Wednesday, July 27th, 2011 at 11:06am

Happy 30th birthday, MS-DOS!

Posted by Jordan Erickson

DOSToday is the 30th birthday of MS-DOS.

Personally, DOS (not specifically MS-DOS, but various flavors including DR-DOS as well) was the beginning of my true computing obsession in 1992. Sound geeky? Yeah, I guess it does. Typing in commands to produce output on an 80×25 monochrome screen was something that enchanted me. To be able to organize my files how  I wanted, to be able to tweak my computer to do the things I needed it to do, and at the same time, play video games? What more could a socially awkward 12 year old want? I had total control over how my computer operated, and I loved it.

Alas, as Windows ’95 became dominant, I had no real choice but to switch over or become lost in the technological graveyard. I made the switch, and from the get-go it was a bad relationship. “What are all of these files doing in my root directory?” I asked… It seemed as though Microsoft had all but abandoned the idea of a clean, organized filesystem. There were now random system files scattered all around, including at the root. I did not like this. I also didn’t like how Windows was starting to hide certain underlying functions from the user. I felt like I was losing control of my computer.

Today, for personal and business use, I almost exclusively use Linux (save the couple of Windows-only applications that are required to support my business and clients). What I really like about Linux (and always have) is that it doesn’t get in your way. Quite the opposite; it stands so far back, you might wish it was a bit more intuitive. But, as I realize in these times of distress and confusion, and as just yesterday I read, very eloquently put by a commenter of someone complaining that the Linux init.d system isn’t drop-dead easy to add startup scripts (according to them anyway), Linux “might be a bit less than intuitive at times, but that’s how it keeps the riff-raff out.” I couldn’t agree more. If the GNU/Linux programmers that have worked so hard to create such a stable, reliable and efficient operating system bent over for everyone who complained that it wasn’t “easy enough”, it would just be another mess. As I read once a long time ago, by yet another commenter/Linux advocate, “Linux *is* user friendly. It is just picky on who its friends are.”

Happy birthday MS-DOS, I still feel nostalgic when I think about the good old days! =)

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