Linked by Stefan Michalowski, M. Sc. on Thu 19th Aug 2004 08:27 UTC
Editorial Lately posted on Slashdot, an article written by Joel Spolsky mentioned the trouble through which Microsoft went to make each version of Windows backwards compatible. In one case, for the game Simcity, they even changed the way memory handling was done when running that application. You can find additional stories of software tricks that recent versions of Windows have to perform in order to run these bug-dependant applications on the web. After reading the story, I discussed with a couple of friends how weird this was and how Free Software completely avoids this problem.
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in theory of course...
by pjm on Thu 19th Aug 2004 14:58 UTC

the open source model should work better than the MS model does, but the author compares the reality of MS to some sort of idealized potential for open source.

Yes, since the source code is open, developers should be able to look at all source to ensure compatibility. But nothing like that ever happens. Are you supposed to read source code to check for any compatiblity problems in every version of linux over, what, the last 3 years? What a PITA.

The real difference between the MS approach and the Linux non-approach is that the OS vendor is taking it upon themselves to actively seek out potential problems and come up with solutions. With Linux, it's a free for all (as in beer, speech, and not worth paying for)