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What if Operating Systems Were Airlines?

I first read this back in the late 1990's, having gotten it from the head of mortgage services at the bank I worked for. (He's now president of the bank and I am … elsewhere.) It was funny at the time. I am surprised it is still extent on the Web. I have updated the text, mostly to drop ancient systems nobody would know about today.
— Andy West, 20 january 2009.

DOS Airlines

Everybody pushes the airplane until it glides, then they jump on and let the plane coast until it hits the ground again, then they push again jump on again, and so on.

Windows Air

The terminal is pretty and colorful, with friendly stewards, easy baggage check and boarding, and a smooth take-off. After about ten minutes in the air, the plane explodes with no warning whatsoever.

Windows XP Air

This was once Windows NT Air. It is just like Windows Air, but costs more, uses much bigger planes, and takes out all the other aircraft within a forty-mile radius when it explodes.

Vista Airways

The terminal is colorful and luxurious. But the stewards are dressed in SWAT uniforms; the baggage checks and boarding are more rigorous than an Israeli airline; and the planes would explode with the power of a thermonuclear bomb. Well, they would if they ever got off the ground, but the pilots cannot take off due to the instrument panel constantly querying, Are you sure you want to take off?

Mac X Airlines

All the stewards, stewardesses, captains, baggage handlers, and ticket agents look the same, act the same, and talk the same. Mind you, they look stylish, act suave, and talk cool. That kind of makes up for the the fact that when you ask questions about details, you are told (in as polite a manner as possible) you don't need to know, don't want to know, and would you kindly return to your seat and watch the movie.

Unix Airlines

Each passenger brings a piece of the airplane and a box of tools to the airport. They gather on the tarmac, arguing constantly about what kind of plane they want to build and how to put it together. Eventually, they build several different aircraft, but give them all the same name. Some passengers actually reach their destinations. All passengers believe they got there. And at least one of the aircraft makers goes ballistic and sues everyone in sight.

VMS Airlines

The passengers all gather in the hanger, watching hundreds of technicians check the flight systems on this immense, luxury aircraft. This plane has at least ten engines and seats over a thousand passengers. All the passengers scramble aboard, as do the necessary complement of 200 technicians. The pilot takes his place up in the glass cockpit. He guns the engines, only to realise that the plane is too big to get through the hangar doors.

BeOS Air

You had to pay for the tickets, but they were half the price of Windows Air, and if you were an aircraft mechanic you could ride for free. It only took fifteen minutes to get to the airport and you were chauffeured there in a limousine. BeOS Air only had limited types of planes that only only held new luggage. All planes were single seaters and the model names all started with an "F" (F-14, F-15, F-16, F-18, etc.). The plane would fly you to your destination on autopilot in half the time of other Airways or you could fly the plane yourself. There were limited destinations, but they were only places you'd wanted to go to anyway. You told all your friends how great BeOS Air was and all they could say was What do you mean I can't bring all my old baggage with me?

Haiku Flugdienst

This is just like BeOS Air, except that the airplanes are built from scratch, and that even baggage you could bring on BeOS Air will not fit in Haiku Flugdienst planes.

Linux Airlines

Disgruntled employees of all the other OS airlines decide to start their own airline. They build the planes (each with a different name), design the ticket counters, and pave the runways themselves. They charge a small fee to cover the cost of printing the ticket, but you can also download and print the ticket yourself. When you board the plane, you are given a seat, four bolts, a wrench and a copy of the file seat-HOWTO.html. Once settled, the fully adjustable seat is very comfortable, the plane leaves and arrives on time without a single problem, the in-flight meal is wonderful. You try to tell customers of the other airlines about the great trip, but all they can say is, You had to do what with the seat?

What if Operating Systems Were Airlines?