The real reason for Windows 10’s name revealed

magritte-windowWhen software giant Microsoft declared that its new operating system would be called Windows 10, many of us wondered what was wrong with Windows 9 as a name.

After all, the number, nine has a good reputation. There were, for example,  The Nine Worthies – nine historical, or semi-legendary figures who, in the Middle Ages, were believed to personify the ideals of chivalry. There are nine muses in Greek mythology including Calliope, Clio, Erato, Euterpe, Melpomene, Polyhymnia, Terpsichore, Thalia, and Urania.

Of course, there were nine circles of Hell in Dante’s Divine Comedy, but that was unlikely to put people off buying an operating system. Microsoft claimed that Windows 10 was so cool and so unlike the doomed Windows 8 that it was unfair to call it Windows 9, which is about as unlikely as Mark Hurd returning as the CEO of HP.

Now it seems a Microsoft developer has spilled the beans. Microsoft skipped Windows 9 and went  straight to 10 fearing a problem like the Y2K bug.

The developer “Cranbourne” told Rededit  that  “early testing revealed just how many third party products had code in the form of Windows 9”, referring to benchmark operating systems Windows 95 and Windows 98.

He said: “This was the pragmatic solution to avoid that.”

Basically there was a lump of short-sighted code short cut designed to differentiate between Windows 95 and 98 that was too stupid to grasp that there was now a Windows 9.

It sounds daft, but Indie developer Christer Kaitila pointed out that more than 4,000 applications use the ancient coding cock-up somewhere under the bonnet of their software.

Microsoft would make each of them think that they were looking at Windows 98 rather than Windows 9 and when it could not find the floppy drive, or see a hard-drive bigger than a GB, they would pack a sad. Microsoft was never very good at software, to be fair, but excellent at marketing.