being discussed in the IT press in 93. It was originally due for release in '94. That's remarkably fast for such a large change as Win3 - Win95 was, don't you think?

And MS had shown that they had no fear of giving versions of Windows and Windows NT equal version numbers when the released Windows 3.1, so thinking that was the reason for the version numbering change is naive.

A year later, at the end of 1995, Microsoft shipped Windows 95 with what it described as a subset of the Cairo user interface. However, Windows 95 didn't offer the world anything new in user interface technology. It copied liberally from both the Mac and NeXT, and was commonly criticized in the phrase "Windows 95 = Mac '89."

Interesting. Most people seemed to think the Win95 user interface was a substantial step forwards. Yes, there were complaints that some features had been copied from other systems. But I don't recall there being this huge feeling of disappointment the writer is talking about. Perhaps he's projecting his personal opinions onto what was, in fact, a fairly well received user interface design?

After a half decade of being presented as a legitimate competitor to NeXT's object oriented development tools and various other products, Cairo was revealed as a complete hoax.

Cairo was the codename of NT4. Yes, some planned features were dropped because they were too ambitious. The "distributed object-oriented development tools" mentioned repeatedly in this article as being vapourware is a reference to DCOM, which did ship in NT4. It turned out to not be quite as useful as some people had imagined, but it is still a useful technology that is now at the very heart of Windows networking.

but only ended up shipping a rewarmed version of the 1990 DOS based Windows, and an unworkable, unstable new OS kernel in NT that was not ready for prime time.

Unworkable? Unstable? Not ready for prime time? That would be why such a large number of business are still using NT4 now, nearly 10 years after its original launch, right?

NT 4.0 also used the same Windows 95 interface.

Which was described above as a "subset of the Cairo user interface". So of course when Cairo shipped (under the name NT4) it had the same UI.

Cairo:

      1.
            Announced in 1991 to distract from the lack of anything dramatically new in Windows 3.0.


That would be Windows 3.0, the first version of Windows that actually sold in substantial volumes. That added support for virtual memory and vector fonts, among other features.

2.
            Expected in 1994. Pushed to late 1995, pushed to late 1996, intended to debut in 1997. Changed to a vision.


Release in 1997 as Windows NT 4.0 with several features dropped, you mean.

3.
            Core features dropped. Ended up as polish on the existing Windows 3.0: Windows 95.


I don't understand the reference to Win95 here. What?


Longhorn:

      1.
            Announced in 2001 to distract from the lack of anything dramatically new in Windows XP.


Windows XP, which was a point release. Yet still provided substantial new features that made dramatic improvements to the operating system's usefulness for many users.

2.
            Expected in 2003. Pushed to 2004, 2005, pushed to late 2006, intended to debut in 2007.


Err... released in 2006, actually. Although only to volume licensing customers.

3.
            Core features dropped. Ends up as polish on the existing Windows XP: Windows Vista.


I'll reserve judgment until I've used it. But the list of new features is quite impressive, so I'd say it's more than "polish".

Microsoft assures us that it won't ever slip half a decade between operating systems again, but what about the fact that that's all it has ever done?

NT 3.1: 1993
NT 3.5: 1995
NT 4.0: 1997
W2K: 2000
WXP: 2001

Yep, all of those gaps are 5 years or more.

Looking back, while it appears Microsoft has shipped regular products, in reality what it has shipped in the last two decades of Windows has been a series of apologetic stopgaps without ever being ready and able to ship what it actually promised to deliver.

So they've been optimistic in predictions of features. Features that were supposed to be in NT4 were either cancelled or delayed until W2K. Some features planned for W2K slipped back to XP (which is, BTW, the only version of Windows that shipped, as far as I can tell, with all the features that were ever announced for it). Is this some sort of crime? No, it's absolutely commonplace in software development. You take on an ambitious project, and sometimes it takes longer to finish than you think. It slips back to the next version, or you put it on ice indefinitely. Calling it "fraud as a business plan" is just ... well ... dishonest. We all know it happens. The tech journalists know it happens. The IT managers know it happens. Above all else, developers know it happens. So why are you surprised that it did in a project as ambitious and large-scale as Microsoft Windows? A product so huge that the latest release only ships on DVD!

In the last five years, Apple has delivered far beyond anything it promised.

Ah, I see. A fanboy.

Re:This article is barely coherent (1)

DECS (891519) | more than 7 years ago | (#17279360)

The i860 was a 32-bit ALU along with a 64-bit FPU. All of its buses were 64-bits wide, or wider. But lets ask Intel: the Intel i860 64-Bit Microprocessor Data Sheet.

You pick out various other things out of context to discredit my article, but you are clearly just excited about Microsoft. The very real problem is that this article directly attacks the church you worship at; its not a personal thing, I just think you shouldn't be worshiping mediocrity.

It's simply undebatable that Microsoft promised Cairo in 1991 as its own NeXT that would arrive just a few years later, and then spent the 90's cranking out more procedural DOS instead. If you are impressed with Microsoft's track record, its only because you don't know what would be possible had they not stopped any and all real progress.

