cat Xerox | Apple | Microsoft ?

From: John Foust <>
Date: Thu May 21 21:02:20 1998

At 04:57 PM 5/21/98 -0700, Kai Kaltenbach wrote:
>In regard to Windows being a clone of the Macintosh, that's also false. The
>intended competitive target for Windows 1.0 was somebody's PC based product
>which in turn was intended as a competitor to IBM's TopView.

That's not to say, of course, that Windows 1.0 would not have been
better had it cloned the Mac. :-)

>People think Windows was successful because of some
>big Microsoft master plan, which is ridiculous. It didn't sell hardly at
>all until it really took off with 3.0,

I was one of a handful of guys who wrote a Windows 2.0 illustration
program that we sold to SPC that became Harvard Draw. Speaking with
that experience in mind, programming for Win 2.0 was hell on Earth. :-)
All the fun of 16-bit x86 plus a toddling GUI API.

Relax, Kai. Some of us are hoping the DOJ would leave Microsoft
alone, and hope they don't go after the next software company.
("Why, I'm shocked, shocked, shocked that one software company
would wish another would dry up!" Government officials who accept
covert international espionage are surprised by corporate managers
playing "us-vs.-them" in blustery memos?) And this wouldn't be
the first time a Mac-flavored columnist had a strange spin on the world.

At 07:37 PM 5/21/98 -0500, Doug Yowza wrote:
>I'm not a Mac
>fan, but if you look at something like the Amiga and AmigaOS from 1985, it
>was such a clearly better operating system and windowing system PC
>environment compared to Microsoft's offering that if Microsoft had to

The Amiga's GUI, Intuition, will go down in history as being almost
religiously nonconformist and anti-standard - in the first few years,
the evangelists seemed in love with the idea that, for example,
every program's Open/Save dialogs would be hand-rolled and completely
different from the next. By the time they changed their mind about
that, it was too late.

It didn't track most resources - even Win 1.0 tried to do that.
Another great flaw of the Amiga core (on which Intuition relied) was its
lack of task-to-task memory protection, indeed, a reliance on free
access to all memory by all tasks. The Amiga had great multitasking
and a generally clean feel to its "Exec" mainly because the guy who
was assigned to write it was wise enough to recognize that
he was no expert, and picked up a textbook on OS design. This
free access to all memory gave the machine and its custom hardware
its lean-and-mean feel, but it wasn't scalable or very portable.

That's about it. It inherited all sorts of crud from Martin Richard's
B and BCPL languages, for heaven's sake, because Amiga Corp. wasn't
capable (given CBM's time and money constraints) of producing an OS
to sit on top of the Exec, so they grafted his Tripos OS on it instead.
I can say all this only because I devoted many years and much soul
to the Amiga. :-)

Early Windows suffered the most from the 16-bit legacy of the Intel
processor. At least it attempted to abstract the graphics interface,
tracked resources, encouraged standard GUIs, etc.

- John
Jefferson Computer Museum <>
Received on Thu May 21 1998 - 21:02:20 BST

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