Oh dear – you call that an operating system

The other recent scuffle in blog space is over the news that Microsoft’s new OS, code named Longhorn, will be called Vista. Apparently some mean and nasty Mac fans said a few unsavory things about the OS and Robert Scobie jumped to its defence. Of course Scobie just manages to dig an even deeper hole. Mac fans talk about the stability and services of OS X while Scobie claims that Windows is better as it runs on Tablet PCs and other Intel hardware. Frankly Scobie, I suggest you forget about it and scuttle back to the safety of your overwhelming market share while it’s still there.

OK, I admit it – I push an operating system hard. I even manage to get a decent OS like OS X 10.3.9 Server tied into knots. I run every service at a rate of knots or over a slow wireless link, I run beta versions of open source web systems and do strange things with LDAP just to while away a weekend. With stress testing like that I sometimes have to reboot the poor thing once a week. On the other hand I have this Windows laptop that appears to need rebooting daily (at least) when it only runs Microsoft stuff, Firefox and Citrix. Oh, and one other thing. A small example. I like to have a running web server on my computer. Even more important, I want one I can control and run a nice Perl install. I tried to use the one that comes with Windows XP, I really did. I spent an entire weekend tryng to get the CGI working. After 6 hours I did get server side includes working but gave up on CGI. I did a standard install of Apache for Windows and got CGI, server side includes and my Blosxom blogging software working in two hours. Since this is open source software worked on over many years by great programmers I get the same terrible reliability out of XP with Apache running or off.

SO if you want to evangelise Windows then I suggest you stick to it’s good points. Certainly XP is a lot better than Windows used to be. It certainly supports a wide range of hardware, it is also has a wide range of software running on it. The interface is also improving, I’d have to say that it’s as good, if not better than any Linux desktop I’ve used. Don’t pretend that running on tablets or media PCs make you any better on the desktop. Don’t pretend there aren’t serious design flaws that compromise security. Don’t pretend that supporting all the legacy stuff (most of it from the continual Microsoft U-turns on the best way to develop for the OS) doesn’t seriously hurt reiability.

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