I've been trying out WinXP on my token Wintel box at home, and it really doesn't impress me. I was running Win2K, and Win98 before that, and I can't really see the big deal.

To be fair, I can say that I don't make fun of Windows for crashing as much anymore, although XP did just crash this week with a big fat bluescreen which took out the entire body of preferences in my user account including all my digital VCR schedules. So that was annoying. But rare now, anyway. And most times it can be blamed on drivers or non-Windows software... but gah.

But as for the rest of XP... I can't stand Luna. I turn off all the bells and whistles until it starts looking like Win98. I reduce my Windows Explorer down to about what it looked like in '96, just a folder tree on the left and detail-view on the right. Most of the other "helpful" features of WinXP just annoy the crap out of me. Am I missing the benefits of XP? It just really seems like hairs are being split and sugar's being poured in since about 1998 with Windows. Maybe the thing is that no one's come up with any new dramatic, paradigm-shattering new things, so incremental perfection is all that's left for Windows.

So here's what I'm getting to: I'm thinking of downgrading my home PC to either ?WinME or Win98, and I might just stop the upgrade cycle there. And I'll stop it for good unless I see some dire need to upgrade my Microsoft OS. I don't seem to have any software which requires WinXP. Rarely, something requires Win2K or NT, but most of that stuff I replace with a Unix app. At work I've been running Win98 in a Virtual PC instance on my OS X machine, and all my daily-use software runs fine on it. And it really doesn't crash all that much.

And this isn't just an anti-Microsoft thing. Well, to be honest, in part it is. And in part, I don't want my Windows habit to suck me into recurring Microsoft payments, should they perfect the licensing enforcement and stop letting me buy the thing once and make me sign up for a monthly fee. Unless they can start showing me something like the Radio UserLand radio.root changes RSS feed, I don't see a benefit to me to pay on a subscription basis. I suppose their list of patches and things fits that bill, but it's not the same to me. With Radio, I see a stream of improvements and new features. With Microsoft, I see largely a stream of fixes and replacements for things they've already sold me. But, I suppose it's apples and oranges. Radio can afford to bootstrap and occasionally break, whereas Windows must strive to be solid as a rock.

This makes me feel vaguely luddite.


Archived Comments

  • Why 98 or ME instead of 2K? Everywhere I've read, 98 and ME are considered, basically, crap, where 2000 is for real work. I run 95 on my Windows machine, but would run 2000 if it didn't have enough trouble with 95.
  • Well, I know there's a bit leap from the '95 codebase to NT-based Windows, but there have only been a few things I've encountered that have demanded Win2K and above. But I do most of those things on Unix-based systems now. I guess I just don't make my Windows machines do that much heavy lifting anymore, and a more lightweight thing (relatively speaking) like '98 seems nicer. But then, I've been in Win2K-land for a few years now and haven't been stuck soaking in '98 for a long while. Maybe doing so will change my mind.
  • I would say at least go with Win2k. Its alot more stable. I've got 1 Win2K workstation and 1 Server running at home. I use the workstation for a PVR, like what your doing and it rarely goes down. The server i have for some development stuff i do for work and its been running since December, when i took it down to move it.