Here are some basic descriptions of what may happen if airplanes had different operating systems running them. DOS: Everybody pushes it till it glides, then jumps on and lets it coast till it skids, then jumps off, pushes, jumps back on, etc. DOS with QEMM: Same as DOS, but with more leg room for pushing. Macintosh: All the flight attendants, captains and baggage handlers look the same, act the same and talk the same. Every time you ask a question, you are told you don't need to know, don't want to know and everything will be done for you without your knowing, so just shut up and watch the in-flight movie. Mac OS/X: Where they actually fly you on BSDAir, but you find that you paid for your ticket and everyone else is flying for free... OS/2: To board the plane, you have your ticket stamped ten different times by standing in ten different lines. Then you fill out a form showing where you want to sit and whether the plan should look and feel like an ocean liner, a passenger train, or a bus. If you succeed in getting on board the plane and the plane succeeds in getting off the ground, you have a wonderful trip. Amazingly, the guy next to you can crash without interrupting your flight at all... except for the times when the rudder and flaps get frozen in position, in which case you have time to say your prayers and get in crash position. Windows 9x: The airport is a clean, colorful place, and the flight attendants are friendly and accomodating. The baggage check and boarding process is user-friendly, and the plane is luxuriously appointed, with all the amenities. The takeoff is uneventful, and the flight smooth... until the plane reaches 30,000 feet and crashes without warning. NT/2000: The terminal and flight attendants all look like those the Windows plane uses, but the tickets cost more, and use bigger planes. The process of checking in and going through security is a nightmare. Once aboard, those passengers with first class tickets can go anywhere they want and arrive in half the time, while the vast majority of passengers with coach tickets can't even get aboard. Finally, when it crashes it takes out all other aircraft for 40 miles. Windows XP: The plane is a sleek, hypersonic affair using the new patented MS .AIR as a support system. After some delay while the runway is extended and repaved to accomodate the new plane's immense weight, the plane takes off... and about 5 minutes into the flight, the alarms start going. WARNING PASSENGER C27 HAS SHIFTED HIS WEIGHT FROM THE LEFT ARSE CHEEK TO THE RIGHT AND MUST PURCHASE A NEW TICKET. The flight attendants then eject him at 25000 feet. After that people sit very still but in half an hour they are told that the plane has been upgraded to "leg 2" and anyone not purchasing a leg 2 ticket is shoved out the "raw hatch". Unix: Everyone brings one piece of the plane and a box of tools to the airport. Then they go on the runway, where there is a chalk outline of a plane, and try to piece it together, all the while arguing about what kind of plane they're building. Eventually, they split up into groups and build several different aircraft, but give them all the same name. Beowulf: The airplane is distributed among 47 different hangars in 13 airports scattered over 8 states, 4 Canadian provinces, and a remote mountain hideaway in Nicaragua. But you don't need to know where the airplane is or who it belongs to in order to fly it. Actually, you don't fly the airplane itself; you fly a simulation that behaves just like the real thing except that you don't go anywhere. But that's okay, because when the world is at your fingertips you never need to leave home. Linux: Disgruntled employees of all the other OS airlines decide to start their own airline. They build the planes and ticket counters, and pave the runways themselves. They charge a small fee to cover the cost of printing the ticket, but you can also download and print the ticket yourself. When you board the plane, you are given a seat, four bolts, a wrench, and a copy of the seat- howto.html. Once settled, the fully adjustable seat is very comfortable, the plane leaves and arrives on time without a single problem, the in-flight meal is wonderful. You try to tell customers of the other airlines about the great trip, but all they can say is, "You had to do what with the seat?" Palm OS Air: You are astonished at the number of passengers who can sit comfortably in the tiny and elegant airframe. You are also astonished, though less pleasantly, when your itinerary reveals 14 stopovers on your way across country . . . for refueling.