Timeless Software or Dated

By Jim Rapoza  |  Posted 2005-11-13 Print this article Print

Hardware?"> Nevertheless, I think its pretty impressive that I can still run Windows 98—and do so relatively painlessly. To put it in perspective, doing the equivalent when Windows 98 came out—that is, using a 7-year-old version of Windows—would have meant running Windows 3.x.
And I didnt know anyone in 1998 who was still running Windows 3.0—or Version 3.1, for that matter.
But the big question is, Does Windows 98 owe its longevity to superior coding, or is it that improvements and innovation in the PC industry have slowed greatly? I think Im going to have to go with the latter. From 1990 to 1998, depending on how you count, Microsoft released eight to 10 versions of the Windows operating system (desktop and server). And the differences between Windows 3.0 and Windows 98 were massive. In the seven years since Windows 98 was released, Microsoft has released Windows ME, Windows 2000 Pro and Windows 2000 Server, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003. Thats five new versions, if were being kind, or three if we accept that ME is just a shell add-on for 98 and that there are only minor differences between 2000 Pro and 2000 Server. And while Windows XP is better than and very different from 98, XP isnt a slam-dunk upgrade. It isnt just Microsofts fault. Hardware hasnt changed enough to force Windows 98 out. Almost nothing requires that a user move to a new operating system. The same goes for most modern applications. Outside of some games and high-end statistical and modeling tools, are there any must-have applications that require Windows systems newer than Windows 98? So heres to Windows 98, the spry old man of the Windows operating system world. If you had told me seven years ago that Id still be using it on some of my systems, I wouldnt have believed you. I just hope technology improves enough so that I wont still be using it seven years from now. Labs Director Jim Rapoza can be reached at jim_rapoza@ziffdavis.com. Check out eWEEK.coms for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.

Jim Rapoza, Chief Technology Analyst, eWEEK.For nearly fifteen years, Jim Rapoza has evaluated products and technologies in almost every technology category for eWEEK. Mr RapozaÔÇÖs current technology focus is on all categories of emerging information technology though he continues to focus on core technology areas that include: content management systems, portal applications, Web publishing tools and security. Mr. Rapoza has coordinated several evaluations at enterprise organizations, including USA Today and The Prudential, to measure the capability of products and services under real-world conditions and against real-world criteria. Jim Rapoza's award-winning weekly column, Tech Directions, delves into all areas of technologies and the challenges of managing and deploying technology today.

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