Changes on the horizon?

Dennis Faas's picture

I've been in the computer business for quite some time and have read countless publications related to both the computing industry and its users. Since I continue to read a number of publications on an ongoing basis, I see developing trends and the direction the industry is going.

I find new hardware especially intriguing, as well as software that is constantly being developed for the consumer market. But, there has been some rather disturbing news along with all the 'hype', including some recent unsavoury news concerning Microsoft.

Before I get into that, let's review a bit of history:

Back in the early '80s, Bill Gates bought a small software company that developed an operating system (OS), and called it PC-DOS. The OS used a very small amount of memory and its basic purpose was to managed the PC. And more importantly: the MS-DOS operating system opened the door to what is now a very highly lucrative PC industry.

Microsoft continued to improve and enhance MS-DOS through several versions. Incremental enhancements included better memory management, improved system services, and, of course, bug fixes. These subtle improvements inevitably caused MS-DOS to "grow" in its memory and storage requirements.

Around the same time, Apple released their machine with a graphical user interface (GUI); shortly after, Microsoft responded with MS Windows. And as with previous releases from Microsoft, Windows required more memory and more storage than its predecessors.

Inevitably, users had to do away with their old PCs and buy new hardware. The hardware industry was not sitting idle during this time, either, because next-generation PCs were popping up every 18 months offering considerably faster processors, more memory, and more storage.

In fact, one could agrue (to a degree) that Windows has created a market place for computer hardware.

Now, that's not altogether a bad thing, especially if you consider all the advances that have been made since the days of MS-DOS -- but it's certainly problematic if you can't afford to upgrade your PC everytime a new version of Windows comes about.

If, like me, you have a pocket full of pennies with your finger print embossed on them (from pinching too hard), you seriously have to ask yourself if it's worth upgrading to the next release -- especially if the new version doesn't really do all that much more than the previous release.

... continued tomorrow.

Next time, "Is anybody doing something about it?"

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