So, as was my custom, I was thinking about operating systems the other day.
It occured to me that after my first two computers (a ZX81 and a ZX spectrum), I had a Commodore Amiga. This was around 1986 or so. Used it right through to the early 90s.
The Amiga had a Unix-derived, fully pre-emptive, microkernel based OS, with a propritary GUI on top of it.
After several years, I moved to a PC running DOS (Why? You find out below.) and then went through a series of Windows, from 3.1 to 95 to 98, and then XP. Until XP
Now I use OSX, which is … a Unix-derived, fully pre-emptive, microkernel based OS, with a propritary GUI on top of it. I bought my first OSX mac in 2008.
What’s weird is that the stuff in between AmigaDOS and OSX was, by and large, utter utter shit. DOS literally could only do one thing at a time, and the multitasking in 3.1 and 95 was hilariously bad and the operating systems were almost comically unstable. 98SE was better, and XP is pretty usable. But they still suck compared to the excellence which is OSX.
So, architecturally speaking, it’s a full circle, from awesome to awesome with bollocks in the middle.
But it was that exact bollocks I simply had to have, because of … Doom and later, Quake.
Those games were archetypal killer apps. I changed from a awesome computer model to a literally terrible one, because I had to do so in order to get a quad damage and gib my friends.
I do wonder what things would have been like if the unix/gui model had actually been the dominant one throughout that whole time period.
I’m guessing pretty damn awesome.