Home > Blogs > It's Here; Put Away Your Pre-Conceptions on What an OS Must Be: Part I

Traenk relates his past experience with Operating Systems that goes back 25 years, ok, more than that but he ain't tellin'

It was a summer program for disadvantaged youth, and I was everything that term entails.  Father dead at 12, I was one of nine kids doing the struggle thing to make it, make it in a world whose manufacturing and assembly jobs were in rapid decline. 

I was in great company.  None of my friends and I were skilled at much beyond playing the dozens, and yes, by that I mean the dirty dozens.  At this time, please take out your Ofay Dictionaries and look that term up.

It was an ancient time of massive hardware that filled rooms, front-ended by loud and large, big-mouthed terminals that were our spiritual brothers as we got chills playing Star Trek, ST in character graphics mode, one loudly typed screen at a time.  We kept it real then, saving our paper tapes to relive our glorious battles against multi-character Klingons that stinkin' threatened our computers, thereby enabling wild shots in the dark against a then faceless foe.  How much energy to expend on phasers?  Who knew?  It was long ago, when we were celebrating time leading to two hundred years of independence. 

It was a loud, slow, and somewhat angry Operating System experience, one that pitted us against commerce and its grey and boring batching, as surely as we were pitted against those aliens and our struggle to keep enough energy to finish the game.  It was 1970's operating system clunks, as useful as a calculator that might fill a room.  Bah!

But it was here I began programming by first seen by first seeing the art behind the artifice, spilling out line after line of programs and their BASIC lines that promised more, so much more.  It's no surprise to me that Microsoft was founded on something as elemental as BASIC.  By comparison, COBOL was as cool as driving a short school bus to high school.

This was my first experience with Operating Systems, one with promise but mostly with frustrating delay and prioritization to the mundane.


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