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I, Cringely: What Lies Beneath

Jan 18, 2003, 08:30 (37 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Robert X. Cringely)

"The idea of Windows as an operating system is purely a product of the Microsoft marketing department, and not some law of nature. When Windows 1.0 appeared, it was a separate program you loaded on top of MS-DOS. Same for Windows 2.0 and 3.0 up through MS-DOS 6.22, the last standalone version of DOS sold by Microsoft. That way, they thought at the time, if Windows ever proved to be a commercial failure (this was far from certain and it is easy to claim Windows WAS a failure before 3.0), it would have been easy for Microsoft to punt back to MS-DOS.

"It was only with Windows 95 that Microsoft decided that Windows was a success, dropped the second box and integrated the products. But are they really integrated? No. DOS 7.0 was under Windows 95 and DOS 7.1 brought the FAT32 file system to Win95, not the other way around. Even today, you can still get to a C: prompt under Windows XP, which means a disk operating system is hiding there no matter what Microsoft wants us to believe.

"Windows XP is not an operating system. It is a windowing system that sits atop an operating system much as KDE or Gnome sit atop Linux..."

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