Why We LOVE Floppy Disks!
Mac users love to defend their new machines' lack
of a floppy disk drive. Well, they have a point, provided they keep the discussion
limited to the Mac. However, there are some serious, serious reasons why users
of non-Mac platforms want and need a floppy drive.
The first and most important reason is testing for Y2K. You really can't do a
serious Year-2000 test without using a bootable Y2K floppy disk. And when you talk
about Y2K problems, what other kind of personal computing device could you mean,
except an IBM-compatible running a DOS-based system, such as Windows? The hardware
needs clock and BIOS testing, and the software usually needs patches as well. When
the big 2000 rolls over, some PCs may not be able to access the Web to get their
updates, so floppies will be required just to get back on line.
The second and almost as important reason is Device Drivers. Since non-Mac platforms
need device drivers to talk to printers, modems, video cards, sound cards, etc.,
then people need to be able to load these drivers. For example, using a CD-ROM
or Zip drive may not work unless the drivers are first loaded from -- you guessed
it -- a floppy diskette. The best part about floppy drives is that they are hardware-level
compatible with all OS's, so they don't need any special drivers. That makes floppies
the "foundation" upon which the rest of the system is built.
Finally, the most important use of all: changing operating systems. Since IBM-compatibles
have so many OS's to choose from -- and yet, paradoxically, are force-fed the monopolized
Windows OS instead of allowing choice -- there are a large number of PC users who
want and need to change operating systems, or perhaps add an extra OS and a multiple-boot
option. Needless to say, only a bootable floppy diskette set can accomplish a full-blown
OS change, such as dumping Windows and replacing it with OS/2 or Linux.
So you see, from a PC perspective a floppy diskette drive is an absolute necessity.
The Mac world has little use for them because of having fewer Y2K problems, fewer
device compatibility issues, and less operating systems to choose from. It's an
Most recent revision: September 5, 1999
Copyright © 1999, Tom Nadeau
All Rights Reserved.