Nostalgia post. Some cool things from the past.

Posted: November 20, 2011. At: 9:00 AM. This was 6 years ago. Post ID: 2198

Windows `95 launch.
Windows `95 launch.

This thread will be showcasing the awesome and not so awesome things that sprang up in the past. The Windows `95 operating system was one that came out of Redmond with the taskbar and icons on the desktop that continued relatively unchanged until the Windows XP operating system delivered the themed interface that was in the default installation, very different to the Windows 2000 interface that was very similar to Windows `95 in look and feel with only very slight changes to the user interface. Windows XP brought the Luna theme with the plastic looking taskbar and window decorations that did not win the favor of all users, who turned it off in preference to the Windows classic interface. Now that Windows is moving to a tablet-touch interface like Ubuntu with their Unity interface, they are moving away from their taskbar and start menu and instead to a touch interface. The Google search engine that now dominates the Internet and life in general, started as a simple search site for finding information on the Web and they have grown into a giant corporation that has ambitions far above offering a web searching service and adsense, with plans to build future technology to revolutionize how we live and travel.

I would always use Yahoo before Google and I liked their search page, but once Google came along, they seem to be the only player in the search market. Speaking of ground breaking websites, this is a screenshot from the Facebook movie Social Network and this shows the old KDE 3 desktop that was very nice to use before it got so bloated in the 4.0 release. KDE 2.0 was awesome as well, the whole desktop was integrated so well together and the Konqueror file manager was perfect. Then the 4.0 release came out and they removed the role of Konqueror as the file manager and put in Dolphin instead, that is not as good as the old system of one application that can be a file manager and a web-browser, instead they have loaded it down with more and more bloat to make it look like Windows 7.

Red Hat Linux 6.2 Enlightenment desktop.
Red Hat Linux 6.2 Enlightenment desktop.

The Red Hat Linux 6.2 Enlightenment/Gnome 1.0 desktop depicted to the left is the first Linux distribution that I ever used, and I was amazed at how easy it was to install and set up. Now I am using the descendant of that distribution: Fedora Core 15 Linux. But this desktop is reminiscent of Windows `95 with the taskbar on the bottom and icons on the desktop. You could theme the clock to look like a LCD clock and the cool Propaganda tiling desktop wallpapers are visible. The handles on each end of the taskbar slide it off the screen when clicked to offer more screen real-estate on the small monitors of the time. The Electric Eyes image viewer is visible and the user has run xwd to take a screenshot of the desktop to a *.tiff file. As well as the GIMP and the good olde Netscape Navigator v4.72 browser. I wish that the modern version of Gnome could look like this, but sadly no…

Another nostalgia piece visible in the screenshot is the shortcut on the desktop to the floppy drive, they must have a 1.44MiB floppy drive mounted. Floppy disk drives were very good for saving files, but not very reliable, rather like cheap USB drives these days. But if you needed to save your work they were better than nothing despite the slow speeds and the fragile plastic disk inside the plastic case. But the 51/4 floppy disks with the truly floppy design were even worse, can you imagine using a disk with only 360KiB of storage space? The double density disks could fit a whopping 1.2MiB of data, which was a lot back then. There were 8 inch wide floppy disks as well these were superseded by the 51/4 disk drive. But now we have 16GiB thumb drives that are larger than hard drives of the floppy disk era. That is truly amazing.

This screenshot on the left-bottom shows Red Hat Linux 5.1 running FVWM 95. This was released in June 1 1998, and had a live filesystem tree on the CD, after this the distribution outgrew this and the distribution was released as a CD with RPM packages that were uncompressed and the files within were copied to the hard disk during installation. This is another Linux distribution that is copying the Windows `95 interface. The Red Hat Linux 5.1 distribution used the old Xfree86 windowing server and kernel 2.0.32-2. That goes to show how long the 2.XX kernel was going before we moved to the 3.XX kernel branch. There is a website here that has patches for the 2.0.36 kernel that are available for Red Hat Linux 5.1, but obviously the links do not work after all of this time. I wonder why… But running a distribution that old these days would be very different from running Fedora Core 15 or Linux Mint. Configuring XFree86 with Xconfigurator or VI would be a lot of fun…

Red Hat Linux 5.2 and FVWM 95.
Red Hat Linux 5.2 and FVWM 95.

But we have moved on since those days, the hard drive capacities and processor speeds have gone way up and the bloat of operating systems has gone up as well. Windows 1.0 was a 16bit operating system that was the same in appearance to Windows 3.1 and Windows 3.11 for Workgroups. This was released on the 20th of November 1985 and was the flagship product of Microsoft. Steve Ballmer did a good job selling it even though his behavior is a bit over the top. At least he is not throwing any chairs or screaming ,DEVELOPERS!,DEVELOPERS!,DEVELOPERS!,DEVELOPERS! That was an over the top performance for sure. But if you write it like this in C then you can actually get a better rendition of the famous moment.

#include 

int main(int argc, char **argv) {
   int i;
   i = 0;
   while (i < 9999) {
     printf("DEVELOPERS!");
     i++;
   }
   return 0;
}

Then it is better.

Google search engine beta.
Google search engine beta.
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