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Shakespeareís networking sayings: 
To contend to not contend. That is the Ethernet question.
Whether it is nobler to Ethernet than to ATM.
A path, a path, my kingdom for a virtual path.
Oh poor, Token Ring. I knew him so well.
Isn't that interesting?

 

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Rambling on Operating Systems

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An important point in analysing the history of operating systems is that not always the best technology wins, and sometimes itís all about being in the right place at the right time. Look at DOS. How did it survive for so long, without ever really changing? We went through six major versions, and each time we paid up and basically got the same old software. But all of this changed with two major pieces of software; Microsoft  Windows  3.0 and Microsoft Windows 95. Microsoft Windows 3.0 brought a useable graphical user interface which built itself on top of the horrible DOS. As long as DOS stayed there, Windows 3.0 was never going to be anything more than a graphical user interface. With Windows 95,  Microsoft started from scratch and built a solid kernel  which could run several processes, at a time, and also had a most amazing user interface. With Windows 95, computers could now be used by children, and non-computer specialists. The days of remembering the command for printing (itís PRINT, by the way) or for listing directories (itís DIR, in case you forgot, or are too young to remember DOS) were replaced with user menus, and graphical icons. So the star of the OS market must be Microsoft Windows, in its 32-bit form, that is, Microsoft Windows 95/98, Windows NT/2000 . An honorable mention must go to UNIX, who has quietly fathered many of the major networking protocols, without ever demanding payment from the world. Without UNIX there would no TELNET  and FTP, no TCP  and IP, and no SMTP  (e-mail), and NFS  (distributed file systems ), and NIS  (global logins), and, well, Iíd better stop there, because I could fill ten pages with its achievements. Oh, and itís got a proper kernel, and allows different graphical user interfaces to be bolted on top of it (honest, Iím not getting at anyone here, but, in Microsoft Windows, is it possible to split the kernel from the graphical user interface, and run the kernel on its own? Please send me an e-mail if you know.

© W. Buchanan, 2000