*Least Reliable Operating System*

Let me preface by saying I am not looking for opinions. I do not want a flame war. I consider OS flame wars boring because I’ve seen way too many.
Can someone offer empirical evidence on a scientific, albeit possibly arguable, basis as to what the least reliable operating system is?
I’ve seen the reverse discussion happen before (what is most reliable) and seen various candidates trotted out such as VMS and MVS.
Off the top of my head Windows 3.1 comes to mind. It seemed to crash on me a lot. It seemed that the Microsoft Windows family has gone in a positive direction over the years.

I was going to say Windows 3.0, which was buggy as a roach motel. But I expect that there has to be something even worse than that from the early days of computing…

Least stable? In my experience, it’s been Microsoft Windows ME (really a kludge to implement some Windows 2000-like features to the relatively stable Windows 98 SE OS) and any of the Mac OS 7 variants.

I don’t have any data to contribute, but you may want to specify some additional parameters regarding hardware. For example, Windows NT4 is horribly unstable when installed on the “minimum recommended” CPU and RAM. However, if installed on a system with 2x the processor power and 3-4x minimum RAM, and properly configured, it can be tremendously stable. If you’re comparing OS stability as installed on their minimum hardware requirements, you may get very different answers than if you look at similar installs on relatively high-end hardware.

You also have to specify some sort of level of use in order to compare. I’ve seen relatively few Windows installs that have reliability comparable to Linux, but I’ve also never seen a linux box subjected to what users do to their Windows workstations. Yes, my linux servers are very stable, but so are my Win servers and both are carefully installed and run in very controlled environments. On the other hand, Windows workstations are subjected to running a much higher number of simultaneous apps (e.g. email, IM, word processor, browser, etc. compared to a well-configured server running nothing non-essential) and have myriad “unapproved” apps constantly installed and uninstalled by users. Until we start to see more Linux on the desktop, we won’t really have a valid comparison of workstation reliability.

You may find something worse, but a WinNT4 box without adequate RAM will bluescreen on its own if left in an empty room doing nothing. Apparently even the clock ticks are too much for it.

In my experience, it has been Windows ME (I never had to deal with pre-Win3.11) - it was definitely a step backwards from 98SE - at least in terms of performance in our office.

Out of abject curiousity, how much RAM are you talking for an NT4 box to just commit suicide?

Thinking about this, shouldn’t this be in IMHO?

In my experience Mac OS 7 (or whatever one was current in '95) was appalling. I also found Windows 98 to be the most crashworthy on a PC.

If this isn’t an invitation to a platform war, I don’t know what is.

This is closed.

DrMatrix - GQ Moderator