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A question about Operating Systems

by mech-eng
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mech-eng
#1
Aug12-14, 10:50 AM
P: 185
I have always been wondering that why there is only one commercial operating system which is Microsoft Windows whereas there are a lot of commercial cars, computers, publishers.

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russ_watters
#2
Aug12-14, 11:05 AM
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There are several others (Mac, Unix), but MS is the biggest consumer OS because of natural monopoly power: it is a big hassle to change from MS to Mac (for example), so few people do it.

The analogy to cars is not a good one because all cars are essentially equally compatible with all roads and drivers.
mech-eng
#3
Aug12-14, 12:03 PM
P: 185
I actually want to learn that why other firms do not realise other OSs or in other words how did Microsoft become monopoly power? Why is it a hard thing to do a good Challenger against Windows ? I have asked this question especially for PCs, Mac is not regarded as a PC in spite of it is for a personal usage and Unix are not for trading and I think not easy-to use and as practical as Windows. This question is also current for CPUs because there are only the two, Intel and AMD.

Best Regards.

Vanadium 50
#4
Aug12-14, 12:27 PM
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A question about Operating Systems

There used to be - IBM had several. Digital Research had two. They were all out-competed by Microsoft.
SteamKing
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Aug12-14, 01:28 PM
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You could ask yourself why aren't more new companies founded which build cars or airplanes. After a certain point, the costs of entering a new market for a product and building a company from scratch become prohibitive.

People have chosen to live with the quirks and bugs endemic to MS OSes because the benefits of using the software which is available to run under this OS outweigh the negatives of the flaws of the OS, i.e., people have settled for the devil they know rather than one which is completely unknown.

Also, AMD CPUs are still hanging around because they can execute code developed for Intel CPUs. If they weren't capable of this, AMD would have faded into history, like Motorola and others, who might have had a better chip design than Intel but couldn't run all the software written for Intel CPUs. At one time, even Apple recognized the dominance of the MS-Intel axis, and made the Mac OS capable of reading MS formatted disks and in some cases running Intel code, IIRC.
AlephZero
#6
Aug12-14, 02:46 PM
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Quote Quote by SteamKing View Post
Also, AMD CPUs are still hanging around because they can execute code developed for Intel CPUs. If they weren't capable of this, AMD would have faded into history, like Motorola and others, who might have had a better chip design than Intel but couldn't run all the software written for Intel CPUs.
And it could have gone the other way. The first company to bring out dual-core CPUs, and 64-bit architecture for "mass-market" PCs, was not Intel but AMD. For a while it was Intel who were playing catch-up. Microsoft still calls its 64-bit versions of application software "AMD64", not "Intel64", because the current generation of Intel chips are AMD-compatible, not the other way round.

Actually ARM-designed CPUs are now outselling Intel. (I say ARM-designed, because the ARM doesn't do its own manufacturing). The OP didn't explicitly say the question was about desktop computers. ARM supplies about 60% of the CPUs in mobile devices. They are also powering lots of desktop computers' graphics cards. ARM isn't a new kid on the block either - it has been designing CPU chips since the 1980s.

The main barrier to introducing a new OS is simply the cost of developing applications that can replace what is already available. That barrier didn't apply to mobile phones, so new OS's like Chrome and Android are more widely used than the few phones running Windows. Apple has two different OS's for its desktop and mobile devices, OS-X and IOS.
SteamKing
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Aug12-14, 03:46 PM
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AMD had the good fortune to be the second source of Intel CPUs for IBM when their PC went into production. Because IBM's contract with Intel required that a second source of CPUs be available, Intel licensed their 8088 and subsequent CPU designs to AMD for production, although the two companies later tangled in court when Intel refused to license its 386 CPU to AMD under the original IBM agreement. For better or worse, CPUs capable of executing Intel machine code will be with us for the foreseeable future.

