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darrelljon

Windows 9x alternatives

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First off, I'd like to say I've used Windows since 3.11 (in school) and 95 at home. I appreciate the speed and general responsiveness of Windows 9x as they are features I value in operating systems. Installed XP a few times, added lots of software and reinstalled XP again a few times. I discovered Linux a few years ago and Puppy Linux is one of my favourite distros.

Its system requirements are roughly equivalent to Win Me, Barebones Puppy versions might even compete with Win 98. In terms of features, it really outshines 9x. For modern machines, 9x needs tweaking to handle RAM between 512Mb to 1.5Gb and above, but Puppy has no such upper limit (except 64Gb on 32-bit CPU). Mainly because of FAT32, 9x lacks HDD stability between 64Gb and stops at 137Gb, again Puppy has no upper limit. Puppy can run live (think BartPE) which is both wonderfully convenient and beefs up already good security against malware. These same advantages of Linux apply to Darn Small Linux (profanity filtered out the proper name) and SliTaz. Puppy Linux wifi support ain't bad either.

In terms of applications out of the box, Puppy can open and create OOXML, ODF, DOC, XLS, PDF, ZIP, RAR and 7Z - whereas 9x can only open DOC (Wordpad) and ZIP (in Me). A tabbed web browser, photo manager, torrent client, instant messenger, optical disc authoring/burning software are all applications that Puppy includes and 9x doesn't.

I see posts on here calling for Win 9x to be open-sourced, and even to build a totally open source Win9x. Well, Puppy Linux is open source and completely free now, so why struggle developing to sustain 9x? Or why struggle as a user to keep applying fixes to 9x?

Edited by darrelljon

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I discovered Linux a few years ago and Puppy Linux is one of my favourite distros.

Same here. Though it's not as good anymore, IMO. With Puppy 2.17 they added eye candy, and it started going slow after extended use.

Mainly because of FAT32, 9x lacks HDD stability between 64Gb and stops at 137Gb, again Puppy has no upper limit.

This is because of an OS limit. FAT32's limit is much higher.

Well, Puppy Linux is open source and completely free now, so why struggle developing to sustain 9x?

Because Puppy Linux is not Windows 9x. It's that simple.

GNU/Linux in general is not a good alternative to me, because it's a collection of programs instead of an actual operating system. This makes for a lot of flexibility, but the performance isn't as good. Also, it's more oriented at people who have a lot of time to look up commands and read manuals. Because if you have a problem, that's what you'll need to do.

Personally, I'm looking to Haiku as a good alternative. I got a nightly on a partition, and it's pretty good, even though it's still in alpha (and no drivers for my hardware, but there is great VESA support).

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I use too many Windows applications to migrate to linux and look for the corresponding softwares (re-learn how to use them and so on).

I also use and create tons of VBScript everyday and VBS doesn't exist on Linux. There ae other scripting languages on Linux but all are much more difficult to learn. I have no time learning them.

TBS, I don't exclude switching to Linux one day. Never say never...

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Some interesting answers. I understand Visual Basic runs in WINE but don't know how much of a performance hit it takes. I remember it being bundled with a Puppy derivative called RudyPuppy (might be worth a look). I don't know about Linux being a collection of programs rather than an operating system. I stand corrected about FAT32 limitations - it seems this only applies in certain systems. I think I heard something about FAT32 fragmenting beyond certain capacities, is this an issue? I can appreciate complaints about performance since Puppy 2.17, but why not use earlier Puppies? They're still mostly newer than 9x with more features. As for the necessity of commands and manuals, I'm not sure this applies much more with modern GUI Linuxes (particularly Puppy's level of ease of use) than all the modding which seems to be done to Win 9x here. In fact a new derivative has recently been released called Pupeez designed specifically for ease-of-use.

Edited by darrelljon

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I think Linux has come a long way since i first used it five years ago, but i can't see replacing

my 98 or xp on my computers at this time, however fedora 9 & ubuntu 8.04 might be coming real close.

:sneaky:

Edited by heh heh

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Okay here is my other problem with Linux as my full time operating system, where is ubuntu 6.06?

mandrake 9.1? red hat 9? suse 9.2? and so on and on. With Linux, it is always move on, constant

upgrade.Live cd use ? yes spare computer, maybe. For many of us, Linux seems like a play toy :realmad:

even RED HAT said lately that Linux on the desktop is TOO Hard. :angry: Now don"t get me wrong

i think Linux should and will keep going and evolving, it is good for us who like computers.

Edited by heh heh

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Mandrake, Red Hat and SuSE have traditionally been commercial systems but a few old isos are at LinuxQuestions.org and old boxed versions are still available at Amazon. As Ubuntu is traditionally free, old versions like Ubuntu 6 are still available from the Ubuntu website and mirrors. As for Linux being "always move on", constant upgrade, I think this doesn't always affect system requirements and in any case applies more to Microsoft Windows.

