Operating Systems Experience

This post and others like it relate back to an introductory post that explains the point. This is an edited variant of something I wrote in 2007, in this case relating my experience/history with operating systems and environments. Some overlap with hardware is implicit in such a list, but the entire exercise is arbitrary anyway.

Every version of Windows from 3.0 on, and NT from 3.51 on.
At least four Linux versions: Red Hat, Mandrake, Corel and Ubuntu.
OS/2 Warp 3.0
Macintosh circa early nineties
Most versions of MS-DOS, particularly 3.3, 5.0 and 6.x
OS-9 for TRS-80
Tranti Systems EZ-DOS
An older version of Novell
Windows CE

This is includes things I have supported as well as touched, so it is possible for me to have supported the use of, consequences or. or interactions with an OS without having used it personally. In recent terms, I have helped people with Windows 7, using and troubleshooting it on computers I don’t own, but have yet to own and use routinely a copy myself.

Some things I experienced more intensively than others. When I started working at Corporate Software, I was nicknamed “The DOS Guy” by my colleagues. Even then, before Windows 95 released, when we were using Windows 3.11, there were people hired to do support who were utterly lost in anything but the Windows GUI. And not always much better off there.

By comparison, I used to load ansi.sys and create colorful batch file menus using escape codes. The first time I ever saw Windows, I thought it was a bit goofy and wasn’t sure I saw the point. What got me using it was the apps it would run.

I used to hang out on a BBS run by an OS/2 fanatic. I even read the Team OS/2 newsgroup (or it may have been a Fidonet thing) regularly with great interest, despite having never used it. When OS/2 Warp 3.0 hit, I bought it and used it for a while. It was pretty cool. IBM missed a slight window of opportunity to shake up the industry. I found it started crashing after a while, which I blamed more on the hardware I installed it onto than on OS/2. I put it on a 386. When I got Windows 95, it went on a 486. Surprise! It seemed more stable. It also helped that I got Microsoft apps support training on Windows 95 just before it was released. I never looked back, but always felt bad that OS/2 didn’t fare better. It could have, to the degree it was a matter of business decisions.

The OS category properly gets into server elements, but I should probably cover that separately. Take something like Windows 2003 Server SBE; you’re setting up a server and dealing with its OS, but also Exchange at the same time. Then again, this reminded me I forgot the Novell server I dealt with, and while that’s networking, it’s also the OS running the computer, so I added it.

I added CE in this otherwise minimal update. When I was a TDL in VB support, we sent someone to Charlotte for VB CE training, then she in turn trained our team. That touched on WinCE, obviously, but peripherally. We didn’t provide support officially, but they wanted us familiar enough to help if we could if we received calls. Since I’ve experienced a minor degree of hands on with CE devices at FedEx, I decided not to leave it out.

Okay, next it’ll be word processors and combined packages that featured a word processor.

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