AMD is hoping to branch out into ARM-compatible chips by sampling a product sometime this year. AMD has also hedged its bets by purchasing graphics card maker ATI some years ago, competing against the other graphics heavyweight, nVidia.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Micro_Devices
phinds
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Aug12-14, 04:21 PM
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Quote Quote by AlephZero View Post

The main barrier to introducing a new OS is simply the cost of developing applications that can replace what is already available.
Yep, that's the crux of the matter.
enorbet
#9
Sep1-14, 07:51 AM
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Quote Quote by mech-eng View Post
I actually want to learn that why other firms do not realise other OSs or in other words how did Microsoft become monopoly power? Why is it a hard thing to do a good Challenger against Windows ? I have asked this question especially for PCs, Mac is not regarded as a PC in spite of it is for a personal usage and Unix are not for trading and I think not easy-to use and as practical as Windows. This question is also current for CPUs because there are only the two, Intel and AMD.

Best Regards.
I suggest you research the development of Operating Systems, especially if you are entertained by Soap Operas or War Stories. It is a fascinating saga, sometimes exciting, often disgusting and disturbing, both funny and sad, and always a mirror on the realities of the marketplace.

Technically Macs are now PCs since they use Intel CPUs and dropped the RISC based early OpSys models in favor of OS-X, derived from Unix-like BSD.

I don't understand your comment about not being "easy to use" since "user friendliness" has always been the hallmark of Macs, indeed all Apple products. They literally invented "Plug 'n Play" a full decade before PCs.

As far as "practical" there are many industries and types of users (multimedia creation and editing come to mind) that are dominated by Mac. Since the vast majority of Home Computer users merely email, visit Facebook, watch some movies, surf the web a bit and laugh at cute cat memes, and perhaps play a few games, this is largely a non-issue, as Macs do those things effortlessly. The only bug in the soup these days is Office compatibility (which MS thwarts by changing formats but may soon have to stop) yet OpenOffice and especially LibreOffice are quite viable alternatives.

The biggest problem for Mac is a mistaken hangover of the perception that Macs are overpriced. This came about because Apple originally chose a very closed, nearly embedded type of system that only supported a limited list of top notch hardware (such as enterprise quality SCSI hard drives back when the cheaper IDE hard drives were less functional, more prone to failure, and considerably slower). None of the above are still true.

While they still prefer high quality hardware, having switched to an OpSys with on-demand loadable drivers, Mac has been capable of supporting more different kinds of hardware than Windows does, since 2002.

Recently IBM has invested billions of dollars (yes, you read correctly) in Linux, all but abandoning AIX and it's other Unix systems. At the same time (nobody knows for certain if they are related) RedHat has championed a new init system that is poised for very large scale commercial deployment along the lines of efforts (and supported by and contributed to) by the massive Google. It borrows some concepts from both Mac and Windows but has the flexibility and security of Unix systems. It has many old timer Linux users in an uproar because it is seen as an effort to close up the system, but it has vendors drooling. There are now only a small handfull of distros that haven't switched to systemd.

An early implementation of this, CoreOS, can be found here. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CoreOS. While the wiki speaks mostly about vast enterprise application, note that it grew out of ChromeOS which it and Android are basically forms of Linux leaning toward this new, albeit somewhat closed, model.

The Soap Opera may yet continue.
mal4mac
#10
Sep1-14, 08:08 AM
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Quote Quote by enorbet View Post
I suggest you research the development of Operating Systems, especially if you are entertained by Soap Operas or War Stories. It is a fascinating saga, sometimes exciting, often disgusting and disturbing, both funny and sad, and always a mirror on the realities of the marketplace.
Start with a biography of Bill Gates!
enorbet
#11
Sep1-14, 09:02 AM
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Quote Quote by mal4mac View Post
Start with a biography of Bill Gates!
Yes! He essentially majored in Poker while at Harvard and it has served him well indeed.
russ_watters
#12
Sep1-14, 10:32 AM
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I think this is what you need: http://www.pbs.org/nerds/

Not sure if the video is available anywhere, but they do have the transcript there.
mech-eng
#13
Sep2-14, 03:50 AM
P: 185
I have learned that Google have maked an O.S for PCs called Chrome O.S and China will make a national one for PCs. Do you have any idea on Google's O.S. Will it be stable and free?
harborsparrow
#14
Sep15-14, 04:06 PM
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Incidentally, there is not just one Windows operating system. There are dozens of different kinds of Windows operating systems being sold at any one time. This made it so difficult for people programming on Windows that Microsoft had to develop .NET, a virtual machine, to make all the different Windows operating systems act mostly alike no matter which operating system one is coding for.
vociferous
#15
Y, 08:34 PM
P: 301
Microsoft got in heavy with business when IBM chose Microsoft to write the OS for its first PC in the early 80's.

