The Road Not Taken

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Captain's Log

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

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When I first heard this poem by Robert Frost, my natural reaction was to think how much better his life must be since his choice made "all the difference" in his life.

Later others showed me it was equally possible that the "difference" was for the worse, and that he regrets every step down that road less travelled.

I often think about that poem when I consider my decision to use OS/2 on my computer. True, an operating system is not a cornerstone of my life, nor will I consider my life a failure if I discover sometime later that I have made a mistake. But we as OS/2 users have all chosen the road less travelled. Has it made all the difference?

Maybe you didn't even realize you were breaking away onto another path. Perhaps you purchased OS/2 because it would help you run all of your software better, not because you drawn to an "interface" or "architecture". But then you started to understand how OS/2 really feels: the simple elegance and consistency of your interaction with the machine. Suddenly you weren't so worried about directories and extensions and defragmenting and command-line instructions and you started to become truly productive with your time on the computer.

I suffer the frustration of watching my friends bring home the latest Windows 95 program while I wonder, "Will it run under Warp? Will I miss out on this new program?" Time and time again, though, those new Windows programs are set aside and deleted - too big, not enough drive space or memory, the old one functions just fine. And I plug along, just as productive as the day before. Sometimes the newest applications are not always the best applications, I think.

I read the magazines that are filled with Windows 95 software, Windows 95 reviews, or Windows 95 benchmarks, and I search to dig up the few small tips and articles on OS/2. But then I read about how Windows 95 sales have fallen fast over the months, and how IBM sold over a million copies of OS/2 in December alone. Maybe people are really starting to understand how they have been taken for a ride with Windows 95: Dump all your applications, buy new hardware, apply all the patches, and then wait for NT or Cairo and throw it all away again. Then I launch my OS/2 1.1 calculator that I still use, and years after it was written it still functions perfectly on the newest verson of OS/2. "You shouldn't HAVE to do what all of those Windows 95 users have to do", I say to myself.

For now, I think I'll leave Windows for "another day". Maybe sometime soon this road I'm on won't be so "less travelled".

It is our intent that this space each month will contain the views of a guest columnist. -ed.


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