Red Hat didn't claim the Linux desktop is too hard to use, only that it is too hard for them to make a profit from.

Edited by darrelljon

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I'd say the biggest reason I won't switch is because my hardware is so incredibly old nobody would ever bother writting drivers for it ;*) I'd be stuck with some annoying VGA screen with at most 256 colors.

One thing Microsoft doesn't bet enough credit for is that they at least attempt to keep programs running across different versions of windows, even when they were coded badly. Most people would say have a registry filled with crazy fixes for old and never to be used again software (turbotax95 comes to mind) in XP is just silly. However, that's one fewer bug reports they get from that one guy out in Boofoo who still uses it for some incredible reason or another.

A major oversight of all current developers is the notion that all users have direct internet access. Another is that they have a fast enough connection that a few dozen MBs is a 'short' download. If you've ever been on the receiving end of that, you know how blasted annoying it can be.

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I'd say the biggest reason I won't switch is because my hardware is so incredibly old nobody would ever bother writting drivers for it ;*)

You'd be surprised. :)

One thing Microsoft doesn't bet enough credit for is that they at least attempt to keep programs running across different versions of windows, even when they were coded badly. Most people would say have a registry filled with crazy fixes for old and never to be used again software (turbotax95 comes to mind) in XP is just silly. However, that's one fewer bug reports they get from that one guy out in Boofoo who still uses it for some incredible reason or another.

On its own it's a good thing, but when you look at the bigger picture, it's not. The reason they have to maintain compatibility in the first place is because every few years they push a new Windows release and end-of-life the previous one in a couple years.

So you end up with people buying brand new Windows XP boxes to run some old Windows 95 program. It's silly.

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I see posts on here calling for Win 9x to be open-sourced, and even to build a totally open source Win9x. Well, Puppy Linux is open source and completely free now, so why struggle developing to sustain 9x? Or why struggle as a user to keep applying fixes to 9x?

Hi, darrelljon, I seem to keep bumping into you, either on Yahoo! Answers or the Linux wiki on Wikia. We must frequent the same circles a lot.

I think the reasons for people using Windows 95/98/ME are as varied as Linux distributions. I might as well ask you why you use Puppy Linux and not something fancier, like Kubuntu. Is it because you like that instant snappiness of running a "light" desktop environment on modern hardware? That's why some try to run 9x on modern hardware. Do you have an older computer that can't handle a more featurful distro? Many people with 9x can't afford new computers. I know I couldn't, when I used 9x regularly (about a year and a half ago). My computer didn't have a CD burner; I had to use dialup to access the internet, my computer had a whopping 32 MB of RAM, etc... Linux was a completely alien concept to me then. Sure, it's easy now to download a new distribution, burn it to a CD, and boot it, when you've got a broadband connection, a fast (enough) computer, and a CD burner. Luxuries to me just a couple of years ago. Don't you find it ironic that the people who "need" Linux most are those unable to obtain it? Linux is an attractive option, ironically, when you are rich. Not when you use dialup (and a Winmodem at that).

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Kernel-wise and driver-wise Linux is great, perfect even. But calling hardware compatibility "features" is just silly. "Features" are the things that go in the foreground, the things that effect usage, not the things that go in the background. Stability and hardware compatibility range from "convenience" to "expected", but do not qualify as "features".

To me, the "features" of Win98 are:

1. System files contained in no more than 2 folders("C:\Windows", "C:\Program Files", though I wouldn't mind taking it down to just 1).

2. Root folder is otherwise free for my use(e.g. "C:\Docs" or "C:\Apps" instead of "/use/local/home/accessible_folder/computername/username/somerandomserialnumber/~usernameagain/~homefolder"). I can even have a "C:\random_stuff.txt" without issues.

3. No built-in users system, except for SMB usage. I'm one guy, and this is my personal computer, I don't need a 3-user minimum on this thing, and I don't need nor want to set ownership and permissions on each individual file.

4. Built-in mandatory real-mode command line, for all of my fall-back needs. It's the perfect dual boot I don't need to install, nor configure. Linux can't even open a text console without first loading all drivers.

5. Runs Windows programs. (With no more than a click. Or double-click, depending on configuration)

6. Runs Windows games.

7. Runs Dos games(although with the advents of DosBox this is somewhat less of an issue).

If there was a Linux distro or some other OS that provided all(or at least most) of that, I would go for it right away. But currently, Linux is better suited for dedicated servers, or generic toy-boxes, than to act as my main OS.

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To me, the "features" of Win98 are:

1. System files contained in no more than 2 folders("C:\Windows", "C:\Program Files", though I wouldn't mind taking it down to just 1).

2. Root folder is otherwise free for my use(e.g. "C:\Docs" or "C:\Apps" instead of "/use/local/home/accessible_folder/computername/username/somerandomserialnumber/~usernameagain/~homefolder"). I can even have a "C:\random_stuff.txt" without issues.

