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RE: Windows 98 vs. Windows NT (4.0 or pending 5.0)[Subject Prev][Subject Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]
- To: <seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org>
- Subject: RE: Windows 98 vs. Windows NT (4.0 or pending 5.0)
- From: "Dennis S. Wish PE" <wish(--nospam--at)cwia.com>
- Date: Sun, 18 Oct 1998 23:35:01 -0700
Thanks James, I couldn't have said it better (or in fewer words:>)) Seriously, I think you brought Steve and my comments into perspective for those who are at the theshold of making the move into Windows or upgrading. I appreciate your comments. Dennis -----Original Message----- From: Stamper, James H. [mailto:JStamper(--nospam--at)heery.com] Sent: Sunday, October 18, 1998 5:16 PM To: SEAINT List Server Subject: Windows 98 vs. Windows NT (4.0 or pending 5.0) Steve and Dennis have given some good advice. It's obvious that they both have a solid grasp of the differences between Windows 98 and Windows NT. While Steve is correct in choosing Windows NT as the more stable operating system because of it's "New Technology", I have to side with Dennis in recommending Windows 98 for the average user. Windows NT costs more than twice as much as Windows 98, but I have more "practical" reasons for my recommendation. However, I probably can't state them any better than did Dennis, but I think I can add some clarification to the discussion, as follow: 1) The main reason for the average user, and especially the neophyte, to use Windows 98 is indeed the shear greater volume of users (and applications -- more on that later) of Windows 98 compared to Windows NT. Therefore, Dennis is absolutely correct in his assessment of the far greater and better support that a Windows 98 user will obtain from not only Microsoft, but more importantly from the application vendors. If you call a vendor of a Windows 95/98 application about a question regarding your NT operating system, don't be surprised if the technical support person knows almost nothing at all about Windows NT. 2) Steve is correct in his assessment of the future of Windows NT -- it is indeed where Microsoft intends to head us in the future, but that doesn't mean that everyone needs to make the leap now. Windows NT is indeed a "New Technology" from the standpoint that, from the time it was first introduced by Microsoft, it was (unlike Windows 3.1, 95 or 98) a complete and distinctly new operating system. That is NT's very basis for its "technical advantages" as an operating system. Don't be mislead by the similarities of NT's Graphical User Interface (i.e, GUI) to the GUI of Windows 3.1, 95 or 98. The operating systems are as different as night and day. Of course Microsoft made the GUI of NT 3.51 to look and work like the already accepted Program Manager in Windows 3.1, just like they made NT 4.0 look like Windows 95. And of course, NT 5.0 will look like Windows 98. That's good marketing, which Microsoft excels (no pun intended) at, so that people will readily accept NT. Actually, Windows NT is more similar to IBM OS/2, in that they are both protected-mode (i.e, memory addresses can only be used by one application at a time, not shared among applications) operating systems that can also run legacy programs designed for DOS and Windows 3.x or 95. However, Windows 98 (like Windows 3.x and 95) is closer to DOS, in fact much closer, because it is still a GUI on top of DOS, with a lot of miscellaneous applications by Microsoft thrown in. Yes, people, despite Microsoft's protestations, DOS still exists! However, I must admit that the Windows GUI makes it a lot easier (most of the time) to work. 3) Windows 95/98 really contains DOS at the programs' cores (there are ways to prove this, but read computer and hacker trade publications for more about that). That's why it's not surprising that DOS programs often actually do run better on Windows 95/98 than on NT. That's for two reasons: a) When one runs DOS on NT, NT must emulate the DOS operating system because it doesn't really exist in NT; and b) Because NT is a protected-mode operating system, poorly (or cleverly, depending upon your point of view) written DOS applications that make calls directly to the hardware or restricted memory addresses are prohibited by NT from completing their commands. Therefore, NT can actually be a hindrance when one is running legacy DOS (or even Windows 3.x) applications. And let's be honest -- there are still actually a lot of legacy DOS applications being run, because there's been nothing better developed yet for Windows, or simply because they still fulfill the need. 4) So Windows NT is better for networking? Well, yes, because it was designed with networking in mind. And yes, because since NT is a protected-mode operating system, it is less prone to system crashes. But, is NT necessary for networking? Absolutely not! If you have a large organization with hundreds of networked users in multiple locations (like we do), then NT is definitely the way to go -- particularly for the server operating systems. However, you can still have Windows 95/98 clients on the network (I'm writing this on a '95 client connected to multiple NT servers). Why do IT personnel promote NT as the only OS for networks? Because it's network oriented? Because it's more stable? These are the reasons that they (at least 9 out of 10) state, but they are a red herring. The real reason is that because of the design of NT (i.e, "security"), users can more easily be controlled from accessing functions or devices that IT believes they do not need -- both on the network and the user's own desktops (IT people usually are empire builders)! Of course that infuriates power users like engineers. You can't believe the battles that we had to go through to finally obtain permission for the engineers to add additional network printers to their desktops, or for the structural engineers to be able to adjust virtual memory settings on their own workstations when prompted by programs such as STAAD-III. And of course, even NT can be cracked if one is knowledgeable or smart enough (that's all I'm going to say on-line about that). Of course, for your own use you wouldn't evoke the security lockouts of NT, would you? So what will NT offer you? You may cut down on having to reboot your computer one to three times a day, mostly due to memory conflicts in Windows 95/98. You won't eliminate them entirely though -- even NT can crash, but it will probably be due to a buggy application. 