If you want to call a mix of fraud and incompetence "optimism," well maybe you should work for the government.

-

The Register's Collapsing iTunes Store Myth [roughlydrafted.com]

Text of TFA - Slashdotted (3)

soulsteal (104635) | more than 7 years ago | (#17277732)

1990-1995: Microsoft's Yellow Road to Cairo
Along with Ashton-Tate and Lotus Development, Microsoft was considered one of the Big Three software developers of the 80s. Apple courted all three to develop software for its new Macintosh.

Ashton-Tate managed to run itself out of business, and Lotus was eventually bought up by IBM in 1995, leaving Microsoft as one of the largest and most influential developers of desktop applications.

Microsoft's position as a vendor for both DOS and office applications gave it certain advantages over its rivals, particularly when Windows 95 appeared and obsolesced not just previous versions of DOS and Windows, but also competing developers' existing applications, including DOS standards WordPerfect and Lotus 1-2-3.

Rapid advancements in technology created a wildly chaotic market, where simple announcements of future plans could trump real products. Given the prevalence of misinformation wars in the tech industry, it's no surprise that Microsoft applied its vast market power to become one of the most notorious sources of FUD and vaporware.

Innovations in Vaporware
Previous articles have considered Microsoft's vaporware attacks on QuickTime and the Newton and PenPoint OS.

While many companies in the competitive tech field announced products they were ultimately unable to deliver, Microsoft applied an innovative, two handed approach to playing the vaporware game.

Rather than just bluffing its hand like other companies, Microsoft played the game with a set of cards in one hand, while waving the illusion of another set of cards in the other hand. The fake set of cards were highly distracting because they looked like a much better hand than anyone else could possibly have.

Standing around the card table were a number of analysts who all expressed how impressed they were by the cards Microsoft waved in the air, and made regular remarks about how foolish it would be for anyone else to stay in the game. The worst part was that many of those analysts could see Microsoft's real hand, and knew the company was bluffing.

Microsoft's NT Plans Prior to Cairo
In 1991, Apple was releasing the Mac System 7 and Tim Berners-Lee was using his NeXT to build the world's first web server and browser.

PCs were still using the character based DOS in a slightly faster version than was released a decade earlier in 1981, although Windows 3.0 was beginning to provide DOS PC users with a rough approximation of Apple's graphical desktop.

After witnessing sales of Windows 3.0 take off, Microsoft began its schism with IBM over OS/2 3.0 development. Microsoft's new plan involved an entirely new operating system based on its contributions to OS/2; the new OS was referred to as Windows NT.

Unlike the existing DOS based Windows 3.0, NT aimed at being entirely new and modern in every respect, untied to DOS or to the existing x86 PC architecture.

Microsoft initially targeted NT to run on the i860, Intel's new 64-bit RISC processor that was supposed to usher in the future. The i860 was a modern design and carried none of the legacy baggage of the standard x86 based PC.

It included graphics acceleration features similar in principle to the forthcoming PowerPC Altivec and Pentium MMX; those features resulted in the i860 being used by NeXT to power its high end NeXTDimension video card.

Unfortunately, the i860 didn't work out for Microsoft. All that remained from its efforts to build a new operating system based on the processor was the i860's code name: N10, which is widely repeated to be the meaning of NT. Of course, Microsoft and IBM had also long referred to OS/2 3.0 as "NT," for new technology, so the idea behind the i860 as the source of NT's name might be historical revisionism.

No Operating System Experience
Microsoft struggled with the complex reality of building its own operating system without IBM. Up to that point, Microsoft had only been delivering tepid updates to MS-DOS, which it had licensed from a small developer. That original product, QDOS, was based on a clone of Digital Research's CP/M.

Prior to DOS, Microsoft had originally tried to sell Xenix, a version of Unix it had licensed from AT&T in 1979. Xenix eventually turned into today's SCO UNIX.

Despite quaint stories about Bill Gates singlehandedly writing DOS on the back of a napkin, Microsoft had no real experience in building or designing operating systems at all. Throughout the second half of the 80s, it had relied on IBM to develop OS/2 as the replacement for DOS.

Sales of Windows 3.0, a DOS application, suggested that Microsoft could make more money without IBM by simply licensing an underlying OS for the Windows environment, or hiring a team to write a new one in house.

That turned out to be a bigger task than anyone at Microsoft had imagined. In 1988, Gates had recruited a development team from DEC, headed by Dave Cutler, initially to work on the next version of OS/2. In 1990, Microsoft officially set Cutler loose on building a new OS kernel for Windows to use in place of IBM's OS/2.

That effort resulted in Windows NT, which was eventually delivered many years later than initially planned. In trade magazines of the day, NT was joked to stand for "Not on Time."

But Wait, There's More
With its NT project moving along slowly, Microsoft invented a much rosier view of the future under the code name Cairo. Shortly after it planned to ship the first version of NT, Microsoft said it would deliver Cairo, a product that would not only leapfrog NT, but also anything that Apple, NeXT, or IBM were already offering.

