Abstract Confusions

Complexity is not a cause of confusion. It is a result of it.

Barbarians led by Bill Gates

Recently I read a book about Microsoft’s Operating systems – Windows.

This happened to be a good read if you have interests in product / software development. I have long cherished other operating systems, like Linux and other UNIX systems. Mainly for their ability to do things and robustness. Windows was never in picture. After I finished reading it, I had a complete new look towards Windows.

It is of like, poor chap, he has tried so many things. No wonder why he couldn’t be like Apple mac or Linux OS.

Few pointers from the book.

  • Windows was never a product in Bill Gates mind. His main aim was on MS-DOS for the IBM machines. Windows was born mainly to keep DOS business.
  • Windows 1.0 was developed mainly to compete with VisiCorp’s system. VisiCorp applications has a attractive GUI and needs different setup (no DOS!). Gates saw this a threat to his DOS business.
  • Windows 1.0 was not tested at all. When ever they had a working build ready, they compiled, made as a package and shipped it. Customers did the testing after buying and submitted bugs to Microsoft which fixed them in the later patches.
  • At the earlier state, Windows 1.0 was loaded on MS-DOS. And needs MS-DOS to run. Gates would goto vendors and tell them to write software / drivers files saying IBM machines will run DOS and tell IBM that there are applications developed for DOS by vendors and thus DOS is a must.
  • When Bill Gates happened to see one of Apple’s early system, he complained Windows 1.0 is nowhere close to it. He urged the Windows development team to copy Apple’s window rendering manager (Ah!, note: copy) and make Windows look more like Apple.
  • Windows 1.0 was never thought as a product which will be supported for long run. Gates thought to keep Windows 1.0 support for few more releases and then stop supporting / developing Windows. His main aim was killing VisiCorp’s and safe guarding DOS. That is done now. Gates tried selling Windows to IBM, but IBM rejected Windows as it was developing some thing similar and decided it would be waste to invest on Microsoft’s application. Gates decided to develop a new generation OS in collaboration with IBM. Later IBM would break this as it finds fault Microsoft’s Windows 3.0. IBM would go on and release OS/2 where as Microsoft would release the software as Windows NT.
  • Windows 1.0 & 2.0 can’t run applications parallel. You need to close notepad to open calculator. This was corrected in Windows 3.0. The underlying MS-DOS was modified to make this happen. The term multi tasking came to party for Windows at a big time.
  • Unlike Apple, or any other LINUX like OS, Microsoft has supported so many vendors and thus that many configurations. Apple manufactured it’s own hardware and because of that, there would never be issue. Windows has to support so many third party hardware requirements and thus was error prone.

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