Saturday, 23 May 2015

Windows 3.0

25 years ago, May 22, 1990, Microsoft launched Windows 3.0.

I tried Windows 1.0; it was neither pretty nor useful. Likewise Windows 2.0; that was just Microsoft saying "We're going to have a product called Windows someday." You could run it on an 8088 computer, and it ran like treacle.

Windows 3.0, was Microsoft trying to get serious. It looked pretty, it was almost useful, but it crashed rather a lot. I know, I used it. It didn't have networking, you had to install a shareware product called "Trumpet" to use TCP/IP, which was, of course, necessary to use the internet. I installed Trumpet, and i was able to use Netscape to surf the web, and I used an email program called Pegasus.

But Windows crashed, And crashed. And you didn't even get The Blue Screen of Death which was commoner than Microsoft was expecting. I was at a Microsoft presentation when they launched Windows 3.1, and the Microsoft presenter told us that we should stop using Windows 3.0, because it wasn't much good for serious corporate use, and we should upgrade to 3.1. And a guy from the audience stood up and said "I have a question." "Yes?" said the MS guy. "Why the fuck didn't you tell us that when you gave us 3.0?". And the audience collapsed laughing.

I remember writing an article in which I gave my opinion that Windows 3.0 wasn't actually ready for beta test. Beta test is when you think you have something working, so you give it to a restricted number of users so they can report problems. Alpha test is when you give it to some people in-house and they find probems you missed - I'm not even sure that it was ready for alpha test.

The first useful Windows was "Windows for Workgroups". At first, you still have to download from somewhere and install a TCP/IP stack, but in August 1994 they included TCP/IP support. And it didn't crash as often as Win 3.1, and I looked upon it, and it was good. Well, good enough.

1 comment:

  1. This little rant has attracted more than twice as many reads as my previous best post, and I have no idea why. I didn't tell anyone about it, it's just a very minor diatribe.