Microsoft BOB lives!

Microsoft BOB lives in infamy. 

BOB was a graphical shell that ran on top of Windows 3.11 and Windows 95.  It attempted to replace the traditional desktop environment with a visual representation of a house; where all your programs were objects in the house.

It sounds like a nice idea, but it was an abysmal failure in the market place.  As a result very few people actually know about BOB these days, and those that remember it tend to cringe when they hear about it.

I am an ‘Operating System’ enthusiast by nature, so when I first came across Virtual PC from Connectix (I was one of the first people to sign up for the initial beta program for the first version of Virtual PC for Windows) I immediately set about trying every operating system I could find under Virtual PC.  However; I was not able to get my hands on a copy of Microsoft BOB until the Connectix technology was acquired by Microsoft.  One of the first things I did as a new Microsoft employee was to search the file archives, find a copy of BOB, install it under Virtual PC and go: ‘Yes! It works!’ (I then emailed screen shots to my entire team).

In the end we ended up making internal team shirts for Virtual PC which had written on the front ‘What about BOB?’; and on the back ‘BOB has found a new home, Microsoft Virtual PC 2004, Yes – it even runs BOB’.

One of the amusing aspects (to me) about BOB is that everything in the house is a scalable vector object.  This means that you can make some fairly funky changes to the display (as shown in my ‘house burning’ screen shot below):


Hmm…Not sure that there is much more that should be said – apart from BOB lives! 🙂