Thursday, September 17, 2015

Operating Systems - Just for the record...

First, a little diversion. Here's how the browsers we all love are trending....

And now, the operating systems, and you'll notice that in spite of all the noise about Wonderful Windows Ten, it's still far behind Windows 8.1, Windows XP, and especially Windows 7 (my all-time favorite) in its acceptance and popularity.

Let's do a little "memory lane" thing for a moment. Back before Windows 7, in the bad old days of long ago, when Windows XP got upstaged by Vasta Vista, the system we all loved to hate, things were different. Mighty Microsoft, to our continuing consternation, habitually treated its vast horde of faceless users as if we were all idiots. It took a lot, and I do mean a lot of heckling from guys like me to convince them that even though we don't know code from Shinola, we do know what we like. And one thing we definitely do not like is paying someone to call us idiots. We could do that ourselves much cheaper!

So for Windows 7, because they were up to their collective asses in alligators, and needed supernatural assistance and friendlier users, they decided to let ten million of us pretend to be helping them. They let us try out the rough "beta" versions, and give them feedback. They got enough feedback by their own admission to keep them reading for twenty years! And very little of it was praise.

But the good news is, they took it to heart, and tried to change their supercilious attitudes towards the hands that feed them. They even kept using that testing program idea, and for Windows 10, created a kind of club, called Windows Insiders, of whom there are about five million of us. And one of the reasons that Windows 10 is as popular as it is would have to be because those five million of us have been using it for months. With varying degrees of success and acceptance. It's got some nice "eye candy" but so has Taylor Swift, and most of us can't take her to the bank either. We just want to get things done.

Microsoft wants to have an operating system which is "all things for all users". What's wrong with that? Almost everything, actually. Users have different hardware and different needs and different preferences, and "one size fits all" simply doesn't cut it. One operating system for everybody has to involve too many compromises to suit most of us comfortably. And that's the fly in the ointment. One that's still there. Like that new "Edge" browser that Google says is "not compatible with Google Blogger. Please see our list of approved browsers."

The available browsers in Unix-derived PC-BSD or in Linux Mint have no problem being compatible here with Google's Blogger. So why is Microsoft having trouble? Because they can't resist "re-inventing the wheel" and they can't remember "If it works, don't fix it!" The new Edge Browser uses a different kind of language than most others, because Microsoft is trying to get away from older methods, and use HTML5 and not all of those improvements are compatible with other existing programming. You just can't mate a horse and a rabbit. And if you mate a tiger with a parrot, I don't know what you'll get, but you better listen when it speaks.

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