Re: Re[2]: Free-Market Economics

James Rogers (
Sat, 12 Jul 1997 16:46:33 -0700

At 03:41 PM 7/11/97 PDT, Bobby Whalen wrote:
>Guru George writes:
>>Aren't you contradicting yourself here? In fact, advances in software
>>possibilities drive advances in hardware, and advances in hardware drive
>>advances in software. Both ways, it's a good thing on the whole.
>>I''ve got no more than an ordinary end-users smattering of knowledge of
>>computers, but it seems to me that despite its faults, Win95 is a
>>definite advance on Win 3.1 in terms of ease of use, speed of running
>>programs, and multitasking capability. I *have* spent the occasional
>>day or two tearing my hair out over some problem, but then I expected
>>that when I got a computer, because the need for
>>and the many different manufacturers of ever snazzier hardware and
>>software having slightly different standards means that there will *
>>always* be problems. In fact come to think of it, most of the
>>complaints of the kind you make seem to forget that a lot of the reason
>>for Win95's 'bloatedness' is caused by these things, plus the
>>that the PC ought to be operatable by even relatively stupid people.
>>This last requirement is never quite fulfillable, of course, precisely
>>because it requires a bloated, complex program that is prone to the
>>occasional problem! :-)

Another part of the bloating and stability problem is most of the major OS
vendors try to make their product a "do-everything" OS. I think the
biggest failure on the part of the OS vendors is to try and make their OS
like everyone else's. What they should be doing is differentiating
themselves by focusing more on their core competencies.

Mac-based platforms are unsophisticated simple-to-use, single user systems
that excel at realtime things like digital audio and video processing.
This is their core technology and they do it well. Yet they have been
spending lots of money trying to market the concept that the MacOS is a
great network machine and makes a great server, both of which are blatantly
untrue. The simplicity that is normally associated with the MacOS is due
in part because many of the components that would make it a truly powerful
OS never existed. I suspect that re-designing the MacOS to include NT and
UNIX-like technologies will do little to actually improve the market for
MacOS, seeing as how that market is already filled.

Windows NT is Microsoft's wannabe UNIX, but has neither the power nor
flexibility of UNIX. However, it is a great desktop OS and works great for
peer-to-peer and workgroup networking. What Microsoft *should've* done is
lighten up NT by removing all the wannabe enterprise, Unix, and other
generally useless components, and sold it as the ultimate business OS and
forgotten about Windows 95. NT is more stable than MacOS, fairly easy to
use, far more powerful than MacOS in the networking department, but it is
no substitute for the MacOS's core competencies. NT is more stable than
Win95 because it is a "from the ground up" OS and prefers stability to
backward compatibility.

Unix is irreplaceable as a server and network OS, and makes a pretty good
research and development environment, but I seriously doubt its place as a
user OS for numerous reasons (sorry Linux people!). The learning curve is
far too steep, and the interface is unintuitive and complex. This is its
power, but it is not for the masses. With the exception of the Free Unix
crowd, I don't think too many people had any illusions about this though.
Can't beat the rock solid stability and (in most but not all cases) speed,

>I've been using both Windows and Mac-Based platforms for years. During
>a 2 month period my company kept track of productivity comparisions
>between the two platforms. The results were devastating to the Wintel
>Platform - every time a Mac crashed, the Wintel equivalent crashed 6

I have a MacOS, NT, and Unix box at home and I use all 3 regularly. Unix
is by far the most stable. I run Unix under heavy loads for months on end
and it never crashes or even hiccups. NT is definitely less stable than
Unix, but crashes less often than the MacOS and is way faster than the
MacOS system even though NT is running on significantly slower hardware.
Windows 95 is simply too dirty an OS to be particularly stable. I never
use it on my own machines. However, it is more stable than the old Win 3.1
environment that I use to use in days of yore.

"Productivity" is a slippery definition. A software developer would find
Unix, NT, and too a lesser extent Windows 95 to be more "productive" than
MacOS. The marketing department may beg to differ. For many applications
a command line interface is faster than a GUI, but may or may not be more
productive depending on who you ask. I have MacOS, NT, and Unix systems
because I recognize the fact that some OSs are significantly more
productive and efficient for certain tasks than others. Instead of trying
to fight the weakness of one system, I utilize the strengths of all of them.

What would really be cool is an OS that could radically reconfigure and
optimize itself on the fly to support multiple models...

-James Rogers