Operating System is the personality of every computer. No what matter how good the hardware configuration of your computer, all is gone if you don’t have a good OS. A poorly designed and inefficient results in poor utilization of hardware resources and reduces the quality of customer experience. In this article, you will go through the list of Worst Operating System ever released. The worst Operating System list is compiled in the order of time line when it was released.
Atleast some of us will recall the good old days of DOS . DOS(Disk Operating System) is a CUI(Command User Interface) OS which domainated IBM PC’s between 1981 and 1995. All the operations were done using commands. DOS was fairly a good and popular OS, until Microsoft released DOS 4.0 as a predecessor to successful DOS 3.3.
DOS 4.0 which was released in 1988, was the first Microsoft OS which supported Hard disk space of 2GB (a huge disk space at that time) and support for FAT16 file . But soon problems started because of poorly coded memory addressing . This led to problems like programs getting halted frequently, screen output turned to garbage, keyword buffer fill up randomly, every press on the keyboard resulted in irritating beep sounds and continuous irritating sound from speaker until the computer is forcibly shut down.
DOS 4.0 became so unpopular that people started looking for alternative options. But by November same year, Microsoft came with DOS 4.1 which took care of all the issues with the previous one. The next year, successful DOS 5.0 was released which literally wiped out memories of DOS 4.0 from everyone’s mind.
Not much people are aware of Sun Micros attempt to create a new OS that runs exclusively on Java platform. Sun was not trying to compete with Microsoft or fight for their share in desktop market share, but it was intended for running on PDA’s. Java OS, codename “Kona” was released in 1996.
Java OS installation part worked well, but all the problems start only after reaching the desktop. The program would freeze a lot, performance was very slow and it struggled a lot when more than one application was opened simultaneously. Sun did collaborate with IBM for bettering their OS performance, but it seems it didn’t work out the way it was supposed to be. Finally Sun abandoned the idea, making Java OS making it a fossil in the world of s.
Corel Linux was released by Debian in 1999, with lot of expectations as one of the major Linuxy things in the market which will wipeout Microsoft monopoly from OS market. But the results were disastrous especially with so many expectations.
Let’s start from the beginning. Corel Linux featured a good looking graphical installer which was way ahead of its time. Unfortunately, majority of times the installation crashed. Or it gets installed without any hitches, but after reboot the screen comes back blank wondering where we installed the OS.
Corel Linux came up with lot of Corel developed apps and tools, but none of them were compatible with the current versions of Linux available at that time. The Corel File Manager (CFM) used for accessing network resources, secondary hard drives and CD ROMS was a total disaster. It would take ages for the OS to access the information from these locations. updates could be done online which worked fine, but Corel Linux miserably failed in detecting and installing device drivers for the popular and very basic network adapters which prevented many from getting internet in the first place.
Eventually Corel Linux came up with a much better OS with a huge database of device drivers and nice additional features. But the damage was already done. The bitter experience from the earlier version prevented many from even giving it a try leading to its final demise.
Windows ME (Millennium Edition)
ME undoubtedly is the worst OS ever released by Microsoft and one of the worst OS ever released by anyone. ME stands for “Millennium Edition”, but according to some it was the “Mistake Edition”. ME was released on Sept 14th 2000. It was successor to the hugely popular 98 SE.
It’s impossible to list all the problems in ME because of space limitation. To name a few, frequent BSOD(Blue Screen of ), driver detections problems, program installation and crashes, frequent crashes were all part of the problem. Restricted access to real mode DOS feature prevented the communicating with most of the DOS based programs. Those were the days when most of the programs were built for 98/98 SE and were DOS based. Similarly ME also refused to detect some of the drivers that was easily detected by the previous OS. Even the updated drivers released by hardware manufacturers crashed. Imagine the frustration of users who upgraded to ME, when they found out the programs and devices which once worked flawlessly with 98 and 98 SE edition is not working.
The restore was a welcoming feature, but only when it worked. Most of the times it failed and had lot of bugs. Lot of useful features which were there in the previous OS disappeared in ME. It was almost as if the programmers forgot to incorporate it in the new OS.
ME had too many flaws that Microsoft didn’t even bother to put a fully fledged effort to fixing all the bugs. With their reputation very much at stake, Microsoft released XP in Aug 2001, within a year after the release of ME. By releasing XP soon, they were able to prevent more people from getting a taste of ME. XP on the other hand was very successful. It made Microsoft proud as the manufacturer of the most popular and widely used OS in the world. Even to this day, I am sure even Microsoft employees and fans admit ME as the biggest mistake and the worst operating system ever released.
Lindows is Debian Linux based commercial OS released in 2001 with the slogan “ meet Linux”. It was released with the idea of incorporating the user friendly features of OS with all the advantage of the open source Linux distribution. Lindows had lot of expectations on Microsoft users switching sides towards them after the disastrous release of ME. Unfortunately that didn’t happen, mainly because of the short comings of their own OS.
Most of the based applications didn’t work well with Lindows and Wine. Once Lindows realized that 99% of applications are not going to work, they switched strategies to CNR(Click N Run).CNR is a GUI( Graphical User Interface) based Automatically Programmed Tool(APT) which allows installation of popular Linux tools. However Lindows charged 20$ for the basic support and 50$ for gold support. Lindows popularity was also affected by slow loading times, frequent crashes and poor buggy USB detections.
After 2 unsuccessful lawsuits against Lindows, Microsoft finally bought Lindows trademark for an estimated 20$ million. They changed the name to Linspire. It ended the saga of Lindows as one of the worst OS ever released.
Microsoft released Vista Oct 2009 as a successor to the hugely popular XP. Everybody remember Vista as a flop and unpopular from Microsoft. But the truth is that it was not so bad and most of its failure was as a result of poor marketing and confusion regarding the hardware requirement. It certainly was not so bad and didn’t come anywhere close to where ME stood.
Main problem with Vista was it demanded a huge increase in hardware requirement. Only 10-15% of the consumer PC’s had the minimum configuration required for running Vista when it was released. This means, most of them need to buy a new computer to install Vista. A lot of computers users installed Vista in their computer without even checking if they had the recommended hardware configuration. They ended up having a new OS which took forever to reach the desktop. A lot of people also didn’t like the new interface which also contributed to bad publicity by word of mouth. Another issue was the security feature UAC (User Account Control) which was buggy when it was released.
The released of Vista taught Microsoft a lesson when it comes to hardware requirement. With the release of Vista, Vista capable became a standard when buying PC. If a PC has Vista capable sticker in it means you can install Vista without any performance issue in that configuration. The later OS, 7 and soon to be released 8 have kept the minimum configuration to be Vista Capable.
With the release of Service Pack 1(SP1) and SP2, Vista is now very secure and rock solid. Most of the bugs and performance related issues are solved now. However the damage was already done and Vista will always be remembered as a flop, rather than what it became later. For that reason Vista also needs to be included in the worst operating system of all time.