Packet Rat
R. Fink

Wouldn’t you just know it? Microsoft Corp. went and changed the name of the
operating system formerly known as NT—let’s just say TOSFKANT. The new name:
Windows 2000.

The Rat wonders whether anyone at Microsoft learned anything from the Windows 95
fiasco. Putting an actual year in the name of a major revision of an operating system
creates a misbegotten belief that it will ship before or during that calendar year.

In view of the fun the Rat has been having with the first two betas of TOSFKANT 5.0,
the year 2000, now only 417 days away, is looking like a pretty darned optimistic shipping

If the Rat had anything to say about it—and considering the rude way his e-mails
to Bill Gates get bounced, he doesn’t—Windows versions would be named after
something memorable enough that Microsoft wouldn’t need to change the theme for

New Windows OSes could be named after moon craters, asteroids, strains of bacteria or,
more aptly, systems engineers who defenestrated themselves after receiving yet another
Service Pack.

It now appears that TOSFKANT 5.0 will trickle out in four versions: Windows 2000
Professional for the desktop, Windows 2000 Server for standard servers, Windows 2000
Advanced Server for cluster and four-way symmetric multiprocessing servers, and the big
honker, Windows 2000 Datacenter, for eight- and 16-way SMP. Talk about granularity.

“If granularity is good,” mused the cyberrodent, “more granularity must
be better.”

So, during his lunch break, he headed down to the federal courthouse to try to sell the
Microsofties on his ideas for even more versions of TOSFKANT.

Unfortunately, ever since the Rat got involved with a certain set of pie-lobbing
commandos, he’s had this little thing called a restraining order that forces him to
keep his distance from the Gates entourage. Instead, he went to somebody who could
actually do something with his ideas. He filed a brief with the judge as a friend of the

Here are some ideas for new versions of TOSFKANT 5.0 that the Rat is sure will find a

And it would do lots and lots of unattended tape backup.  

The Packet Rat once managed networks but now spends his time ferreting out bad
packets in cyberspace. E-mail him at

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