When I started working at the DOT OMR [ 1 ] I don't know what this means. , all of the computers had Windows 3.1 networked with DEC Pathworks. This configuration was a real mess and a headache to deal with. Each computer had a large real mode networking client, CD-ROM drivers, real mode mouse drivers, and often there was oddball ROM in the UMB area. With all of this, there was often not enough real mode memory left to start Windows! It was a real challenge to optimize UMB and even HMA areas to get enough of that 640k free to make Windows happy. And even then Windows drivers and application programs would require significant amounts of real mode memory to run. I used a special program to view the 640k area while Windows was running and the average computer only had only 60k free. That was enough to load two or three of the larger Windows programs at once. Assuming you didn't run out of GDI or USER resources first.
Annoyingly, our central support people prohibited any other configuration. There were a number of IBM computers that had originally been pre-loaded with IBM OS/2, but had been wiped out and loaded with Windoze 3.1 (and without the proper video or audio drivers I might add!) They would not even allow Windows for Workgroups with it's native networking support! (They bitched and whined when I installed it anyway.)
Finally we got several computers with Windows 95 pre-installed. I used this as an excuse to begin the process of ditching Windows 3.1. While Windows 95 is still a technically inferior operating system for a technically inferior hardware platform it solved many of the problems we had. I wasn't praising Bill Gates, but I was rooting for Windows 95. What did it solve? We could actually run several programs at once without having to worry if we were using up all of the system resources. It gave us a USABLE (albeit not perfect) user interface, protected mode network support, and eliminated the need for most DOS drivers all together. Another important feature was peer-to-peer networking that let us share files among one another easily. Previously the only "server" we could talk to had been the old, slow VAX mainframe that was always on the blink. (WFWG [ 2 ] Windows for Workgroups wasn't very good for that because we had no DECNET protocol for it.) Most importantly, it ran our existing DOS and Windows 3.1 applications almost flawlessly.
As I had previously prided myself on creating stable Windows 3.1 installations, I took pride in installing clean, stable Windows 95 configurations.
Also, at the time the GA DOT [ 3 ] I don't know what this is. had actually purchased licenses for every computer to use Netscape Navigator. Win 3.1 machines had no other browser with them, and the MSIE version 1 that shipped with the first version of Windows 95 was too pitiful to use. Netscape Navigator was declared the official browser of the GA DOT.
When we upgraded to Windows 95, we also upgraded to MS-Office 95. Office 95 had a few bugs, but worked fairly well. We were happy with Office 95. We were happy with Windows 95, We were happy with Microsoft. But then things began to go bad. Microsoft released Office 97 with a new Word document format. Word 95, at the time, could not import Word 97 documents. Furthermore, Word 97 basically could only save in Microsoft's proprietary version of the RTF format. This forced us to "upgrade" to Office 97. Office 97 was bigger, and crashed more. We also had serious problems importing old Office 95 documents. Either Word 97 would slaughter the formatting or it would just crash while trying to open them. Oh, and there is this stupid gay paper clip that keeps bouncing around the screen. We just didn't need that shit.
At any rate, we managed to get everybody set up for Office 97. At least you can pick and choose the components you want in case you are low on drive space.
After years of complaints, the DOT finally decided to can the old VAX ALL-IN-1 e-mail system. I was expecting a POP3 or IMAP 4 server, but the bosses wanted scheduling and other stuff, so they set up a Microsoft Exchange Server and declared Outlook 97 as the client. I figured what the hell, most of our users already had Outlook 97 on their computers from when we "upgraded" to Office 97. It has worked adequately for us so far.
For a little while there everything was working pretty good. Windows 95, Office 97 with Outlook 97 for e-mail, Netscape Navigator, and KEA (a telnet application) were the standard apps installed on any DOT computer.
Microsoft released version 4 of its browser, and it was so bad we had to ban it from our office! Here is a screen shot of our intranet web page (Surprisingly it's still there after all this time) We were forced lift this ban, but later put the ban back but limiting it to banning user installation of IE.
ow, out of the blue Microsoft releases Outlook 98. "Oh, a new version! Lets upgrade!" says everybody. Oh, but there is one ever so slight catch... IT INSTALLS IE 4! and Outlook 98 sticks its nose in the air and refuses to run without it. WHAT!?! That browser is huge and crashes and sucks etc., etc...
Anyway, I just stuck with installing Outlook 97. Putting the horrendous problems aside, there was no sense in creating a mix of Outlook 97 and Outlook 98. Many computer in our office just don't have the hard drive space for IE 4 (mine included).
About that time the shit hit the fan. A bunch of new computers came in to our office and other district offices pre-loaded with a standard image. I thought the image provided (Win 95 OSR/2, Office 97, Outlook 97) was fine except a few computers had been partitioned incorrectly and needed to be reloaded. I had created loadable "images" for our old laptops and they wanted ME to create them a "standard" image that they liked for these computers. Fine no problem. I figured that would be great.
So my boss at the time and several other people from out side of our office came up with some "requirements" for the software image. Among them: Outlook 98. WHAT!!!!!?!?! "We found it it fixes a few thing" said one of the people. And pigs fly!. "We want to standardize on 98" said my boss. Well, I explained to my boss the problems with IE 4, and why we can't "standardize" due to HD space. His response: he threatened to fire me! And all for doing my job of trying to keep these computers up and running!!!
I would have put up a fight, but I figured that these district people would install this crap anyway. So I made TWO images. I gave them one with IE 4 and kept one without. On their copy, I deleted the IE desktop items, moved the start menu icons deep in to the accessories group, made Netscape the default browser and told IE never to check to see if IE was default.
I didn't feel good about installing it though. I still have this pain in my gut because I am now responsible for implanting this evil in to machines. It scares me at times. I am surrounded by this evil and it is closing in on me and our office.
And things only get worse, the people in charge of the network decided to replace our old, reliable Digital Unix CERN proxy with a Microsoft Proxy Server. By default Microsoft Proxy Server will only talk to Microsoft Internet Explorer. So one day we come in to discover all non-Microsoft internet applications are non-functional. (Hello DOJ, isn't this illegal or something????!!!?!?!?!?!) And I thought I felt sick after installing IE with Outlook 98... I actually became physically ill and upchucked for a few days after this. (And Microsoft says they haven't harmed consumers!?!)
This is just downright scary. THINK ABOUT THIS! They have the power do to this with just about ANY product. What non-Microsoft product do you use? Well, don't be surprised if one day it mysteriously stops working.
Apparently I can't make a difference in this mad Microsoft world, but I am protesting by not installing IE on my computers.
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|1.||^||I don't know what this means.|
|2.||^||Windows for Workgroups|
|3.||^||I don't know what this is.|