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Why Windows XP is Still the Dominant Operating System

Yesterday was the 10th anniversary of Windows XPs public release and it is still, for better or worse, the dominant operating system on PCs. While some shills might talk about the imminent death of PCs in favor of smartphones and tablets or the “glorious” future of cloud computing- the reality is that PCs (desktop and laptop) are here to stay for the foreseeable future. The persistence of PCs as a type of computing platform is linked to the physical proportions and limitations of humans and even voice, eye movement and brain wave controlled user interfaces are merely augmentations for what can be done with your own hands at a visual distance of 1.5-2 feet.

So what made Windows XP so dominant and long-lasting?

The simple answer is that it was good enough, easy enough, stable enough, universal enough and inexpensive enough to displace operating systems before it and still compete with later ones- both from Microsoft and Apple. It can still do pretty much everything the latest operating systems can while preserving a familiar and easy to use interface. Its was also introduced just before mass ownership of PCs took off throughout the world, so it is effectively the only operating system many PC users have known. Did I mention that its hardware requirements, which once sounded onerous, are very modest by current standards.

But in our dystopic era of trying to wring ever-increasing amounts of profit from thin air something like Windows XP poses a real problem to bean-counters and management-types. While these ‘people’ have no capability or interest in providing real world value, they cannot resist the temptation of extracting more money out of customers by providing a newer but often inferior product. You might remember how Microsoft tried to push ‘Vista’ down the consumer’s unwilling throat in 2007-2008. They temporarily forgot that you cannot sell inferior stuff when superior alternatives are available. To their credit- they did realize their folly within a few months allowing both easy XP ‘downgrades’ and speeding up the development of Windows 7.

Windows 7, while a step in the right direction, is essentially a prettier and somewhat more secure Windows XP. Though a significant part of the code was supposedly rewritten it is rather peculiar that many device drivers and programs written for XP work flawlessly on Windows 7, unlike Vista. You might have heard about how Microsoft wants to, once again, revolutionize computing with the upcoming Windows 8. However I doubt they will do so, given what we have seen and heard about it till date. But then again- it has not yet been officially released and things could still change a lot.

So how many of you use Windows XP on your desktop or laptops? I still do.. though one of my newer laptops is a Windows 7 machine.

Comments?

  1. October 26, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    Now isn’t that a soft ball way of looking at things?

    I say that the retards at Microsoft ran out of stuff to steal. And thus their legendary creativity dropped to zero.

    All their “inventions” are just copies of something someone else already did. Once they became “dominant”…. nothing left to steal. So sad, to bad.

  2. Mr Stricter
    October 26, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Switched to Ubuntu for my computing needs. Works well, costs little and virus resistant.

    All the software save maybe games than I use is also free or cheap.

  3. October 26, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    XP is the best and fastest for the kind of work I do, which includes programing.
    The only things I might need now are more powerfull processors. For the rest, I can create VB programs that facilitate my tasks.

  4. October 26, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    Fedora Linux, up until the new laptop – HP decided it would be Cool and Jazzy to make the buttons on the touchpad part of the motion-sensitive area, and after four hours of trying different rebuilds of drivers, I’d managed to rotate the movement by ninety degrees, but I couldn’t get the blasted right-button to work. And like hell I’m going to ‘control click’ for the rest of my life (that’s for opening-in-new-tab, not accessing a much-needed menu).

    So, yeah, Windows 7; my cooling fan never shuts off, and my computer frequently smells of melting plastic.

  5. October 26, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    I use Ubuntu primarily, but started using Linux with Fedora Core about 5 years ago. I also dual-boot XP on a laptop and Win7 on a desktop (mostly for gaming).

    Based on the retardation that is the Windows 8 UI, I think M$ is headed nowhere fast: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/b8/archive/2011/08/29/improvements-in-windows-explorer.aspx

  6. MeMyselfI
    October 27, 2011 at 10:47 am

    http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/Sandvine-Netflix-Accounts-For-32-of-Peak-Traffic-116778

    “The “post PC era” isn’t just Jobspeak: The majority (55%) of that real-time entertainment traffic is coming from things other than PCs — namely game consoles, set top boxes, smart TVs, smartphones, or tablets. 45% of that traffic is courtesy of laptops and desktops.”

