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Date:      Tue, 16 Nov 1999 12:18:38 -0800
From:      "David Schwartz" <davids@webmaster.com>
To:        "Jonathon McKitrick" <jcm@dogma.freebsd-uk.eu.org>
Cc:        "Erick White" <erickw@taurus.oursc.k12.ar.us>, <freebsd-chat@freebsd.org>
Subject:   RE: Judge: "Gates Was Main Culprit"
Message-ID:  <000001bf306f$c463a130$021d85d1@youwant.to>
In-Reply-To: <Pine.BSF.4.02A.9911161953330.54981-100000@dogma.freebsd-uk.eu.org>

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> On Tue, 16 Nov 1999, David Schwartz wrote:
>
> >	Right, this is progress. If you want the features of Kodak
> Advantix, you
> >need an Advantix camera. And that means you need Advantix film. And of
> >course, your film processor needs a machine that can process
> that film. To
> >get the advantages of newer technological developments, you need a new
> >everything. This is really evidence that Microsoft does not operate by
> >locking people into inferior developments but actually by continually
> >reinventing its products to keep them leading edge.
>
> I agree.  But is it likely Kodak will 'revise' the advantix in 2 years,
> and tell everyone their old cameras won't work with the new film?

	Maybe. And people will switch if and only if the benefits of the new
standard outweight the costs of switching. This is why you can still run DOS
6 and Windows 3.1 executables on 98. Microsoft understands this, and has
always stressed retaining compatability.

	When you force people to break with the past, it costs them, and they
remember. When Microsoft released Windows 95, it allowed a strong bridge
with the past. In contrast, Apple has abandoned pretty much every platform
they've made, with few if any bridged to the past.

	This helps to explain Microsoft's success. It costs people money to lose
compatability, and they won't do it unless the perceived benefits are
significant. Windows 98 SE was a low-feature upgrade, but it didn't have a
compatability cost. So it was fairly successful.

	Of course, this has a downside too. Windows 2000 has a lot of legacy code
that slows it down and prevents it from doings things that I personally
would like it to do. But heck, even the P3 has legacy features that do the
same thing.

	Balancing the advantages of compatability with the disadvantages of legacy
drag is a tough decision for any company.

> A
> revolutionary new film may come out once a decade.  Why should an OS
> *require* an upgrade every 2-3 years?  There are still people running apps
> on FreeBSD 2.2.5 and they work fine.

	This just happens to be an industry where the state of the art changes very
rapidly. But nothing compels you to track the state of the art unless you
want to. Your question is really, "why can't I run state of the art software
on legacy hardware and software?" And the answer is, there's no market
advantage to giving you that ability, so no one is going to do it. The
legacy drag wouldn't outweight the compatability benefit.

	There's less legacy drag in free operating systems because you can
generally recompile the application. Distributions in binary form suffer
from this more because you have to make such tradeoffs in the configuration
and compilation process.

> >	I still use Windows for my desktop machine and for the
> machines my kids and
> >I play games on. It still works better. It's not a big deal if
> your desktop
> >crashes. Servers are another story.
>
> Not a big deal?  Have *YOU* ever lost important data because of a windows
> crash?

	Not that I can remember. I probably have, but not that I can remember
recently.

	I maintain my hardware very well. I have UPSes for all of my systems. I
check my processor fans and use high-quality memory. I don't overclock. I
set my BIOS settings conservatively.

	My NT desktop crashes maybe once a month. My 98 desktop never crashes, but
it sometimes bogs down requiring a reboot, maybe once a week. Other people I
know who don't take such good care of their hardware or have UPSes
experience much more frequent crashes. I don't think this is coincidental.

	But I'm the extreme example of using Windows only as a desktop. All my
files are stored on a Linux file server. I edit with 'joe'. So I really
can't lose important work. If Windows crashes, everything I dead is in my
'DEADJOE' file. So Windows can't crash and trash my files -- I don't use it
as a server.

> Sure, a really cool sports car that breaks down a lot is not a problem if
> you can have a tow truck follow you everywhere you go.

	Well, I don't think Windows crashes so often that it's a problem for most
people who use it. And I've tracked many cases of Windows instability to
hardware problems.

	But the fact is, stability is not that incredibly important to many people,
it's just one factor among many. They've somehow managed to accept that
computers crash and that's just life. It's the same thing that makes people
overclock.

	DS



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