Re: Platform of choice (very long) or, I Hate Holy Wars

Subject: Re: Platform of choice (very long) or, I Hate Holy Wars
From: Matt Ion <soundy -at- NEXTLEVEL -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 12 Feb 1997 18:12:05 -0800

On Tue, 11 Feb 1997 12:47:48 -0800, Stephen Arrants wrote:

>> 2) MS-DOS became the de-facto DOS standard (anyone remember DR-DOS?),
>> especially on the business desktop. Cheap, sort of reliable - and
>> standard, so business IS managers ...
>I think this was more due to IBM's imprimatur on MS-DOS. Businesses
>buying computers back in the "olde dayes" bought IBM because "No one
>ever got fired for buying IBM."

IBM still builds some of the best hardware I've ever dealt with.
People also tend to forget that IBM extends far beyond the PC world as
well (PC hardware, software and operating systems are a relatively
minute portion of Big Blue's bulk -- one tidbit I've got tucked away in
my grey matter is the revenue for IBM's AS/400 minicomputer division
for 1994: $14 billion, as opposed to something like $8 billion for
Microsoft *as a whole* for the same period.)

>> 3) UNIX established itself as a niche OS, primarily for scientists and
>> engineers.
>Well, and for hobbyists, too, briefly.

Still one of the premier choices for ISPs as well (regardless of what
the Microsoft cheering sections tell you).

>> 9) Windows is able to dominate the home market because:
>> a) most applications are written for Windows

This is misleading. How does one define "most"? There are dozens of
variations on WinZip -- how many does a person need?

>> b) Windows, thru economy of scale, is cheaper

Windows, through economy of long-term usage, is costlier: more frequent
system and application crashes due to design compromises to optimize
raw speed mean more work lost and more time lost to regular rebooting
(my home machine running OS/2 Warp 4 needs rebooting maybe once a week;
my four-line BBS machine running Warp 3 on a 386DX40 needs rebooting
when a serial port locks up or someone stumbles over the power cord,
otherwise it's run happily for up to six months at a time).

>> c) Since everyone uses Windows at work, might as well have it at
>> home...

Everyone drives VWs to work; might as well leave the 'Vette in the

>> ActiveX might be an achilles heel for MS - as the
>> industry moves (with Java) toward interchangeability, ActiveX's
>> limitations (compared to Java) don't look so good.
>I tend to agree, but I think JAVA has had too much of a gushing good
>press. I've tried to write Java apps. for both our Wintel and Sun
>environments.....not much luck. The much admired interchangeability
>ain't there yet.....

And it's getting a shot in the head by MS's attempts to push for a
Windows-specific version of Java.

>> Microsoft has taken advantage of IS industry conservatism and marketing
>> success to dominate a market, even though their products, objectively,
>> DO lag badly in technological terms (and horribly in usability and human
>> factors aspects!)
>I really disagree with the last part of your sentence. What evidence do
>you have that Microsoft products "lag bacly in technological terms (and
>horribly in usability and human factors aspects!)"? I mean, what hard
>evidence? What are you comparing to what?

Windows applications (particularly Microsoft's) have always (and
especially as of late) suffered from extreme featuritis. The rationale
is always to build bigger, grander, more bloated apps and sell them on
gee-whiz factor. Once the poor user ahs them home and discovers how
poorly they perform, you can just sell them more
power/speed/ram/storage/etc. I kind of miss the days when programs
*had* to fit within my C-64's measly memory, thereby requiring
programmers to be somewhat talented at writing tight, fast code. I
still have my old 64 and a word processor that pioneered much of what
we've come to take for granted today (particularly online help:
Paperback Writer came with a whole disk of help files that you could
callup at any time by hitting the F7 key. Help topics were
context-sensitive and interlinked [kinda] with hypertext).

Your friend and mine,
<insert standard disclaimer here>

They say there are strangers, who threaten us
Our immigrants and infidels
They say there is strangeness, too dangerous
In our theaters and bookstore shelves
Those who know what's best for us
Must rise and save us from ourselves
- Rush, "Witch Hunt"

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