Microsoft recently announced the next version of Windows will be called Windows Vista. August 24th will mark the 10th anniversary of the launch of Windows 95. I remember that era very well. I was running Windows 3.1 on DOS 6.22 on a 486SX/33. When my mom went shopping at the supermarket I would always go to the magazine rack. I would read articles about “Chicago”, the codename for Windows 95 and check out screenshots of builds in progress. It was all very exciting to computer users because it was the first 32-bit Windows version for consumers. I remember reading about long filenames, the start menu, built in WINSOCK and plug and play support. Today, we don’t even think or appreciate these features. Before Windows 95 you had to name everything in the 8+3 format. Imagine MP3s being limited to the 8+3 format: madonna1.mp3, madonna2.mp3, etc. If you wanted to get on the Internet with Windows 3.1 you had to get Trumpet Winsock. By the way: did anyone ever register Trumpet Winsock? It was shareware, but no one ever seemed to care about that.
My favorite operating system of all time is Windows 2000 Professional. I remember ordering a Hands On Training (HOT) kit for $129 that included Beta 3 copies of Windows 2000 Pro, Server and Advanced server, a training CD, a sales CD and a free t-shirt. The kit also included final build, Not For Resale (NFR) copies of Pro, Server and Advanced Server, with the server versions having 10 CALs each. I just loved the shadow under the mouse: it made the operating system seem 3D like! Now we have Windows XP: product activation, skins and bloat. OK, OK, I admit it: I have a Macintosh theme on my Windows XP laptop! I look at Windows XP as a Windows 2000 add-on. It took 3 years and over 5000 developers to create Windows 2000 and it’s still going strong.
I can’t wait to try out a late beta of Windows Vista. I heard they are getting rid of the old DOS like underpinnings and are replacing the setup routine with a Windows PE like environment. You can keep up on the development of Windows Vista (a.k.a. Longhorn) by visiting Paul Thorrutt’s web site. Paul also has a nice, text based newsletter called WinInfo that he sends out packed with the latest geek news. I highly recommend it. Best of all it’s FREE!
Here are two videos on the daily workings of making a Windows build:
– Soli Deo Gloria