Operating systems and their flawed versioning scheme

twoeyes

Limp Gawd
Joined
Aug 15, 2006
Messages
243
After reading several complaints (to say the least) of Vista, and of people running back into the welcoming arms of XP, I've had to ask myself, WHY do OS manufacturers insist on this method of versioning their software?

If I were to ask you, which has a more successful track record of version changes, Fedora/*buntu/linux in general, or Microsoft, the answer would probably be pretty near unanimously the Linux crowd. Along the same lines, if you were posed the question: which is the more successful upgrade: Vista or XP SP2, one would surely say SP2, which was a hugely successful upgrade that boosted the stability and security of the operating system greatly.

Now back to the first question, why does Linux have such a better track record going from, for instance, Fedora Core 1 to Core 2 to Core 3 and so forth? Well the answer is simply because those "versions" as most people know are a shroud to the superior packaged structure of Linux, which is its true genius (being free is just a bonus) so while you may have moved to core 2 from core 1, many of the software versions may be the same, a few will be upgraded, and you may get some new graphics thrown in.

Now examine the success of the Linux packaging system, put that together with the comparison of Vista and SP2, and ask yourself: why does Microsoft insist on completely rewriting their software in such a way that it throws the whole industry into turmoil when they could have just worked on another service pack or two? Obviously there is trouble when trying to do something as drastic as adding a permission system to XP, but I just don't think that this can continue, the industry is to large and to integral a part of the world now to be in the hands of some rag-tag programmers working from their moms basement in Seattle. Microsoft is a huge multi-billion dollar company, and they need to start taking the responsibility of one.

Personally I think Microsoft has no lack of great programmers, designers, etc. I believe they are a very successful company that has, in Steve Jobs words "earned their success, for the most part." However I think that their inability to embrace a more modular operating system is ultimately going to be their downfall if they cant do it at some point, or at least come up with some better upgrade path (though upgrade paths don't hype, it seems).

Anyway sorry for this ramble but I just wrote this on a whim to get my thoughts down. I realize this is stuff that has probably been pointed out before, but I think that with vista out now it is becoming more relevant as we've seen Windows upgrades are if anything getting worse not better as time goes on.
 

dot_Zen

Gawd
Joined
Feb 17, 2007
Messages
720
What a nice and loaded question.

Simplest answer: Consumers

The mass market will always get confused on how to get to the water, unless they're lead to the water. They don't care who you are, what you're selling or what the eventual sacrifice will be; as long as you offer them the path of least resistance.

Linux may have a superb 'upgrade' or 'versioning' scheme, for geeks, but the same won't translate to the mass market --sadly.
 

zacdl

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Feb 12, 2007
Messages
2,012
For some odd reason I didn't even bother reading Duby's post ;)

Anyways, onto your question...

I guess what it amounts to is expectations. Windows has high expectations. Windows has done so well with compatibility (gripe about it all you want, it has) that we want the compatibility to remain. When it doesn't, we gripe.
Linux simply doesn't have it to begin with. You start out knowing you are going to have to find your own driver, install, troubleshoot, or configure the darn thing to get it working. I know some distros have improved, but you have to be real: Linux as a whole sucks at what it supports straight out of the box. It isn't for your general user, like Windows is.

What I found flawed in your OP, is you compare compatibility differently.
You compare driver/program compatibility to the OS itself for Windows- something that is always going to conflict due to different companies writing the software and OS.
But then you compare previous versions of Linux to newer versions of Linux (comparing the OS to OS) for Linux. This will generally play along nicely, because the same people are writing the next OS.

If you put them on the level playing field- I think you'll find Windows is much the same as Linux. You can Upgrade from XP-Vista just fine. Just like you can go from versions 1-2 in Linux just fine.
 

twoeyes

Limp Gawd
Joined
Aug 15, 2006
Messages
243
Well I just want to clarify I'm not saying Linux is superior in anything besides its method of approaching upgrades. I'm basically saying that Microsoft would have had more success repackaging XP (a very mature product) rather than dumping their lot in with Vista.
 

zacdl

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Feb 12, 2007
Messages
2,012
I just don't think MS could have repackaged what they have done with Vista into another XP Upgrade.
 

general

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Oct 14, 2004
Messages
1,192
I think MS's method really has to do with getting incremental revenue from geeks who run out and buy whatever they release. There was certainly no need to release WinME, but plenty of people went out and bought it.

You do bring up a good question though. Balmer has said that MS will not be putting out OS's in the fashion of Vista again. It will be more incremental upgrades as opposed to huge changes.
 
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