    Yes, this is the post PC era.

    Bandwidth usage is irrelevant. The amount of bytes used by an average person for emails, texts, messages etc in an entire year is a fraction of that used to transmit a 22 minutes episode of a mediocre sitcom on Netflix.

    • NotSteve
      November 23, 2011 at 11:15 am

      “The “post PC era” isn’t just Jobspeak: The majority (55%) of that real-time entertainment traffic is coming from things other than PCs”

      Great, a single area of usage on a single service is showing that tablets/phones/consoles are being used in non-traditional roles. The post PC era is a fad. Until I see websites designed on a tablet or coding commonly being done on a game console, PCs will be around for a while longer.

      Bandwidth usage will definately go up on connected devices, as broadband improves and streaming media becomes the norm there’s no way it could go down. But the Internet isn’t just about streaming movies, online game traffuc will still have to be split with PCs and some web-browsing will just be more comfortable on a decent-sized screen. And this is just Internet consumption, creation of media will ensure the PC’s place for a long time to come.

  7. hans
    October 27, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    The only real reason to “upgrade” from XP is to play games.
    And even then you don´t necessarily have that much better graphics as with “old” XP DX9 games.
    Which also are still a quasi standard in the gaming industry, mainly due to all the console ports and old MMO GFX engines still widely in use today.

    Add to it Microsofts brilliant idea to kill proper driver support of hardware sound cards in Vista/W7, and you get the perfect aim for that shot into Bill´s foot.

  8. NotSteve
    November 23, 2011 at 11:06 am

    I use both XP and 7 daily. Where I consult is all Win XP and (sighs) 2000. All of my in-use systems at home and work are 7/2008. My home laptop used to be Vista, so I have a pretty good comparison between the three OSes. Overall 7 is just the better operating system. Don’t get me wrong, XP is great and is great at what it does but it’s also an OS that hasn’t been updated in the last 3 years, and support is already starting to falter (3tb hard drives and Geforce Optimus comes to mind).

    XP’s time has come, and a newer OS should be accepted. 7 does a lot of things right versus Vista; better support was given through Microsoft generic drivers and compatibility systems, security was laxxed a bit without compromising the system, and the interface, while different, is user friendly.

    Vista itself wasn’t bad, but not enough work was put in for supporting legacy devices/software. I’d compare it to when Intel made its first big leap into 64-bit processors. Itanium came out and they said “this is better, this is the future. None of your applications will work on it” They were right, it was a better processor when compared to the old 32-bit architecture, but without legacy support not many would implement it. It wasn’t until AMD was able to provide a 64-bit processor based on the old 32-bit architecture that we started seeing 64-bit systems. 7 is just that, the right mix of future thought and legacy support.

    • P Ray
      August 3, 2015 at 8:04 am

      Don’t get me wrong, XP is great and is great at what it does but it’s also an OS that hasn’t been updated in the last 3 years, and support is already starting to falter (3tb hard drives and Geforce Optimus comes to mind).
      Careful selection of hardware and software will allow you to use XP with the latest products from major hardware manufacturers, along with Intel Haswell (or higher) and future AMD Zen CPUs along with 16TB of storage per drive.
      Of course, you need to know how to put those together first …

  9. P Ray
    August 3, 2015 at 8:03 am

    Don’t get me wrong, XP is great and is great at what it does but it’s also an OS that hasn’t been updated in the last 3 years, and support is already starting to falter (3tb hard drives and Geforce Optimus comes to mind).
    Careful selection of hardware and software from major component manufacturers can allow you to have an XP machine using Intel Haswell and (future) AMD Zen hardware along with 16TB (or more) of storage.
    Of course, you have to know how to put them together first …

  10. joesantus
    August 3, 2015 at 8:19 am

    “So what made Windows XP so dominant and long-lasting?
    “The simple answer is that it was good enough, easy enough, stable enough, universal enough and inexpensive enough to displace operating systems before it…”

    More-or-less like the species called homo sapiens which created it — an evolutionary “good-enough”, fraught with limitations and conflicting elements but functioning adequately to satisfy its purpose.

  1. October 27, 2011 at 11:04 am
  2. May 11, 2014 at 10:38 am

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