5) Small networks? You don't need NT, and you don't even need dedicated client/server networks. Peer-to-peer networks (like Windows for Workgroups was) work fine for small offices/homes of two to 15+/- computers, and for small groups they are actually easier to manage. Even if you have a dedicated server (for e-mail, web site, etc.), you can still run a peer-to-peer network. Guess what? Windows 95, 98 and NT all support peer-to-peer networks coinciding seamlessly on NT client/server networks! That's one of the biggest advantages of Windows NT as a network operating system, yet it's also one of the least utilized among large office organizations -- because IT doesn't want it (they still have main frame, empire mindsets at heart). 6) There are a couple of other points to mention regarding Windows NT. Although the operating system will be more stable than with Windows 98, you may actually have less memory available to run your applications in than with Windows 95/98. That's because, the overhead memory requirements of NT are much greater than with conventional Windows. If you have 64-128+ Kb of RAM, this probably won't matter, but for 32-64 Kb of RAM, you may actually have a performance degradation with the more advanced NT operating system. Also, the more you learn about properly configuring Windows 95/98, the less likely that you'll be plagued with system crashes. And the final point. There are very few applications that are actually separately written and compiled to take advantage of the more advanced NT operating system. For example, Microsoft has written no Office 97 suite to take advantage of NT! Although Windows 95/98 applications usually say 95/NT or 98/NT on their labels, what that really means is that, although the applications are written for Windows 95/98, they will also run under NT. To publicize that is almost deceitful, because by design all properly written Windows 95/98 applications, which conform to all Microsoft rules and foundation classes, should also run under Windows NT regardless. To take full performance advantage of the NT operating system, an application should be written and compiled specifically for the NT operating system, and there are very few that are. STAAD-III isn't. Nor is ADAPT (it's really still pure DOS with primitive Windows shortcuts). Nor are PCA programs (they're mostly still Windows 3.x applications). Eagle Point Software's programs aren't, and neither are RISA Technologies' applications. In fact, I know of only two applications that we have in our entire multi-discipline office(s) that are separately written and compiled for Windows NT. They are GT_STRUDL and MicroStation. I would expect AutoCAD, Release 14.0, to be also, but I'm not certain about it. Well, there you have it. The paradox is that while I believe Windows NT is a superior operating system to Windows 95/98, I recommend Windows 98 for the average user or small office network. James H. Stamper, PE (Jim) Senior Structural Engineer Heery International, Inc. (E-Mail: jstamper(--nospam--at)heery.com) -------------------------------------------------------------------------- From: "Dennis S. Wish PE" <wish(--nospam--at)cwia.com> To: <seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org> Subject: New Win 98 Questions Steve, I am not here to debate this either. My opinion in operating system choice is "to each his own". I have clients who run NT 4.0 and have had a great deal of problems with it. Now, they are running NT on a network and this may be where his problems originate. Personally, I am very pleased with 98 and find it to be a very stable platform. Yes, I have some problems, but with the availability of the new System Information program that is on the Win 98 Accessories folder, I have been very successful tracking errors and correcting them. I have not had an error that was attributed to the operating system, with the exception of one that was caused by a corrupted system file. This was caught by the a small program as part of the System Information module called "System File Checker". This small program keeps track of the version and dates of the original system files and lets you know when one is corrupted or has been replaced by another file with a different date. The program also lets you restore the damaged files. In addition, there are a bunch of utilities that allow you to delete missing links, errors in the system registry, and a maintenance mode that keeps the hard drive in the most effective order to optimize file loading. The biggest reason to stay with '98 for now is the cost. If this is an upgrade, '98 will cost the user about $89.00, while, I believe, a new copy of NT will be considerably more expensive. Outside of that, I don't have the knowledge and experience with NT to compare availability of compatible software, speed and any other issues between the two. I do believe, that Microsoft has changed the appearance of NT 5.0 to be closer to '98 so that it will make the transition easier. If you were to ask what I would do, I would upgrade to NT 5.0 when it was available, because I know that is the direction that Microsoft is going for the reasons I stated in my last post. However, for a neophyte who is just starting with Windows or upgrading to '98, I would suggest '98 over NT for two other reasons: a) the shear number of '98 users exceeds NT users at the small scale. This makes support by others around you easier to contend with without having to contact Microsoft or a system specialist. I'm not saying that support for NT is not good, but I believe more individuals are using '98, and this would make peer support more handy. The second, and possibly you can comment on this, is that I assumed NT to be focused on a workgroup or network usage. Therefore, I would believe that the documentation and uses of terms would be more technical than most could handle. I had a similar problem when moving into '95. I did not understand the concept of a server or client - too very important concepts in understanding Microsoft Exchange Client. Now that '95 has been upgraded to a POP connection, most of us don't have to understand the Inbox or Exchange clients. We are, however, becoming more understanding of these terms while still not networking our computers. This is due, in part, by learning to create websites and gaining experience understanding the role