Question the Pundits! (1 Viewer)

Steve R.

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Jul 5, 2006
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Obviously, one should should question anything written by a pundit. The problem that I am complaining about is that some of the pundits are just plain superficial.

Recently I ran across an article that appeared interesting: An Excess of Operating Systems as it raised a valid concern. Developing all these operating systems are an exercise in reinventing the wheel.

What "turned-me-off" to the article, was that Linux was not appropriately discussed, despite the fact that the Linux penguin and the Ubuntu icons were displayed in the article. The article merely states: "In the PC era, the players were Windows and macOS; for mobile devices, we have Android and iOS ...". While the statement is "true", it overlooks Linux as a viable alternative. And a problem with Linux is that there are a (unnecessary) plethora of "flavors". That plethora of "flavors" was something I was expecting that article to get into. It didn't.

A while back I ran across this post on a Windows forum. Microsoft Office vs OpenOffice vs LibreOffice: Which one is better?. The forum supports the Windows operation system. So naturally it is not surprising that the post supported Microsoft Office. Nothing wrong with that. However, it did not appear that the author of this post made any real effort to compare the various office suites. The "big" give-away for this assertion is that the OpenOffice suite appears "dead" (in the sense that continued development is not active). Surprising that the author missed this tidbit.
 

The_Doc_Man

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And worst of all, that plethora of O/S names didn't include OpenVMS, which is different from the HP Unix-like offering. OpenVMS has been around since the late 1970's and runs on Intel's IA64 hardware (plus the old DEC/Compaq Alpha and the older DEC VAX).

I remember when there were literally dozens of operating systems, one for EVERY different machine architecture, even for different machines from the same vendor. There were more than just a couple of O/S offerings for the DEC PDP-11. There was DOS-11, RT-11, RSX-11 (S, M, and D), and there was RSTS/E-11.

I think that when the PC "concept" came out - a unified architecture instead of a new machine with a new instruction set every few months - it started whittling down the numbers. The problem with all of the UNIX varietals (like fine wines?) was that everyone wanted to put their own "stink" on it.

I remember when DEC was hiring programmers to work on a new operating system and they specifically had to have never worked on UNIX. It later became known that they were writing a UNIX of their own but had to have people who would certify in court that they had never seen or knowingly used any other flavor of UNIX. Had to do with being able to plausibly deny using or copying any copyrighted or trademarked code.

I think that the pundits are, for the most part, driven by their biases. I'll flat out admit it - I am biased, too. I think OpenVMS is better than UNIX and Windows. It has a window-like control panel and is surely as powerful and versatile a system as one could ever need. Sadly, it is slowly losing popularity because of the UNIX and Windows share of the market making it harder to find compatible software for OpenVMS. But I digress...

Folks who write articles like the one you referenced, Steve, are following that old advice from the movie I Remember Mama and if you put it in context, you understand it better. In that movie, the young writer is given some great advice: "Write what you know." So she writes anecdotal stories about life as poor people. Well, you can read that article and decide which software was on the computers where that author learned what he learned. He wrote about what he knew.

Now if we could only persuade some people to NOT write about what they DON'T know... but I shan't name names.
 

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