Apple expanded heavily in primary and secondary education with its simplistic Apple DOS software and its easy to learn Apple Macintosh OS.

Microsoft came to dominate the desktop, in my opinion, for the following reasons.

1) Businesses are the biggest purchasers of hardware and IBM was a trusted brand whereas Apple's, along with all non-IBM PC's were largely considered to be toys for hobbyists.

2) The people who made the purchasing decisions in the 1980's for the family were usually the man, the same man who often used IBM PC's at work, not the kids or the homemaker who may have gravitated more towards an OS like Mac.

3) The IBM PC was quickly clones and Microsoft was quick to support the clone market, which could offer advantages like bargain basement prices and were generally open, whereas competitors were generally closed. For the most part, Apple clones were never successful so you were locked into the Apple ecosystem where there was no competition.

4) Microsoft was very good at using its money and influence to dominate the market and run competitors out of business. By the mid 1990's, pretty much every competing OS (Amiga, Atari, et cetera) were dead and Apple was moribund and close to being sold.

5) So much money has been put behind developing Windows that only a handful of companies could really afford to compete against Microsoft and it would be very difficult. Apple has rebounded and made some headway, but they position themselves as a luxury item on the desktop, which leaves Microsoft free to capture the vast majority of the low and mid-cost arena. Now, if Apple started making a $399 Macbook, it might give MS a run for its money.
rcgldr
#16
Y, 10:11 PM
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Quote Quote by enorbet View Post
I don't understand your comment about not being "easy to use" since "user friendliness" has always been the hallmark of Macs, indeed all Apple products. They literally invented "Plug 'n Play" a full decade before PCs.
Not quite plug and play. Early MAC's had no DMA functionality for it's I/O, relying on an initial polled read or write to transfer the first byte of data, followed by 511 "blind" reads or writes with a hardware handshake and timeout if the device took too long. Aftermarket SCSI adapters were made with actual DMA which required their own drivers. PC's have had DMA since the very first PC and some ealier still CP/M systems.

The often promised "the next Mac OS" will be pre-emptive multi-tasking for version 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, never happened until OSX, with the desktop version released in 2001, while Microsoft released Windows NT 3.5.1 in 1995 followed by NT 4.0 in 1996, Windows 2000 in 2000, Windows XP in 2001, ... .

Quote Quote by enorbet View Post
The biggest problem for Mac is a mistaken hangover of the perception that Macs are overpriced. This came about because Apple originally chose a very closed, nearly embedded type of system that only supported a limited list of top notch hardware (such as enterprise quality SCSI hard drives back when the cheaper IDE hard drives were less functional, more prone to failure, and considerably slower). None of the above are still true.
In the 1980's MAC's were overpriced compared to similar PC's, and Apples decision in late 1989 to raise prices across the board on all MACs, epecially the ones with color, combined with the gaining popularity of 386 PC clones with Windows 3.0 (1989) and later Windows 3.1x (1992), corresponded to the 1990's era with MAC's market share going from a bit over 10% down to around 2%. Since 2000 and later, the pricing differential has gone down, and MAC PC market share is back above 10% again.

Quote Quote by vociferous View Post
Microsoft got in heavy with business when IBM chose Microsoft to write the OS for its first PC in the early 80's.
Microsoft soft sold PCDOS to IBM for a one time price, but reserved the right to sell MSDOS for PC compatibles. Microsoft made it's initial fortune by selling MSDOS for all the PC clones that later appeared.

Although the various versions of Windows have dominated the PC market place, other devices such as smart phones have been dominated by other operating systems, Android, Blackberry, IOS, Windows, ... . IBM's current mainframe operating systems is z/OS (first released 2001), a 64 bit operating system that also includes the equivalent of virtual machines that can run UNIX, Linux, older IBM operating systems, in 64 bit, 32 bit or 24 bit legacy modes.


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