Windows, Mac, Linux, ...?

This anagram was inspired by never-dying 'PC v. Mac' discussions and the like, The left-hand side consists of the lyrics, including spoken intro, to 'Every OS Sucks', by Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie (see The right-hand side has the same general theme, as you will see.

All of the material on the right-hand side is factual, to the best of my knowledge, and quoted material is exact.

You see, I come from a time in the nineteen-hundred-and-seventies when computers were used for two things - to either go to the moon or play Pong... nothing in between. Y'see, you didn't need a fancy operating system to play Pong, and the men who went to the moon - God bless 'em - did it with no mouse, and a plain text-only black-and-white screen, and 32 kilobytes of RAM.

But then 'round about the late '70s, home computers started to do a little more than play Pong... very little more. Like computers started to play non-Pong-like games, and balance checkbooks. Why, you could play Zaxxon on your Apple II, or write a book! All with a computer that had 32 kilobytes of RAM! It was good enough to go to the moon, it was good enough for you.

It was a golden time. A time before Windows, a time before mouses, a time before the Internet and bloatware, and a time before... every OS sucked.

   Well, way back in the olden times,
   my computer worked for me.
   I'd laugh and play, all night and day,
   on Zork I, II, and III.
     The Amiga, VIC-20, and the Sinclair too,
   the TRS-80 and the Apple II,
   they did what they were supposed to do -
   wasn't much, but it was enough.
     But then Xerox made a prototype,
   Steve Jobs came on the scene,
   read 'Of Mice and Menus', windows, icons,
   a trash, and a bitmap screen.
     Well, Stevie said to Xerox:
   'Boys, turn your heads and cough.'
   And when no-one was looking
   he ripped their interfaces off.
     Stole every feature that he had seen,
   put it in a cute box with a tiny little screen.
   Mac OS 1 ran that machine -
   only cost five thousand bucks.
     But it was slow, it was buggy,
   so they wrote it again,
   and now they're up to OS 10.
   They'll charge you for the Beta, then charge you again,
   but the Mac OS still sucks.

   Every OS wastes your time,
   from the desktop to the lap.
   Everything since Apple DOS:
   just a bunch of crap.
   From Microsoft to Macintosh
   to Lin-- Line-- Lin-- Lie... nux,
   every computer crashes,
   'cause every OS sucks.
   Well, then Microsoft jumped in the game,
   copied Apple's interface, with an OS named
   Windows 3.1 - it was twice as lame,
   but the stock price rose and rose.
     Then Windows 95, then 98 -
   man, Solitaire never ran so great -
   and every single version came out late,
   but I guess that's the way it goes.
     But that bloatware'll crash and delete your work.
   NT, ME, man, none of 'em work.
   Bill Gates may be richer than Captain Kirk,
   but the Windows OS blows!   
   And sucks!
   At the same time!
       I'd trade it in. Yeah right... for what?
     It's top of the line from the Compuhut.
     The fridge, stove, and toaster never crash on me,
     I should be able to get online without a PhD.
       My phone doesn't take a week to boot it.
     My TV doesn't crash when I mute it.
     I miss ASCII text and my floppy drive.
     I wish VIC-20 was still alive...
       But it ain't the hardware, man.
     It's just that every OS sucks... and blows.

   Now there's Lih-nux or Lie-nux,
   I don't know how you say it
   or how you install it, or use it, or play it,
   or where you download it, or what programs run,
   but Lih-nux, or Lie-nux, don't look like much fun.
     However you say it, it's getting great press,
   though how it survives is anyone's guess.
   If you ask me, it's a great big mess,
   for elitist, nerdy shmucks.
     'It's free!' they say, if you can get it to run;
   the Geeks say: 'Hey, that's half the fun!'
   Yeah, but I got a girlfriend and things to get done.
   The Linux OS sucks.
   (I'm sorry to say it, but it does.)
   Every OS wastes your time,
   from the desktop to the lap.
   Everything since the abacus:
   just a bunch of crap.
   From Microsoft to Macintosh
   to Lin-- Line-- Lin-- Lie... nux,
   every computer crashes,
   'cause every OS sucks.
   Every computer crashes... 'cause every OS sucks!


JOHNNIAC was born in the early Fifties. About a decade later, it began to 'talk' to the programmers, via a noisy electric typewriter. If they were making what it 'knew' to be obvious goofs, it output a haughty 'EH?', which would torment many frazzled in-house coders.

A very obvious solution arose: numbers that you can look up in books (like a Great Wall of thirty thousand IBM manuals...). Among these I might cite Amiga Guru Meditations or DOS Exception error 12.
    With a carefully numbered ID, you get to solve things with ease... Take the OS 7.5 to 9 'Type 2 error': the application terminated unexpectedly 'because an error of type 2 occurred'. About that, say

Attempt to remedy a conflict by changing the loading order of a given extension or control panel by locating the file in the System Folder and adding a space or spaces to the front of the file's name.

Sorry, that's just shit.

Apple were aware they had annoyed many (ex-)users with the numbers. (And the early OS versions had a 20-minute wait to copy a disk, and they would not allow you to create a new folder - thus, anybody needing one had to rename 'Empty Folder', which was at the root level of each Mac-formatted disk...). So they said 'We want to look friendly, simple, elegant. Thus, we ought to abandon the yucky digits. Hey, I know: why not take a smiley mouth into use? When the box is not booting okay, show a sad dude.' But not just a happy face - bundled with it was a now-well-known ominous bomb image.

In favour of simple language, they also gave the user

  |  You cannot move Whatever .txt to the    |
  |  "Trash", because it cannot be found.    |
The user may blame himself or may worry 'Do I look like an idiot?', but wait... These guys don't know how to use their own products. Thus, when downloading via Apple sites, you may get this:
     Username anonymous unknown 

It isn't just Apple with wacky-message-itis. Every so often, a DEC RSTS/E user got 'Unused error message'. The DEC RT11 linker said 'ILLEGAL ERROR'. Other OSes try to be humorous. Kernel panics were too boring; thus, Sixth Edition UNIX hackers put in this 'Easter egg' that kicked in when a user was trying to move a file:
      Values of [beta] will give rise to dom!
- see . (Today, the Linux version is Tux the penguin hiding everywhere.)

UNIX may see conditions that its cocky authors knew may never crop up, as in SunOS 3.0:

     panic ("Shannon and Bill say this can't happen"); 
Such things have been a very common habit with other, not-UNIX OSes too; a relatively benign example was seen at General Motors back in the mid-Seventies - following much work with their MULTICS system, it printed out 'Hodie natus est radici frater', indication by Bernie Greenberg of the 'impossible' event of the OS deciding the filesystem had two roots. And you may already know about this text output by XENIX 3.0: 'Shut her down Scotty, she's sucking mud again!'

Ah, but who wins? I won't hesitate with my pick. I say it's MS who come out on top, worst without doubt. Take such ammo as

   |  Cannot delete tmp088_90.tmp: There is not enough free |
   |  disk space. Delete one or more files to free disk     |
   |  space, and then try again.                            |
       |  Out of system resources   |
       |                            |
       |      Yes  No  Cancel       |
Last, I mustn't omit that most venerable
 | The POP3 server service depends on the SMTP server service  |
 | which failed to start because of the following error:       |
 | The operation completed successfully                        |
or just
  |                                        |
  |  The operation completed successfully. |
  |                                  OK    |
(Yes, I'm sure that it's in Vista today, too.)

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