a "server" plays. The majority seeking our help on this server are neophytes who lack the knowledge that Steve and I (and many other active participants of this list) share. I don't wish to argue with Steve, since he makes valid points. I would only suggest that independent users who were never on a network (or workgroup) might understand the setup and maintenance on a Windows-based operating system better than an NT system. As far as New Technology - NT was introduced almost the same time as Windows 95. I might consider it DT (Different Technology), but I doubt that it really is new and improved except compared to Windows 3.1. Finally, I don't harbor the same concerns that many have with Bill Gates - I admire the man for what he accomplished. I don't want to debate this, as Steve indicated, I just wanted to state my opinions. I only wish I had been able to save, beg, borrow or steal the money needed to invest in Microsoft back in '86. Regards, Dennis -----Original Message----- From: Steve Privett [mailto:eqretrodr(--nospam--at)earthlink.net] Sent: Saturday, October 17, 1998 10:54 AM To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org Subject: New Win 98 Questions Dennis S. Wish PE wrote: From what I just read, NT 5.0 may be delayed until the end of next year at the earliest. I also read that the current Beta version looks and acts very much like Win 98. Remember that NT 5.0 has been primarily used for networked systems. Microsoft is anticipating a need in the private sector for personal networks within the small office or home. With broadband technology becoming more and more a reality every day, those wishing to keep up with technology will need to consider establishing a personal network to control most of our daily functions above and beyond work. This includes, on-line banking, shopping, education and research. It also includes the ability to control your homes (lights, HVAC, security and communications). With this in mind, NT 5.0 will be important, however, don't throw away 95 or 98 yet. I suspect that Windows 98 will be supported for at least the next five years until features become so important that 98 is considered similar to 3.1 -- a dinosaur. Although many of you swear by DOS, there will be a point in the near future that you will lose the support from both Microsoft and the companies who originally wrote the software you are using. This is to be expected as economics drive the services offered on software. Very few manufactures of popular software are maintaining DOS versions. One driving reason is that many printers today will not work in DOS mode (such as the HP DeskJet series like the 820). This is not to say that you can't continue to use the equipment you presently own, but at some time the hardware will give out, a glitch in magnetic media will corrupt a disk, a 5-1/4 floppy will fail and you won't be able to find a replacement, etc. You will have a choice - upgrade and repeat the process of the downward learning curve (which becomes more difficult as features increase), OR wait until you no longer have the resources to complete the work and retire. In the mean time, I think you can get some long mileage on Windows 98. I also believe that you should upgrade to NT 5.0 when it comes out, IF you are interested in establishing a personal server to take advantage of Broadband, multiple computers in the home, and other network options. Dennis Wish, PE -----Original Message----- From: Steve Privett [mailto:eqretrodr(--nospam--at)earthlink.net] Sent: Saturday, October 17, 1998 6:35 AM To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org Subject: New Win 98 Questions Szuchuan Chang wrote: Please also consider Windows NT 4.0. I agree with this one... Win 98 is the last of its kind.. NT 5.0 is due for release next year, and it will be the only OS of MS. It's very stable, but there are some programs that don't run on it. I've not found any structural or office type programs that I have problems with, but there are some games (who puts games on their computers...) and some educational software for kids. NT 4.0 also doesn't have the plug and play for all hardware upgrades, but that hasn't been a problem. You just have to read and perform the proper setup. Steve P It has been used primarily for networks because of the power and stability. I converted to NT back at 3.51, so I would have the power to run multiple sessions of AutoCAD after getting over the idea that NT was for networks. Most individual users didn't go to NT because they didn't need it, and therefore couldn't justify the additional money. I don't run a network, but have found my system much more stable than colleagues' W95 or W98 setups I've used in their offices. If something does crash, it only crashes the software, not the entire operating system and machine. The idea that if you don't run networks, you don't need NT, is like saying I only do one or two frame analyses a year, so I don't need the software. Correct, it's not needed, but it is a great asset to have and will make your work more efficient once you go through the learning curve. That's where the idea of moving to NT makes since.... make the change now and you don't have to do it later. It will happen if you are one to eventually upgrade, as most of us are... Some stay with DOS, but most recognize the advantage of using the newer technology, which is what NT stands for -- New Technology. All of the things people were talking about with partition sizing and resizing, along with multiple boots can all be done with NT without the addition of third party software. The file system for can also be setup in NTFS rather than FAT. This has proven to be more efficient also than the FAT systems. The only thing to be aware of, the common version of NT does not support 128-bit encryption. So if you want 128-bit encryption for the Internet, make sure you purchase the compatible version of NT... Otherwise you will have problems. Yes, W98 will be supported for a few more years. If Windows 3.x is a clue, they will give about 3 years support after they quit producing W98. But, after using both operating systems, I cast my vote to NT. And, I say that even though I'm not a big fan of Bill Gates. But, that's another subject regarding the conversion of computer illiterate people to users... Just my opinion, and an effort to educate... not meant to start a debate here. Steve P
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