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