3. No built-in users system, except for SMB usage. I'm one guy, and this is my personal computer, I don't need a 3-user minimum on this thing, and I don't need nor want to set ownership and permissions on each individual file.

4. Built-in mandatory real-mode command line, for all of my fall-back needs. It's the perfect dual boot I don't need to install, nor configure. Linux can't even open a text console without first loading all drivers.

5. Runs Windows programs. (With no more than a click. Or double-click, depending on configuration)

6. Runs Windows games.

7. Runs Dos games(although with the advents of DosBox this is somewhat less of an issue).

If there was a Linux distro or some other OS that provided all(or at least most) of that, I would go for it right away. But currently, Linux is better suited for dedicated servers, or generic toy-boxes, than to act as my main OS.

I tested Kubuntu recently and I have to say I'm in the exact same spirit as you. It's stable, eye-candy, it includes nice programs... I even consider having a triple boot.

However, switching to linux is out of question.

Linux lacks freedom. Partitions, files access... Everything is hidden from the user and requires password.

I feel like beeing in a box : it's your PC but you need permission from the root... even when you ARE the root.

Moreover, Linux is not Windows and will never be. On the other hand, Win9x is a Windows OS, thus providing most compatibility with most software and games.

IMHO, there is no 9x alternative. There are lots of good OSes but none is a 9x clone that will let us do the exact same things we do now. And that's why we should fight to keep 9x alive for many more years.

Just my 2 cents! ;)

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DOSBox is quite slow compared to the real thing, so I wouldn't say DOSBox makes it less of an issue.

DOSBox may be 2-5 times slower than the real thing, but most programs/games written for DOS targeted CPUs 10 times slower than the cheapest thing you can find today. Sure, that doesn't apply to the computer you dug up in the attic, but then you're most likely to put Linux on that computer and use it as a router or something, not use it as a gaming platform. Or you could just install regular DOS on it and do away with the modern OS need altogether.

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To me, the "features" of Win98 are:

1. System files contained in no more than 2 folders("C:\Windows", "C:\Program Files", though I wouldn't mind taking it down to just 1).

The average person doesn't need to actually look in "C:\Windows", just for their Paint to work. C:\Program Files is further divided into folders for each individual folder, plus often some other ones for the program itself (C:\Program Files\StupidRPG\Maps\World 1). In Linux, all user executables are placed into one folder, with rare exceptions. /usr/bin. Libraries used for user programs are put into /usr/lib. Some programs do divide that up further, like Firefox, for instance. The kernel and ramdisk are put in /boot. The "system" programs are put in /bin.

So let's compare:

C:\ /boot

C:\Windows /bin

C:\Windows\System32 /lib

C:\Program Files\StupidRPG /usr/bin

C:\Program Files\StupidRPG\Maps\World1\1.map /usr/lib/StupidRPG/Maps/World1/1.map

So, with the possible exception of where the user program stores it's stuff, how is Windows arranged any better than Linux? To me, it actually looks like far fewer clicks to get to the same stuff. And it would be a lot easier switching between them on your beloved command line.

2. Root folder is otherwise free for my use(e.g. "C:\Docs" or "C:\Apps" instead of "/use/local/home/accessible_folder/computername/username/somerandomserialnumber/~usernameagain/~homefolder"). I can even have a "C:\random_stuff.txt" without issues.

I can't see what difference this actually makes. If it means that much to you, put your /home/username on a seperate partition. Think of one partition as "C:\Windows" and your /home/username as "C:\", if it bothers you that much. Also, "your" stuff is at /home/username. Not hard to remember at all.

3. No built-in users system, except for SMB usage. I'm one guy, and this is my personal computer, I don't need a 3-user minimum on this thing, and I don't need nor want to set ownership and permissions on each individual file.

I have one "user" on my computer. Me. I can assume the rights of a superuser at will. All other "accounts" are nothing more than daemons that have far fewer rights than I do.

4. Built-in mandatory real-mode command line, for all of my fall-back needs. It's the perfect dual boot I don't need to install, nor configure. Linux can't even open a text console without first loading all drivers.

What the hell are you talking about? Linux can start up just fine, without ever loading "X."

5. Runs Windows programs. (With no more than a click. Or double-click, depending on configuration)

That's exactly what Wine allows you to do.

6. Runs Windows games.

See above

7. Runs Dos games(although with the advents of DosBox this is somewhat less of an issue).

And DOSEmu, and BHole, and ...

If there was a Linux distro or some other OS that provided all(or at least most) of that, I would go for it right away. But currently, Linux is better suited for dedicated servers, or generic toy-boxes, than to act as my main OS.

A lot of distros do come with Wine, or make it easily available. Same with DOSEmu. I highly dispute the idea that Linux is a "toy" because it can't run Windows programs out-of-the-box, even though there are plenty of equal or better software for Linux. And for what reason do you need DOS compatibility, other than games?

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