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23rd of November, 2017

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5 of the best desktop operating systems you never used

Hmm...you know you’re an old fogey when you see a list like this, and it’s completely, utterly the opposite of you:

When it comes to desktop operating systems, your choices are really pretty narrow. You either run Windows, or you do some Unix-like OS. There are the 12,000 different Linux distributions. There’s always FreeBSD if you prefer your Unix without a Finnish flavor. You could go the vendor route and run AIX or HP-UX. Sun has Solaris, and as much as you might want to, you can’t forget SCO. And of course, there’s always Mac OS X. Although it may sound like variety when it comes down to it, it’s still Windows vs. Unix.

[From 5 of the best desktop operating systems you never used | Classics Rock | TechRepublic.com]

I used each and every one of the Five Best Operating Systems I’ve Never used quite extensively. The operating systems in question?

OS/2
I used OS/2 as my primary desktop for about 3 years between 1994 and 1997. I played with it on and off up until I finally got rid of my last PC back about a year ago. It was ugly, it crashed on bootup more than it actually, you know, booted up, and had the most hideous fonts you can imagine (about like the ones you see in Java apps to this day). I guess it made sense to forego eye-candy like antialiasing and hinting. Nevertheless, it let corporate behemoth IBM feel like a scrappy little underdog for a while.

NeXT[sic]
I used NeXTSTEP back in college, and it’s probably the best OS ever made, taken in context. It was Steve Jobs’ playground, with goofy, exotic hardware choices and the Complete Works of William Shakespeare installed by default. To this day, I still use the lookalike WindowMaker for my desktop at work; it’s lean and mean, and looks like a million bucks. At home, I use Mac OS X, which is the intellectual heir to NeXTSTEP, and enjoy the benefits of its heritage. DisplayPDF is a fine thing.

BeOS
In my old office, we actually had a gaggle of BeBoxen. They were terribly ugly machines, but BeOS rocked back then, and is still the best, most full-featured operating system for old hardware. I installed BeOS Max on a creaky old Vaio Laptop with 1998 specs just a couple of years ago, and everything zipped right along and worked splendidly. Try that with any modern Linux distribution and you’ll be hating life.

DESQview
This was not an operating system, as noted in the article, but a task-switching shell that basically served as a front-end to QuarterDeck‘s QEMM386 DOS memory driver. It did what it said, swapping DOS programs in and out of EMS, and it did it pretty well. It was a nice toy for WordPerfect and Lotus junkies. I used QEMM386 on all my machines, and used DESQview for things like running Crosstalk IV sessions in the background while updating AWK and SOUP packets with whatever the fuck am I talking about?

GEOS / GeoWorks
GEOS was a sweet shell for the 8088 and 80286-based computers. It ran like greased butter (?) on that hardware, which seemed to be available for free everywhere after Windows 3.1 came out. I had it running on a sweet old IBM PS/2 Model 50 for a bit, until I woke up and discovered girls.

I wonder why people make lists like this. Are they really fishing for the Get-Off-My-Lawn demographic?

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