Freedombone Blog

Freedom in the Cloud

No Golden Era

An amusing blog post about the terrible condition of contemporary software. Admittedly there is a lot of badness and many challenges. But there never was a golden era.

They talk about how small Windows 95 was, implying that was some time in which Great Engineers performed Great Deeds. Being old enough, I could do a similar rant, but from the perspective of 1995. It would go something like:

Windows 95 is 30M!!! That's a ridiculous number of floppies. I have to schlep this tower of Pisa of floppies around to get the thing installed on different desktops. What were Microsoft thinking? Amiga Workbench was a single floppy. ONE. Uno. Ten years ago the BBC Micro booted in two seconds. Flip the power button, beep, command prompt. And all before you can sip your coffee. If you had a Viewsheet ROM you were productive within 5 seconds. Windows 95 is like 60 seconds or more. Sometimes a lot more. What is it even doing with that time? I don't need fancy true type fonts. It's just superfluous fluff. And this OLE thing is a total disaster and never seems to work as expected. It's a cludge on top of a cludge.

If you could go back further in time to the beginning of Unix then you'd also find Thompson and Ritchie running out of disk space and clumsily moving their operating system files into the home directory on another disk. If you could ask them they'd probably explain that this was a terrible hack and that they would get around to fixing it later. 40+ years later the hack is still there.

So no matter what computing era you are in there are always problems, it's just the particular type of problems which change. From some people's perspective there was always a golden era ten or more years ago, but really that's just cherry picking, or remembering the good points but forgetting about the bad ones. The main thing is to just keep plugging away at fixing the broken things. Hopefully some day Electron apps will be a thing of the past, and language package managers will either no longer break horribly or be replaced by something more reliable.