Religion of the Computer Age

Written by T$

In the past people used to crush their heads with others' heads containing other religious believes. Nowadays the newspapers are filled with headlines telling us that the number of church dropouts has increased again. They complain about society loosing its beliefs. But most people need something to sacrifice. It can be soccer, music or ... the computer of others. In the 80s, the Amiga users were battling Atari freaks and later the x86 PC addicts. Today the PC won, Amiga is fading and Atari dead. New hate-objects were needed. The main battlefields are linked with a certain person: Bill Gates, the benefactor of mankind (as he sees himself), or the #1 scum of the world (as all others do).

The first conflict rages between the most installed (because it is often completely broken) OS Windows and the self-defined rival Linux.

Let's take a look at Linux first: If you are setting up an average network server or a special kind of client you must be mad for not using it. It is really easy to use (if you are familiar with text-oriented config), fast, reliable and for free! (BTW: If I get the docs of my SFX card, I'll write a driver for it.)

But considering its multimedia capabilities it reminds me of the DOS of the year 1993. And if more and more proggies for Linux require setuid root or special patches the stability may decrease.

With Windows it is the other way round.

It looks like they are having talented programmmers, but sometimes when seeing those strange bugs I think that they are below the room-cleaners in the corporate's hierarchy. But it offers more for most developers: Have you seen the game "Rent-a-hero"?

I will not talk about its content, but about the way it is realized (you know something has happened with you when you watch a game and think, "Hmm... the objects are moving slower if the scenery gets more complex. That looks like they are using a frame-rate limiter instead of calculating the frames according to the time," while the others say, "Coooooool graphics", or when they say, "Coool xplosions," you only think of how simple this single texture is):

The game consists mainly of bitmaps and videos played somewhere over the bitmaps. For showing them, services of the OS (DXMedia) are used. That means that the game does not contain any of its own video rendering code etc. It concentrates on the rest.

Now we can hear people scream: "LAME, SUXX, death of coding,..." I think it is an advantage which should be used. We do not need a bunch of average music and video engines combined within an average production. The wheels do not need to be reinvented thousands of times, we need someone who uses the wheels for creating something out of it! Doing so we can use all the hardware special capabilities and can concentrate on REAL new stuff instead of wasting time with less powerful, buggy modplayers, etc.

For most demos the question is irrelevant: They use a standard sound system and the LFB of the GFX card. The rest is done in software. This can be done on all systems, so why bother about Lin/Win/DosDPMI only? Just a small layer is suitable enough for OS abstraction.

The rivalry may be positive: Concurrence means progress. Unless it does not happen like with Netscape Navigator and MSIE.

Up to version 2, IE was only worth a laugh. Version 3 started becoming a danger for Navigator. The result was that both browsers became a fat pack of useless bytes in version #4, crashing a lot and filled with functions one does not need at all. Now IE 5 is out and while developing my homepage I realized it is a lot better and more flexible than NsNav 4.5, CSS and JS support is a lot better. Rumour has it that the upcoming Nav 5 will have the best CSS/HTML renderer ever. Something which is really needed instead of damn plugins for GameO'LameOs and screensaver junkies.

The only reason for this marvellous browser overkill is $$$$$$ (what else). MS wants to get a large amount of presence on the net. They fear people can get the same on other OSses, without Windows. And Netscape wants to direct as many people to their homepage as possible. You are given a browser for free but they try to get your cash through the back door.

The only browser concentrating on the users' needs I've seen is Opera. Not only that it has many useful features (pics can be switched on and off instantly, lots of different magnifications), it has also the best CSS support yet and is available on several OSses. Unfortunately, it is not for free (but are the others?).

Maybe some day webdesigners will realize how childish their "This page can only be viewed with XXX 4.x or better"-pages are.

Considering OSses, I like BeOS best. It combines a UNIX-like core with a Windows-like shell and services similar to the ones MS tries to implement into Windows now.

However, it is still like a construction with only a few bricks already put into their place. It is not the real alternative yet.

Don't waste your time with battling for a OS. You won't be more than the footman of the marketing leaders. Create something really great - for whatever OS (or better several ones).


Important extremely secret message:

<satire on>

Have you ever wondered why the term is used that often today ? The answer is that it is a secret code. It does not really mean "big grin". In fact, it means that the writer likes Bill Gates (B.G.).

But it is even more difficult: If it is used twice, it means "Bill Gates = Bad Guy", which is completely the opposite.

If it is used 3 times, the writer wants to express: "Bill Gates, a Bad Guy with Boring Glasses"

<satire off>