There's so much focus on Microsoft in the mainstream press, and on Linux at advocacy sites like, that a major point may be slipping by unnoticed by all:

Who cares what the operating system is?

When was the last time you upgraded the microcode for the processor in your TV?

You probably didn't. All you care about is that your TV decodes and presents the information it gathers from the cable plugged into the back of it in such a way that you can benefit from it (in whatever way you see fit.)

Substitute "computer" for "TV" and "Internet" for "cable" and you're looking at the future. In time, the essential issue won't be what new features are packed in the latest OS release; it'll be what the box you bought at the appliance store can do. Doesn't handle stereo broadcasts or closed captioning? one that does.

The game will go to the manufacturer that can release a piece of hardware at a reasonable price that a customer can buy, plug in, turn on, and expect to use. It's that way with CDs, and it's that way with TVs. It's going to have to be that way with computers.

The operating system that wins the battle will be the first one that only crashes if and only if a piece of hardware has burnt out. It might possibly even be a flavor of Linux (something I'm actually betting on.) The problem for OS fans is that it won't matter whether it's Linux, or Windows, or MacOS. In the end, nobody will care, because they won't have to.

The successful operating system will have debugged itself out of an identity.
Diary Without Comment
01/18/99 02:24 PM EST  -  Info  -  Archive  -  [an error occurred while processing this directive] Hits