Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Sunday, February 04, 2021

The release of Windows Vista last week made it de rigeur to discuss whether or not you should upgrade your current computer from XP or 2000.

To which I thought: Why on earth would you want to go through that headache?

It’s not like XP won’t continue working and being supported for several more years; Win2K likely has a ways to go as well before it becomes more trouble than it’s worth. And previous new Windows rollouts, on machines that were optimized for earlier flavors of the OS, often go wrong due to new system requirements, hardware and software incompatibility, etc. Finally, unless you just bought your machine, it’s likely near enough to the end of its functional life to warrant replacement.

The only thing that makes sense, if you really really want to run Vista, is to buy a new computer with it pre-installed. You avoid the hassles and finger-crossing of basically grafting a new OS onto a maybe-or-maybe-not compatible system.

Then again, I’m of the view that these days, most people’s primary computing functions don’t rely on a specific OS:

A few short years ago, having a computer meant heavy use of a few key software programs for word processing, research, video viewing, online games and so forth. If your computer didn’t have the right operating system, some programs were out of reach. If you wanted easily portable documents, information at your fingertips and networked first-person shooters with high-end graphics, you had to own a Windows PC.

That’s seldom the case anymore. The ultra-compatible Firefox Web browser, online word processors and portable flash drives have leveled the word processing playing field for users on every platform. Google, Wikipedia and other online resources have expanded research options. Flash video on sites like YouTube are making viewing video as simple and universal as surfing the Web. And the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, new gaming consoles with the power of PCs, are making computer compatibility for games less of an issue.

I’m probably on the extreme end of the spectrum when it comes to disregard for what’s under my computer’s hood. Ninety-five percent of what I do on my home notebook involves Web access, which requires cross-platform browsers and limited media-rendering players. I could be running Windows, Mac OS, Linux or any other OS, as long as it keeps the machine humming fast enough. At this point, I can’t imagine relying on some accounting or graphics program that must run only under Windows; if it’s that dependent on an OS, I have no use for it.

This loops back to my years-long contention that I’d switch from PC to Mac anytime. I still would, but it matters less these days, because again, using Mac OS for mostly Web work doesn’t offer any advantage. It’s no longer a relevant concern. Just so long as it keeps the circuits humming, reliantly and speedily.

So yes, the OS does matter in terms of running things. But no, it doesn’t matter which OS is running things. It’s total computerized agnosticism, with the Internet increasingly at the center.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 02/04/2021 05:05:47 PM
Category: Internet, Tech
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