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On The Flip Side
by Michael Munger

The Ultimate Solution To Get Rid Of Windows
September 14th, 1999

Most Mac users pretend they are fed up with Windows, and when you think about it, PC makers have to work with it because they have no choice but if they had anything better, they would go for it.

I remember reading PC columnists in local newspapers who said how Windows stinks and how Microsoft is a problem for the PC platform. However, when it is time to do something, they remain quiet. When it is time to suggest something better, you can hear a pin drop from 50 paces.

Well, instead of their usual sheepish behavior, I think PC manufacturers - the only people who have the means to do anything - have to team up, stand for themselves and get to work on replacing Windows. I understand how hard such a task will be, from a technical and practical stand point, but as long as the huge megabyte-devouring virus exists, the PC and Mac platforms will always suffer.

Resistance to such a change would arise instantly, but history shows us that if you fight against change and succeed in delaying it for a period of time, it will overrun you violently later. Also, remember what I said two weeks ago. A bold plan takes you somewhere, and to ditching Windows is certainly bold.

Windows is a plague. It has to run on zillions of different computer configurations out there, all with different hardware. Because of this, even if Windows was as good as the Mac OS, it could never run well like the Mac OS. Apple has the huge advantage of developing both hardware and system software for it. Then there are the security problems. Hacking Windows is no secret for any semi-skilled hacker as the US Army found out recently with their NT experience.

Think about it with logic. Would you use a 400-pound toaster in your kitchen? Would you still use it if it burned your bread and catapulted it through the ceiling once done and always threatened to burn your house down? No! Then why do you use Windows if you own a PC? Because you have no choice. It is time to create this choice, and eliminate the big toaster.

But how does someone get rid of the standard operating system of the PC platform? After all, who has the power to nuke the biggest Microsoft product on the market? Since the birth of Windows 95, the PC marketplace belongs to Windows and a change does not seem too close...


I have said before that Apple had the advantage of being both an operating system and hardware developer. I think Apple should not be the only company with this privilege.

My solution would be an operating system that was developed - jointly - by the major PC manufacturers for all PC manufacturers. Its code would hail from the major hardware developers such as IBM, Compaq, Dell, etc. and would be available publicly for all PC manufacturers to tailor for their systems.

The result would be simple. More stability, more flexibility... PC makers could make their desktop what they want without having to deal with threats from Microsoft... They could make sure it runs perfectly on their own hardware. The power behind such a concept is limitless. Of course, it would have to have the ability to run current Windows software to ensure a smooth transition.

Even the Macintosh would benefit from this. If the system software for PC's was better, maybe it could be more compatible with the Macintosh. Think about easier networking between PC's and Macs. Think about software developed on either platform that ported easily to the other.

Such rewards would allow anybody to choose between a PC and a Mac in the workplace because the annoying barriers between the platforms would not exist anymore. Such barriers make it difficult for the Mac to gain any more ground.

As long as a new PC operating system would be done the right way, the Macintosh would benefit from it as much as the Dark Side. Am I dreaming? Probably. Oh well... slap me.

But I do think Windows should occupy the same space os the BeOS, a cute little operating system that you can install on your computer as a toy to play with when you have nothing better to do. It should not control the PC market like it does now. Some have the power to change the situation. They should do it before it is too late.

As it would supplant Windows, I think they should call it Defenestration, hehe :-)

Your comments are welcomed.

Michael Munger is a French Canadian living in Montreal. He discovered the Mac in 1994 while studying journalism, the profession he loves and practices. He also studied history and communications. In addition to his work at The Mac Observer, he authors the iBasics tutorial column at Low End Mac, and cofounded MacSoldiers in 1998.

You can find more about him at his personal Web site.

You are welcome to send me your comments or you can post them below.

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