lunes, 4 de febrero de 2013

On the Evolution of MS Windows...

I don't know why, but my thoughts have been going back to the past lately. Is it Jetpack and Digger's fault? :P

Anyway, today it is the turn of MS Windows. I grew up in a MS-DOS world and my first contact with Windows was 3.11.  Then, I used 95, ME (my all time favorite in spite of its terrible fame), and XP.  A bit after Vista was launched, I became a full-time Linux user.  I've used Vista and Vista/7 a couple of times on other people's computers, mostly to prepare the HD to host Linux, though.

With the imminent success of Windows 8 (according to Microsoft), I started to reflect a bit on the evolution of Redmond's OS.

First, some people have found a coincidental resemblance between Windows 8 and AOL (1996):

I must agree there is an awkward similarity.  Still, some users challenged the original poster, saying "Did AOL have live tiles then?"

Then, other users counter-attacked with a pretty lethal dose of sarcasm, saying: "Yeah, because live tiles are such a big step forward from gadgets!"

Leaving all that aside, there are other similar elements of Windows 8 and earlier Windows versions.  To start, even their logos are suspiciously alike:
The logo of Windows 1, back in 1985
Windows 8 Logo, 2012

Now, beyond logo design, the points in common that Windows 8 shares with its predecessors were also seen as show stoppers and mistakes in their times.  Let's see:
Windows 1(1985): Because of disputes with Apple, instead of overlapping windows, users had to deal with TILES!

Windows (2012): Metro brings tiles back, only that this time the "modern" interface offers live tiles. Do they actually help productivity?
Windows 2 (1987): Tiles begin to be replaced by overlapping windows, but the taskbar is gone. As a bonus, the background color was an eye-killer in all sense.
Windows 3 (1990): The lack of a taskbar made working with several maximized programs quite messy, but the background color improved and the overlapping windows got better. 
Windows 95 (1995): The taskbar was back! It solved the annoyances of its predecessors and improved performance and productivity and stayed until 2012...
Summing up, Windows 8 resembles Windows 2: No taskbar, no overlapping windows but tiles instead...

I've heard of some Windows 8 users who don't like the background of the OS, so they have replaced it with...a solid gray color! (YES! Let's bring the style of Windows 3 back!)  

Now, I won't go over the atrocious touch interface for desktops.  That's ergonomically disastrous.  Even if Windows lovers feel that's cool, your arms will feel otherwise, for sure.

Beyond all the hype around it...are we sure Windows 8 represents an evolution of Redmond's OS?  It looks more like a nostalgic OS release to me, quite like those "Best Songs of" albums...only that the features Windows 8 has in common with older Windows releases don't seem "the best" now and they were not the best in the past, either.


1 comentario:

  1. Very funny and interesting!
    I remember the "tiles" option in Windows 3.11. I did not understand the point of it back then, as "windows" not only were better to work, but also made sense with an Os called "Windows"