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If Operating Systems Were Airlines

DOS Air: Passengers walk out onto the runway, grab hold of the plane, push it until it gets in the air, hop on, then jump off when it hits the ground. They grab the plane again, push it back into the air, hop on, jump off...

Mac Airways: The cashiers, flight attendants, and pilots all look the same, talk the same, and act the same. When you ask them questions about the flight, they reply that you don't want to know, don't need to know, and would you please return to your seat and watch the movie.

Windows Airlines: The terminal is neat and clean, the attendants couteous, the pilots capable. The fleet of Lear jets the carrier operates is immense. Your jet takes off without a hitch, pushes above the clouds and, at 20,000 feet, explodes without warning.

OS/2 Skyways: The terminal is almost empty - only a few prospective passengers mill about. The announcer says that a flight has just departed, although no planes appear to be on the runway. Airline personnel apologize profusely to customers in hushed voices, pointing from time to time to the sleek, powerful jets outside. They tell each passenger how great the flight will be on these new jets and how much safer it will be than Windows Airlines, but they will have to wait a little longer for the technicians to finish the flight systems. Maybe until mid-1995. Maybe longer.

Fly Windows NT: Passengers carry their seats out onto the tarmac and place them in the outline of a plane. They sit down, flap their arms, and make jet swooshing sounds as if they are flying.

Unix Express: Passengers bring a piece of the airplane and a box of tools with them to the airport. They gather on the tarmac, arguing about what kind of plane they want to build. The passengers split into groups and build several different aircraft but give them all the same name. Only some passengers reach their destinations, but _all_ of them believe they arrived.

from the March issue of Wired (ver. 3.03)


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