Cairo was Microsoft's Pink: a cloud of ideas that was talked about as a specific product, a series of products, then eventually just as an overall strategy or vision.

While Apple's Pink was constrained by legacy realities of the existing Mac System 7 market, Microsoft Windows 3.0 was barely a finished product in 1990, with very little Windows specific software available, particularly from major developers. That allowed Microsoft the freedom to paint out Cairo any way it desired on a clean canvas.

Slippery Plans and Brands
Many of the terms and brand names Microsoft used shifted over time or as its strategies changed. This creates some confusion in retrospect.

Prior to 1990, Windows was described as a programming and user environment intended to be folded into the new OS/2; in the interim, it could run on DOS.

At some future point, the world was supposed to trade in the essentially free-to-obtain DOS with a paid $200 copy of OS/2. That would enable PC users to run the software designed for DOS and Windows they already could run, as well as new software native to OS/2 that they did not have and did not yet exist. Hmm.

It's amazing that neither IBM nor Microsoft seemed to worry that this strategy might not work out, but everything is much clearer in hindsight. OS/2 was the first attempt to deliver a new platform for the PC; Apple had earlier learned about the difficulty of moving customers to a new platform with the Apple IIGS and the Mac.

At the time, nobody was really selling desktop operating system software at retail. Apple had historically given away updates to the Mac System Software, and had just begun its own attempts to turn System 7 into an actual retail product it could sell. As it turns out, consumers aren't usually very interested in buying software unless they have to, particularly unsexy utility software.

In 1990, when sales of the DOS based Windows 3.0 took off; it allowed the PC to rather cheaply be used as a poor man's Macintosh for graphic applications such as PageMaker. That prompted Microsoft to pull out of its OS/2 partnership with IBM, and focus its efforts on delivering its own new OS kernel, in parallel with the ongoing development of Windows.

Microsoft's new operating system to replace DOS was called NT, a name that had earlier applied to the upcoming third version of OS/2. Windows still referred to the user environment that would run on top of NT. IBM also continued its own plans to make sure existing Windows apps would continue to work on its OS/2.

For NT, Microsoft began work on a new 32-bit version of Windows. This environment was called Win32, and the existing Windows was renamed Win16. That change left IBM supporting an old version of Windows, and made Microsoft the only source for running the new and more powerful Win32 applications.

It also gave Microsoft the inside track in developing Win32 applications. Other developers selling competing PC desktop applications complained that they could not get equal access to information on how to write the new Win32 apps, particularly the secret APIs that Microsoft used to deliver its own apps, principally Office.

Two years before it first shipped Windows NT as a product, Microsoft began describing Cairo as the next generation of Windows NT. Rather than a simple graphic shell running Win32 on its new, unreleased, and unproven NT kernel, Cairo would offer an entirely rethought, futuristic new architecture, from its core OS and file system to its new user environment.

Distracting Vapors of the Future
This was important for Microsoft to announce, because the existing Mac user environment from Apple, and the existing development environment and operating system technology from NeXT were both clearly far in advance of what Microsoft Windows currently offered, or could be expected to offer in any reasonable time frame.

Cairo, like Apple's Pink, was vaporware. It was a loudly announced vision of the future to distract from the current realities of the market. Just as Apple's Pink was supposed to eventually match all the things NeXT had already delivered, Microsoft's Cairo announced things that would not be deliverable for a decade or more.

Microsoft simply had no car worthy of competing in the race, so it drew up an impressive picture of flying race rocket instead. The press, impressed by this compelling Cairo illusion, stopped comparing the ridiculously lame Windows 3.0 and DOS to the contemporary Macintosh and NeXT, and instead began comparing Apple and NeXT's existing products to the future promises of Cairo.

Even NeXT believed Cairo would turn up eventually.

The company plotted out charts showing how it planned to compete against the imminent arrival of both Taligent and Cairo.

Like other victims of vaporware, NeXT had trouble selling reality because everyone only wanted to hear about Microsoft's fictional plans that would not end up getting delivered for another half decade or more; significant parts of Cairo would never be delivered at all.

Unhindered by Reality
Without having to accommodate legacy compatibility with existing applications, and artificially isolated from having to compete in the market against real opponents, Microsoft was free to imagineer a magic future for a world ready to believe that everything Microsoft could plan would be delivered at some point, even though Microsoft had absolutely no history of delivering any significant or original operating system technology.

Microsoft's distraction hand was waving a hand of five Aces, but rather than questioning how that could even be possible, the press just gushed about how great Microsoft's future looked. The company's bluffing was actually empowered by the uncritical appraisal of the press, which only encouraged Microsoft to continue in announcing unrealistic plans.

Time or resources would not be a factor, because this was the computer industry! Time to deliver could be infinitely shortened by simply hiring more engineers to work on the project, and resources were irrelevant because of the economies of scale working in Microsoft's advantage. By suspending basic logic, everything made simply made sense.

