Neal Stephenson writes a long and wide-ranging essay musing on the differences between Windows 9x, MacOS, BeOS, and early Linux, and what these differences signify for the broader world of technology. It’s interesting and valuable not necessarily for the content of the piece itself, but for the attitudes that it documents. Indeed, today, Windows, MacOS and Linux are far more similar to each other than they were when this piece was written, but the attitudes and stereotypes persist.
The essay was originally distributed as a zip file containing a text document. I’ve reformatted it as markdown to make it easier to read, but I haven’t altered any of the original text.