20 Years of Windows

Microsoft Windows just turned twenty. For a full history of Windows, here's the Wikipedia article. What I find ironic, and didn't know, is that the very first version of Windows shipped quite late and vastly understated hardware requirements. Seems not much has changed ;) Truth is, I never used Windows 1.0 so I can't testify to how it was. My first version of Windows was Windows/386. From there I went to 3.1->3.11 and finally the “Chicago” (Windows 95) Beta. That beta was the last version of Windows I have used as my daily desktop. I've played with various versions of Windows after that, from 2000 up to and including 2k3. The one notable exception is XP, which sans a single class I took I've never really logged into. While Windows 2003 isn't all that bad, to me the sad part is that it's not all that good. There's finally some semblance of stability, but it still has myriad security issues, questionable architecture decisions and lacks so much basic functionality that it's astounding. To me, Windows represents just how far you can get in the computing world by being good enough. In fact, Microsoft seems to have turned that into an art. Rarely the first to market, rarely the best value and rarely the best. BUT, they are perceived to be good enough and are a known commodity. The reality though is that after billions of dollars and twenty years of work, Windows is still only good enough. To me that is a monumental failure. It could have been so much more. When you put it in that perspective, I think Linux has made great strides and has done so with way less money behind it and only twelve years of development. In the Windows world, twelve years puts you just past Windows95. Linux is way beyond that in comparison, IMHO. Now, Linux still has a long long way to go and has a ton of places where it needs improvement. We'll get there though and it's been a pleasure to be along for the ride.
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–jeremy

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