It's just like putting a cake in the oven and setting the temperature to twice as hot as recommended: obviously, the cake will be done in half the time. Or so news analysts said.

Cairo: Buzzword Compliant
Cairo described a new OS and user environment bathed in the industry buzzwords of the day. It also borrowed heavily from the ideas of existing competitors. After all, if other companies were already selling this technology, it shouldn't be difficult for Microsoft to duplicate it. Or so they said.

Specifically, Cairo promised to deliver:

      1.
            an object oriented user interface, featuring direct manipulation of desktop objects like OS/2 already had
      2.
            an object oriented development environment like the one already offered by NeXT
      3.
            distributed computing features like those offered by NeXT
      4.
            an object or database file system that would replace the flat file system with a fully searchable object store
      5.
            a standards based messaging system like Lotus Notes
      6.
            a standards based directory system just like Novell's NDS

Failure to Launch
Microsoft's Cairo ended up being perpetually a year or two away from release until the company stopped talking about it in the late 90s.

In 1992, Microsoft said it expected Cairo to debut in 1994. The next year, in 1993, Microsoft delivered the first version of Windows NT, which was given the version number 3.1 to position it as the obvious successor to the DOS based Windows 3.0.

The NT kernel was generally considered to be well designed, so much so that DEC accused Microsoft of stealing its proprietary software technology when it hired away Dave Cutler to build the new OS. However, the original NT didn't perform well on standard PCs, which lacked the resources to run it.

That sent Microsoft scrambling for an interim plan. It dusted off the DOS based Windows 3.0 and improved it enough to act as a placeholder until NT could be fixed. Microsoft hoped to call its next version of NT "4.0," so the new version of DOS based Windows was called "Windows 95" rather than being named after a version number.

Cairo Falls Apart
Even shipping Windows 95 became a difficult task. In early 1994, Jim Allchin announced that Microsoft was reassigning more programmers to work on Windows 95, and that Cairo would be delayed until late 1995.

By the end of 1994, Microsoft Vice President Mike Maples was quoted as saying that Cairo would slip again, to "sometime in 1996."

A year later, at the end of 1995, Microsoft shipped Windows 95 with what it described as a subset of the Cairo user interface. However, Windows 95 didn't offer the world anything new in user interface technology. It copied liberally from both the Mac and NeXT, and was commonly criticized in the phrase "Windows 95 = Mac '89."

At the release of Windows 95, Microsoft announced that a "first test version" of Cairo would debut in late 1996, with the actual release happening in 1997, more than half a decade after its original announcement.

By 1996 however, Cairo was being described as a vision instead of a real product. In a Computerworld interview, Bill Gates said, "Cairo is a futuristic system. It's something we're working on."

After a half decade of being presented as a legitimate competitor to NeXT's object oriented development tools and various other products, Cairo was revealed as a complete hoax.

Microsoft had fooled the world with a story about delivering the equivalent of NeXT only a few years late, but only ended up shipping a rewarmed version of the 1990 DOS based Windows, and an unworkable, unstable new OS kernel in NT that was not ready for prime time.

Cairo's Old New Vision
In 1996, Microsoft released Windows NT 4.0. Components of Cairo's vision, including the Object File System for NT and what would become Exchange Server, were abandoned for a more conventional file system.

NT 4.0 also used the same Windows 95 interface. More problematically, Microsoft made major architectural changes to NT 4.0 to make it faster, which actually seriously compromised its design; more about that later.

Other parts of Cairo still weren't ready yet. Microsoft planned to spin portions of Cairo ideas, including indexing and Distributed Component Object Model, into NT 4, and save its directory features for NT 5, which ended up being named Windows 2000.

However, half a decade after its first announcement, there was nothing really new about "Cairo technologies."

In 1995, Steve Jobs had already demonstrated NeXT's Distributed OLE, the Windows port of its Portable Distributed Objects, two years before Microsoft planned to ship anything; NeXT had shipped its own PDO technology back in 1993.

Novell had also shipped its NDS directory server in 1993, seven years before Microsoft would get around to delivering ActiveDirectory in Windows 2000.

Many years after promising Cairo, Microsoft was still working on its long overdue vision of the future, while other companies had actually delivered it.

Most strikingly, it never released its Object File System, but kept bringing it up as the future; in 2001 it was added to the new plan for a next generation system: Longhorn.

Hasta la Vista
Cairo worked so well to suppress competition and distract from the quality of the products Microsoft actually shipped in the 90s, that Microsoft reused the same strategy in the next decade. Note the parallels:

Cairo:

      1.
            Announced in 1991 to distract from the lack of anything dramatically new in Windows 3.0.
      2.
            Expected in 1994. Pushed to late 1995, pushed to late 1996, intended to debut in 1997. Changed to a vision.
      3.
            Core features dropped. Ended up as polish on the existing Windows 3.0: Windows 95.

Longhorn:

      1.
            Announced in 2001 to distract from the lack of anything dramatically new in Windows XP.
      2.
            Expected in 2003. Pushed to 2004, 2005, pushed to late 2006, intended to debut in 2007.
      3.
            Core features dropped. Ends up as polish on the existing Windows XP: Windows Vista.

