Saturday, April 24, 2010

My Thoughts on "Then and Now"

There's a meme appearing on Gnome Planet and Ubuntu Planet where people post their first Linux desktop and compare it to what they run now. I thought I'd put my two cents in. First, my first!

Red Hat 5.1, courtesy

It looks primitive, I agree, but let's compare it to what I was using before.
Windows 95, courtesy of

You know what? They weren't that different. Win95 had Plug'n'Play, but it worked so badkly that it shouldn't have been a feature of the OS. Memory was unprotected so the OS would hand for no reason whatsoever. Moving to RH5 seemed like a joy, once you got it set up. That was the painful part. Oh, and it supported like three pieces of consumer hardware, so I had to go out to buy a new, "real," modem. Netscape sucked, but so did IE.

Let's move forward to today, on my netbook:

There's a better theme, and the controls all moved (but that happened years ago with the move to GNOME 2). Still, there's not a lot different in the UI. It makes my point from last week -- don't change the UI. The core libraries, though are completely different. Applications can easily communicate, and there are standard libraries for things like communication, media, and document rendering. None of that was true of either RH5 or Win95.

Where's the competition?
Window 7, from

Similar level of difference from Win95 to Win7 as from RH5 to Fedora 13, eh? (I thought about trying to get RHEL 5.5 and taking a screenshot just so I could say "From RH5 to RH5.5, but I didn't.") Again, there is some flash, and the internals have all been replaced (by NT!), but the basic UI isn't significantly different.

I thought we'd be further along by now. Where's my flying car? I guess I'll look to the smartphone market to see the changes I really want.


  1. I'd say the first comparison is not completely fair as the RH screenshot shows a Win95-imitating theme.


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