Menu
Why Windows 10 isn't named 9: Windows 95 legacy code?

Why Windows 10 isn't named 9: Windows 95 legacy code?

An interesting rumour has popped up suggesting why Microsoft decided to use the name Windows 10, skipping right over Windows 9.

Microsoft puzzled the world on Tuesday when it said the version of Windows to succeed Windows 8.1 would be dubbed Windows 10 - jumping right over version 9.

At the Windows 10 debut, Microsoft said it "wouldn't be right" to call the new version Windows 9 given its importance--a claim that pretty much no one swallowed. Even for Microsoft's notoriously bizarre marketing history skipping the number 9 entirely is just plain weird.

But now a far more plausible answer has surfaced to the question "Why Windows 10?" A Redditor named cranbourne, who claims to be a Microsoft developer (though it's unsubstantiated), says rumors inside the company point to legacy software as the main reason for shooting straight for ten.

The story behind the story: Microsoft is often criticized for being reluctant to break compatibility with legacy versions of Windows. As we'll soon see, this rumor is a very good example of the kinds of pitfalls Microsoft must consider even for relatively simple tasks like naming the next version of Windows.

If Windows 9...then what?

Many of you should be old enough to remember that there have already been two versions of Windows that began with the number 9, specifically Windows 95 and Windows 98.

To save time, some third-party Windows desktop developers used a shorthand to check the version name (not number) of Windows they were installing their app to. Instead of coding apps to check for Windows 95 or Windows 98, developers coded instructions to check for "Windows 9."

That made sense since there were only two versions of Windows that had a nine in their name to that point. It was simply an easier way to figure out which version of Windows the program was dealing with.

Here's a Java code example that's been making the rounds on Google+, Reddit, and Twitter showing just this kind of version checking scheme.

Also check out this Windows 9 search on the code-focused search engine, searchcode, which was first identified by developer Christer Kaitila. At the top of the search results you'll see a bunch of code--again, Java--checking for Windows 9, but not Windows 9.

Microsoft may have looked out at the vast catalog of legacy code and decided the easiest way to avoid an annoying rewrite for all those programs was just to skip Windows 9 and head straight for Windows 10.

Accommodating legacy code may sound ridiculous, but it's certainly a plausible explanation and, if true, it's a smart move by Microsoft to not upset its developer base or potentially mess with customers happily using legacy software.


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Microsoftoperating systemssoftwareWindowsWindows 9Windows 10

Featured

Slideshows

Looking back at the top 15 M&A deals in NZ during 2017

Looking back at the top 15 M&A deals in NZ during 2017

In 2017, merger and acquisitions fever reached new heights in New Zealand, with a host of big name deals dominating the headlines. Reseller News recaps the most important transactions of the Kiwi channel during the past 12 months.

Looking back at the top 15 M&A deals in NZ during 2017
Kiwi channel closes 2017 with After Hours

Kiwi channel closes 2017 with After Hours

The channel in New Zealand came together to celebrate the close of 2017, as the final After Hours played out in front of a bumper Auckland crowd.

Kiwi channel closes 2017 with After Hours
Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

HP honoured leading partners across the channel at the Partner Awards 2017 in New Zealand, recognising excellence across the entire print and personal systems portfolio.

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ
Show Comments