Fraud as a Business Plan
The magic of the Internet is helping to point out the tragic fallacy of believing in Microsoft's promises. Microsoft assures us that it won't ever slip half a decade between operating systems again, but what about the fact that that's all it has ever done?

Looking back, while it appears Microsoft has shipped regular products, in reality what it has shipped in the last two decades of Windows has been a series of apologetic stopgaps without ever being ready and able to ship what it actually promised to deliver.

Those placeholder products were far inferior to what competitors were offering. They were actually far inferior in many cases to products that predated them by many years.

In addition, the futuristic Cairo plans Microsoft failed to ship were actually delivered years ahead of schedule by other vendors. Why does Microsoft keep getting airtime? The company is a huge fraud, and has been for decades.

Pink vs. Cairo
Interestingly, while Apple's problems in delivering Pink and Copland between 1990-1995 are frequently cited by analysts, the world seems to have collectively forgotten that Microsoft's own equivalents, Cairo and NT, were similarly problematic, and that Microsoft pulled the same stunt again with five years of vaporous Longhorn plans.

In reality, Apple has shipped major developments that pushed the state of the art, even when they were not successful. It shipped its graphical Mac far in advance of Microsoft, despite the fact that both companies were talking about delivering graphical windowing systems in 1981.

Apple also delivered A/UX as its own commercial Unix, as well as operating system products that included ProDOS, SOS, GS/OS, and Newton. All were original products, not just outside work licensed to resell.

In the last five years, Apple has delivered far beyond anything it promised. Microsoft not only has far more failures under its belt, but more problematically, has used its market position to prevent, postpone, and kill technology offerings that were better.

Even worse, in the last five years, Microsoft not only hasn't delivered what it promised at all, but instead is pushing Vista as something the world should be excited about getting.

No, we shouldn't be excited, because it offers very little that is new and noteworthy, and entirely fails to match what it promised back in 2001.

What About BOB?
A number of industry wags have chimed in to "defend Vista" from any criticism. Among them is Mark Stephens, writing under the name Robert X Cringely. Recall that referenced "I, Cringely" before when talking about the absurdity of the Red Box Myth, and again when talking apart crazy rumors involving Apple and Amazon and their online movie stores.

His latest article is troubling because, as a historian of sorts for the tech world, Stephens seems to have forgotten so much of what really happened apart from Microsoft BOB, which he describes as "the so-called social interface operating system I always figured was really named after me."

That's a puzzling thing to say, because BOB wasn't an operating system, nor was it ever called "social," and Stephens' name really isn't BOB.

In reality, Microsoft BOB was a shell for DOS that tried to look somewhat like a 256-color PC adventure game. Instead of having windows on a desktop, there was a cartoon room with little cartoon characters. Users could leave one room to enter another, based on what they wanted to do, apparently. Most users just wanted out of the rooms entirely.
Microsoft dropped BOB, but retained the annoying characters as one of the foremost innovations it has bestowed upon society.

Clippy the paperclip was added to Office as one of its assistants, and a little dog was added to Windows XP in its search field, apparently to distract users from the fact that Windows search doesn't work at all for actually finding files.

It does have an animated dog however, thanks to the legacy of BOB.

The real problem with BOB is that it didn't really matter. It keeps getting brought up as a scapegoat however, as it if were Microsoft's one problem from back when, and "hoo-boy, wasn't it a funny thing and what where they thinking?"

Noise about BOB entirely distracts from the fact that BOB wasn't Microsoft's one mistake, but rather characteristic of everything Microsoft has done since: a bad idea designed by committee and given a ridiculous interface that looks lame and insults the user.

So forget BOB, and stop pretending that anyone is really asking "will Microsoft be able to sell Vista?" Quite obviously it will, if for nothing other than the fact that it will ship on all new PCs. However, a number of other factors are working against Vista, which I examined in the series comparing Leopard and Vista. Those are the real issues.

Another real question is: will Microsoft get the chance to pull another Cairo-Longhorn stunt again? Will the world jump on Vista's lap and beg for another decade of waiting around for scraps from Microsoft's table that might come half a decade later, if they are lucky?

The real problem for Microsoft isn't today's Vista, but in maintaining interest for a proprietary operating system that is already plagued with legacy and architectural problems and faces the most credible competition the company has ever faced, both on the desktop from Mac OS X, and in the Enterprise with Linux.

Why This Won't Happen Again
Back in the days before web access, we got information on the tech industry several months late through magazines and newsletters. We didn't have access to sales reports on the week's market share of new products as they were released, so we had little basis for declaring the absolute failure of a product launch almost immediately. We had to wait months.

Conversely, companies also lacked information from consumers; they didn't get immediate feedback in the volume we have today. No individual had the ability to list problems and flaws and publish them widely; we had to wait for news to get out through those same old magazines.

