The Windows 95 team were proud slackers


During one of the many (many) team meetings during the course of Windows 95, there was a slide that showed something-or-other broken down by job discipline. There was a column for developers, another for quality assurance, and a third column labeled Slackers.

The presenter was one of the lead program managers and explained that the Slackers column represented program managers and other management overhead. (This is the same person who famously predicted that the project would ship by June 1993, "Otherwise, I'll be applying for a job at McDonalds.")

As I've noted a few times before, the Windows 95 team enjoyed self-deprecating humor, and it wasn't long before the epithet Slacker was adopted through the entire team.

We even had shirts made.

Windows 95 released to manufacturing on this day 23 years ago.

Comments (22)
  1. Harold H20 says:

    (Windows 95 released to manufacturing on this day 23 years ago.)

    Back in 1995, Windows 95 was great. Especially after they added FAT32 a year later. I remember it well. Of course, today, it seems horribly primitive, but, that’s progress!

    1. Denis says:

      Back in 1995, Windows 95 was slow :) And very large. And looked unfamiliar. And some software did not work. As almost any other version of Windows :)

      1. Keith Patrick says:

        Particularly when going from WFW3.11 to Win95. I don’t think I ever got around to liking the Deleting Files animation as a result. WFW would delete 100 files in the snap of a finger.

        1. DWalker07 says:

          I think you could turn off animations in Windows 95. I know that’s one of the first things I did in Windows XP, Windows 7, and Windows 10. Operations actually finish faster if you don’t have to wait for the animations. Windows snap open or closed instantly instead of gradually getting larger or smaller.

      2. ender9 says:

        In my experience, things worked faster after upgrading to Windows 95.

        1. Keith Patrick says:

          What did you upgrade from? If it was Win3.x, it should be noticeably faster, but if you were running Windows for Workgroups 3.11, you already had 32-bit file IO, so you’d see more slowdowns due to the addition of various animations.

  2. DWalker07 says:

    “We even had shirts made.”. So, you were a slacker!

  3. Christopher says:

    I thought a “slack” was the official term for a group of developers. Guess I was wrong! :)

  4. Keith Patrick says:

    Are there any Cairo Slacker shirts going around? Or maybe that team didn’t have a sense of humor about slipping dates :)
    On Win95, I actually installed the beta on my workstation that night before I had to demo a project on it. My stepfather told me “do NOT install that beta before the demo!”. He was very adamant it, but I could not resist, since I’d been seeing screenshots for months and WANTED it. So I installed it anyway, and the demo went off without a hitch (that beta was a pretty stable one…I passed on the opportunity a few years later with the NT5 beta)

  5. Joshua says:

    And Windows XP is closer to Windows 95 than the present day. As for the “slow”; with 17mb RAM it stops paging and is suddenly much faster.

  6. Nico says:

    An interesting coincidence given this article from yesterday: https://www.theverge.com/2018/8/23/17773180/microsoft-windows-95-app-download-features

    I admit rolling my eyes hard at “Once it’s running it surprisingly only takes up around 200MB of RAM, even when running all of the old Windows 95 system utilities, apps, and games.” Given that Windows 95 at the time only required 4MB I can’t help but find this both ludicrously silly and incredibly telling about today’s approach to software design.

    But hey, I guess memory is cheap and fast these days.

    1. Vilx- says:

      Dude, that’s a FULLY FUNCTIONAL X86 EMULATOR IN JAVASCRIPT! Personally I consider it’s very existence jaw-dropping, and 200MB memory usage is peanuts for that!

      1. __rvx86 says:

        not only that, it is preconfigured with 64MB of core to begin with…..of which the 16-bit kernel uses only 2-8MB at idle…

      2. ender9 says:

        x86 emulators in JavaScript have been around for a while:
        https://bellard.org/jslinux/ (don’t worry that it says jslinux – it can boot Windows 2000)
        https://win95.ajf.me/

  7. Andrew says:

    Slackwear!

  8. Shawn says:

    Isn’t that shirt missing a few buttons?

    1. Dave says:

      The buttons will be available in a later service pack.

    2. cheong00 says:

      Possbly you can get it later with a “Plus” package.

    3. Sorry I didn’t button them all. Didn’t realize it was going to give you grief.

  9. Vivien M. says:

    Windows 95 was not released to manufacturing on this day 23 years ago; it hit retail stores on this day 23 years ago.

    And I still have my CD of the Windows 95 upgrade I bought on Aug. 24, 1995.

  10. HiTechHiTouch says:

    In a slightly different context, “slacker” meant Stanford Linear Accelerator Laboratory person.

    SLAC has a rich history of hardware and software development, and ties to the early PC days, e.g. the Homebrew Computer Club (“which does not exist”) would meet in the SLAC auditorium.

  11. It reminds of the old days of success and progress. Same theme of Windows 95 desktop background color and logo to remember that what made us to have nice environment of Windows succeeded from Windows 95.
    Cool!

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