The world of computing has changed incredibly from the heydays of hobbyist hacking, wood-cased prototypes, human constructed computers, and free software. I personally attribute this to Microsoft, and they’re exploitation of the computer industry. There are many reasons the computing arena is no longer a hobbyist run area, but the single largest is Microsoft. Enough Ranting…

Computers do task a at a certain speed. Every time. If its adding 1 and 2, it takes exactly the same amount of time each time. Now you try to go sell Joe Shmoe that he needs to add 1 and 2 1 microsecond shorter. Microsoft’s answer to this is twofold. First, the make their operating systems slower, bigger, and less efficient. I’m willing to bet if Windows 2000 dropped all its pretty pictures, anti-aliasing, fading dialogs, and wizards, Windows 2000 would use the same amount of ram as Windows NT, be the same size, and run at the same speed. Microsoft touts one of Windows 2000’s features as a more user friendly interface. That’s great. The real reason they have all this prettiness is to force you to purchase a new computer.

PC99 is Microsoft’s manifesto that tells pc manufacturers what they have to sell. While it is only a piece of paper, and in now way puts a gun to Mr. Dell’s head and tells him “.. do this or else..”, it does put the financial gun to the head of companies that pay $5 instead of $200 for a Windows license, and allows them to put the “Designed for Windows” logo on their hardware. While you and I know that little picture means nothing, tell try to explain to grandma how an ISA bus will work fine with the PCI and APG ports running on a legacy driver in Windows 2000. I’m sure she will understand.

These are the basic PC99 specs:
System performance. A 300-MHz processor with 128K Level 2 (L2) cache, and 32 MB RAM for Consumer PCs and 64 MB RAM for Office PCs.
ACPI and BIOS support. Clarifications to ACPI and BIOS support requirements, including BIOS support for USB keyboards and hubs for all system types.
Bus and expansion capabilities. The changes include:
Two USB ports (one for mobile PCs).
Support PCI 2.1 if PCI bus is present, including the Vaux support and the subsystem ID requirements for buses that remove power to devices during System S3 or Bus B3.
No ISA expansion devices or slots. Legacy motherboard implementations such as Super I/O are allowed.
Storage and media playback. A DVD drive is recommended for Consumer and Office systems that provide optical media devices.
Communications. The changes include:
56-Kbps V.90 modem is required or other public network communication capabilities for Consumer PCs.
A network adapter is required for Office PCs.
Graphics subsystem. The changes include:
AGP is recommended for the primary adapter.
Clarifications of graphics adapter support for 3-D hardware acceleration.
Monitor must be compliant with Display Data Channel Standard, Version 3.0, Level 2B (DDC2B).

Now you tell me I need a 3d card, or USB. I tell you go fsck yourself. My office machine is a P166 with 16mb ram. No sound card, no usb. No 3d, and no PCI. It works fine. Its my OFFICE machine, not my at work-rendering platform.

Full PC99 Specs @ http://www.microsoft.com/hwdev/pc99.htm

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