That general ignorance, based on a lack of up to date information, was used to promote fictitious vaporware products that could choke to death real competitors. Vaporware vendors needed only to seed ideas about better products of the future to shift attention away from what was currently on sale by rivals.

Without any journalists exposing the tricks, the masses were easily manipulated to believe things that were not true at all. This technique wasn't invented for technology, it's as old as society. Control the news, and you can control the people. Revolutions have been commonly fueled by new sources of information that enlightened individuals and broke the secret mind control of totalitarian powers.

What Microsoft faces in 2007 is not going to be the lack of OEMs selling Vista for them, but the unraveling of its monopoly position and its ability to mislead the world again with promises of new, next generation technology just around the corner. We know better than that now.

Oh and Cringely, you can stop pretending the cat is still in the bag.

Re:Text of TFA - Slashdotted (1)

anss123 (985305) | more than 7 years ago | (#17278446)

I had never heard of Cario when I got Win95 for the first time. OS/2 was just some mystical other OS that I heard was better than Win95, while AmigaOS and MacOS was those slow clunky UI that was on 'the way out'. As I 'Joe User' back then I didn't care in the least that there were better alternate operating systems out there, and I doubt 'Joe User' cares much more about operating systems these days. Point is, I think you are exaggerating the effect of Microsoft's FUDing. MS won by default, they just had to show up.

Re:Text of TFA - Slashdotted (1)

wangmaster (760932) | more than 7 years ago | (#17278786)

The problem with your line of reasoning that Cairo didn't matter is that Cairo wasn't technology that a user would really care about. By your own admission you were a 'Joe User'. Cairo kept the people who should have cared (product managers, software engineers, industry analysists, etc) dangling just long enough for microsoft to ensure their dominance in the market.

As an OS/2 and NeXT user in the early to mid 90s I remember the cairo fiasco and it absolutely was not a case where MS just had to show up.

Win 16->Win 32 time was definitely a make it or break it timeframe for Microsoft. At that point, there were a number of competitors that could have broken through and basically decimated Microsoft. There was alot of poor marketting on the part of those competitors at fault of course (While IBM developed a far superior product with OS/2 they really really couldn't market to anyone other than their core business market, and even then only for niche applications).

Cairo was a huge a deal. It was the virtual carrot that kept people sticking to Microsoft waiting for the next best thing rather than retool and adopt a competitor's platform. The ironic thing is, Microsoft really beat IBM at their own game considering it was IBM that developed the tactic of FUD :)

Very Nice Link... (5, Funny)

bigdavesmith (928732) | more than 7 years ago | (#17277746)

The Borg Cube bearing the Microsoft logo, destroying Earth, with flames reaching up from off-frame image [roughlydrafted.com] just screams professionalism. I will take anything this site says very seriously.

Re:Very Nice Link... (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#17277952)

The Borg Cube bearing the Microsoft logo, destroying Earth, with flames reaching up from off-frame image just screams professionalism. I will take anything this site says very seriously.

The Billy-Borg and stained glass Windows icons of Slashdot invite the same response. The same is to be expected from BadVista.org, of course.

So? (2, Interesting)

Robber Baron (112304) | more than 7 years ago | (#17277762)

What Microsoft faces in 2007 is not going to be the lack of OEMs selling Vista for them, but the unraveling of its monopoly position and its ability to mislead the world again with promises of new, next generation technology just around the corner. We know better than that now.
So? Tell us something we don't know.
Microsoft makes operating systems and office/productivity apps, and that's about it; nothing magical or "next generation" about that.
Don't expect "next generation" and you won't be disappointed.
BTW Linux is still staring at its own navel...

MODS (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17278042)

BTW Linux is still staring at its own navel...


Mod parent as a flaimbait.

Re:So? (1)

Salsaman (141471) | more than 7 years ago | (#17278196)

Linux is still staring at its own navel...

What do you mean by that, exactly ?

Damn, that was crap (3, Informative)

perrin (891) | more than 7 years ago | (#17277764)

Please give me back the 10 minutes reading that article took me. I am by no means a historian of the computing era, but I lived through those years reading computer magazines and programming the things, so I have no problem seeing bullshit presented as history when I encounter it. That guy is such a flaming Apple apologist, he can't even get his head around the fact that despite all its short-comings, win32 had pre-emptive multithreading and protected memory for all of eight years (1993 vs 2001) before Apple got out a consumer OS with the same. Apple nearly died waiting for its vapourware before it bought NeXT. And Microsoft got into that game late, too, and I mean really late. It was implemented in Unix and other systems in the 1970s. He forgot to mention Windows 3.1, which was one of the most important Windows releases ever, because it proved to the world that Windows could succeed. WordPerfect thought it couldn't, and died. Most sat on the fence for Windows 3.0, because while it was pretty, it was horribly unstable and lacking in essential OS features.

