When you see how much technology has advanced in the past decade, it’s hard to see ourselves going back to old operating systems (OS) to carry out everyday tasks. Plagued by troublesome networking setups, kernel panics and third party hardware setup (plug and what?), I could never go back to using an OS prior to Windows XP or Mac OS X – could you?
Oh how we all loved Windows before XP… Being the dominant force in the computer industry, Microsoft had a lot to answer for! Remember Windows 95 and 98? If one application crashed, everything crashed. Everything! A restart later and everything you’d been working on had disappeared and you were back to square one… If you didn’t have a driver disk, third party hardware was near impossible to configure for the average user and computing in general wasn’t a great experience.
So when did it change? Windows XP came about in 2001 and brought about an inviting interface that didn’t look like it was pulled straight from a graveyard, making computers simpler to use and less intimidating for the masses.
The OS was a lot more stable, and if one application crashed the whole system wouldn’t be brought down with it! CD’s can be burned straight from explorer and networking was easy to set up.
Everything here we take for granted, but the leap from Windows ME to XP was a significant one – people got so used to XP that 66% of the world still uses it, despite Microsoft’s best efforts to phase it out for Windows 7, which I find to be a much better operating system than either XP or Vista.
Ah, Mac OS 9… I’ve had little experience with it, and in the time I spent using it I couldn’t believe that such an advancement was made from it to Mac OS X. Similar to early versions of Windows, but worse, was a problem with the crashing of one application leading to the whole computer crashing – when using OS 9 I seldom made it through a few hours without the whole thing crashing and forcing me to start again with whatever I was working on.
I found OS 9’s software update feature to be absolutely comical when trying it out, as to update the software on the Mac you had to quit all open applications which in turn most probably closes the software managing your connection to the internet. Needless to say, updating software was a very painful affair. To go from such an unstable OS to Mac OS X is some achievement, but it wasn’t all plain sailing…
During the early releases of Mac OS X, there were lots of bugs that needed ironing out, but as a user of Windows, OS X and Linux daily, I always feel that the most stable operating system without a doubt is OS X – whenever I can, I use OS X and often resent the need to switch to Windows if I’m working on a Visual Studio project.
I think Apple have done an amazing job building Mac OS X up to what it is today, compared to where they were at the beginning of the millennium.
So much to look back on, so much has happened in just the last decade in terms of technology and computing, sometimes it’s easy to forget the path we’ve gone along to get to the modern operating systems that now use.
What are your memories of using either or both of these operating systems’ various incarnations, do you look fondly on them or dread to think the hassle you had back in those old dark days?