Re:Damn, that was crap (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17277888)

Are you kidding? Windows 3.x was essentially a DOS extender and was probably the most unstable, widely sold operating system of all time. Even Microsofties heaped scorn upon it afterwards. It was based on cooperative MT, not preemptive MT. Critical GUI resources were limited to 64K on a systemwide basis. Many users were force to reboot several times a day because of an "Unrecoverable Application Error". Interprocess communication and component integration relied on a succession of convoluted "technologies" (really just hacks): DDE, OLE1, and OLE2 Compound Documents. Microsoft had a huge edge over its rivals in application software because it knew the quirks of its own OS better than anyone else, and BEFORE anyone else, so they could workaround problems and take advantage of more robust and performant paths in the API.

Windows 95 was a major improvement, but was still a far cry from a robust operating system. (The Mac was no better in terms of stability, although it had a much more useable UI). Yes, there was Windows NT, but that was marketed to corporations and wasn't backwardly compatible with DOS applications. Stable, widely adopted consumer OS's didn't appear until after 2000, when Microsoft released Windows XP and Apple came out with OS X.

Re:Damn, that was crap (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 7 years ago | (#17278516)

Those same critical GUI resources are still limited systemwide, only now they're limited to 16Mb.
They don't fix the problems, they just push them further out of the way.
Out of interest tho, how difficult would it be to write a program specifically to allocate as many of these resources as possible (to cause a dos), and is it possible with something like a word macro?

Re:Damn, that was crap (1)

siride (974284) | more than 7 years ago | (#17278556)

Actually, Windows 3.1 had preemptive multitasking, but all Windows apps ran inside a single preemptively multitasked process. DOS apps ran in their own preemptively multitasked processes. This whole system was extended in Windows 95 so that each Win32 application had its own preemptively multitasked process and only Win16 apps would still share a single process. Windows 3.1 also had virtual memory, but again, since there was only one process, it was effectively used as a way to extend the amount of memory available rather than creating separate protected virtual address spaces for each application. And it was badly implemented, a problem that continued through the 9x series.

Re:Damn, that was crap (2, Informative)

hedrick (701605) | more than 7 years ago | (#17278008)

>despite all its short-comings, win32 had pre-emptive multithreading and protected memory for all of eight years (1993 vs 2001)
>before Apple got out a consumer OS with the same.

Win32 is an API, not an OS. Protected memory is an attribute of the OS, not the API. If we're talking about significant consumer implementations, the first serious implementation of win32 would be Windows 95. (Earlier ones were NT 3.51 and Win32s in Windows 3.1.) That's 1995.

The Mac equivalent to the win32 API would be Carbon. I agree that the first real protected mode implementation was 2001, with OS X, though I'm not convinced that anything before 10.2 was commercially significant. That's in 2002.

But that's still a long gap. While some had a different experience, during that gap I remember that every time my Mac staff wanted to show me something, their systems hung. I told them to come see me again when they had a real OS. Of course now they do, and I prefer it to XP/Vista.

Re:Damn, that was crap (1)

bonefry (979930) | more than 7 years ago | (#17278162)

Windows NT started from the OS/2 3.0 codebase which was developed jointly by Microsoft and IBM ... so Microsoft cannot receive full credits for it.

Windows 9x had pre-emtive multitasking for 32 bit applications, and cooperative multitasking for 16 bit applications, at least theoretically. And everyone here knows that Windows 9x provided real quality, especially Windows Millennium ;)

Mac OS Classic sucked, yes, but it was much better than Windows 9x which was replaced by Windows XP in late 2001.

Show me a better summary (1)

twitter (104583) | more than 7 years ago | (#17278170)

I am by no means a historian of the computing era, but I lived through those years reading computer magazines and programming the things, so I have no problem seeing bullshit presented as history when I encounter it.

I lived through it too but I agree with the author's assertion that the trade mags of the time were full of shit and that M$ still is. In the end, it's hard to disagree with the author's well documented thesis: that M$ conned the wintel press into comparing existing software to M$'s future vision. The details are less important than the big picture because it will keep you from being fooled into thinking Vista is competitive.

This is one of the best summaries of M$ marketing practices I've ever seen. If you have a better feature compare, spanning two decades, I'd like to see it.

Windows preemption is crap (1)

joe_n_bloe (244407) | more than 7 years ago | (#17279376)

Honestly I don't know what Windows does to "preempt," but before NT the scheduler was crap, after NT the scheduler was crap, process control has always been broken, the UI locks up and can't be restarted, anything other than a bare bones install can take minutes to shut down and/or require two or three "shut down" requests and/or manual process kills (which themselves can take minutes and/or cause lockups), and then there are things like the goofy user interfaces for networking and services. Protected memory never meant a thing for Windows stability, or if it did, I'd hate to think what it would have been without it. So, whatever.

I've never thought that Eran's articles were any loopier than those from other computer pundits. They're long and kind of dull but perfectly within the bounds of reason. It's a columnist's (= opinion writer's) job to be provocative, not balanced. Apparently Eran's mistake is wanting to participate in a fanboy blogsite whose noise level puts Slashdot's to shame. His being banned from Digg is a headscratcher, but the average Digg poster is a lost cause anyway.

yuo FaDil It (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17277774)

our ability to as to which *BSD BSD machines charnel house. volume of NetnBSD

An inconvenient truth (1)

MCSEBear (907831) | more than 7 years ago | (#17277886)

One thing I'm tired of in the Windows Vista/Mac OSX comparisons is the claim that indexed search was a Vista feature first. I'm afraid Mac OS has featured Indexed search since Mac OS 8.5 was released in 1998 with Sherlock. Sherlock was based on the Apple Advanced Technology Group's V-Twin search engine. Sherlock did a full index of text in documents on all hard drives and allowed users to search on document contents before Longhorn was even a code name.

Now, Microsoft did promise to have a database file system with search way back in the Cairo dark ages. Cairo never shipped. They promised it again for Windows Longhorn. But they never shipped WinFS did they? The search feature in the final version of Windows Vista is from a little company that Microsoft bought so they would have some kind of desktop search to compete with Google's. Well, actually MSN bought them.

Vista did not have full indexed search before MacOS since this has been a shipping feature for Apple since 1998!

Mac OS 8.5 with Sherlock [wikipedia.org]

Re:An inconvenient truth (1)

SEMW (967629) | more than 7 years ago | (#17278552)

One thing I'm tired of in the Windows Vista/Mac OSX comparisons is the claim that indexed search was a Vista feature first. I'm afraid Mac OS has featured Indexed search since Mac OS 8.5 was released in 1998 with Sherlock. Sherlock was based on the Apple Advanced Technology Group's V-Twin search engine. Sherlock did a full index of text in documents on all hard drives and allowed users to search on document contents before Longhorn was even a code name.
If you want to define fast searching as anything that uses an index, then Windows XP would qualify as well, since it used indexing. As did all versions of Windows since 95. As did, as you say, Mac OS. And yes, previous versions of Windows could search inside files just as Mac OS could. You boast that "Sherlock did a full index of text in documents on all hard drives and allowed users to search on document contents before Longhorn was even a code name" -- which is perfectly true, but utterly misleading, since Windows 95 could so the same before Sherlock was even a code name.

The equivalent of the fast searching capability that Vista uses isn't Sherlock, but Spotlight. As to the question of which of them was the first with this, the correct answer is -- neither of them, since Copernic Desktop Search predated both...

Re:An inconvenient truth (1)

MCSEBear (907831) | more than 7 years ago | (#17278632)

Windows 95 could search the contents of documents, but not against an index. Each time you did a search it would slooooowly search the contents of documents one at a time. Indexed searching first appeared from Microsoft as part of Internet Information Server, not as part of the OS.

Re:An inconvenient truth (1)

SEMW (967629) | more than 7 years ago | (#17278894)

I apologise; you're right, 95 didn't have indexing -- but 2000 and XP both did (though I think it was disabled by default). My main point would be unaffected even if 2000 & XP didn't have it (that indexing (which Mac Os 8.5, 2000, & XP all used) is not by itself the same as the fast searching technology used in Spotlight and Vista).

Monopolies can do this. That's why they're illegal (1)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 7 years ago | (#17278120)

IBM was exactly the same way. And big corporations and the trade press hung on IBM's vaporware announcements the same way.

Once a sole company dominates the marketplace as thoroughly as Microsoft today or IBM a few decades ago, the sensible corporate types and the trade press hardly bother with the competitors.

Who cares whether Control Data or Burroughs or Amdahl makes better computers than IBM? They can't win. Who cares whether the Mac OS or Linux is better the Windows? They can't win.

If you believe the future is inevitably Microsoft, it doesn't matter if it bungles its plans or reneges on its promises or manipulatively changes its direction. Because a murky view of Microsoft's future is more important than a clear view of the competitors' present. Because the competitors have no future, or at any rate not one that matters.

So everyone goes along happily listening to Microsoft's rosy fantasies, and when they don't materialize everyone will shrug and say "But look, it's still a lot better than XP."

Re:Monopolies can do this. That's why they're ille (1)

wellingj (1030460) | more than 7 years ago | (#17278774)

I don't think the point of Gnu/Linux is to 'win'.
The point it to provide a free alternative that works better.
And since it does not behold to the same economic pressures
that most software does, I don't see microsoft makeing it go
away as easily.

But that's my oppinon...you can choose what ever OS you want to.

Re:Monopolies can do this. That's why they're ille (1)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 7 years ago | (#17279186)

Once a sole company dominates the marketplace as thoroughly as Microsoft today or IBM a few decades ago, the sensible corporate types and the trade press hardly bother with the competitors.

Who cares whether Control Data or Burroughs or Amdahl makes better computers than IBM? They can't win. Who cares whether the Mac OS or Linux is better the Windows? They can't win.


This shows two things:
1) Control Data no longer exists, Amdahl isn't doing so well after being absorbed by Fujitsu, and Burroughs merged with Sperry to form Unisys (which, as of 12/2006 is in the red).

2) Monopolies don't last forever.

mod 3own (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17278696)

subscRib3rs. Please

YOU FAIL IT (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17278906)

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