Seems the more powerful the computers get, the more they want to make use of it in the latest OS, whether it's useful features or not.
well, it's just a product life cycle. Every thing has en end, therefore it should have an end too. You can't offer better support for 10yo or so product. You can't introduce new and major features to old product (sometimes it's just technical difficulties and design flaws/limitations of current implementation and so on.). Well, ok, even if you can, but you can't do that constantly. As everything is changing so fast, you will be very limited in available dev resources when accepting every single feature request to a product. The Product is not just a bunch of features, it's more about the support that you could offer and accepting the feature requests (even and mostly in the near future, so, it's really long term thing, not just fire and forget). The faster you address the real issues and the quicker you respond to the requested changes and real world challenges, the better the product is gonna be.
so, only extremely critical vulnerability fixes and major bug fixes are what you could offer for a 10yo product. Meanwhile developing a bunch of new products :-)
the thing is that software development goes really fast when compared to another real life products. So, even a couple of years could totally change the everything. Often those changes are so internal and will never be exposed to end user, that is why end user every time gets confused by growing specs and doesn't feel the real differences in UX. Eg.: windows start button is still here, file menu is still here too. Only the buttons/window decorations get smoother and come in different shapes. So, from end user point of view, the changes are just disappointing sometimes. But, requirements for program that end user runs are still constantly growing over the time and more even faster than OS requirements.
the OS is still the tiniest, extremely fast, fine grained and intensively polished piece of software that you have even run on your h/w.
I agree that one OS could require more powerful and fast h/w than another, but it's not that bloated as you thought :-)
I also feel the OS should be more minimal so that you can run heavy programs on top of it without slowing down.
OS is still minimal and the most perfect and extremely fast program :-)
it's not the OS who is slowing down. Obviously you run heavy programs such as browser (yep, it's like the heaviest thing among the common set of programs for everyday needs), 3d games which render photo-realistic or quite similar graphics in real-time (you must be very thankfull that almost 99.9% of that job is offloaded to 3d graphic card), and so on.
for proofs just run any program manager you like to take a look at how much the OS consumes itself (CPU time and amount of used RAM). The results will probably shock you as well.
Post Merge: February 25, 2016, 10:22:51 AM
It can be nice looking and all, but they started be nice looking around Windows 95/XP (Windows 3.11 and earlier was really hard on the eyes! yuk!).
cheap, affordable and relatively fast graphic card comes to a market around these period of years. Hardware resources have become more cheaper and widely common in general over the time. So, MS just reflected/responded to this change in their products.
That is, almost every single user has got graphic card. Why should OS stay away of it and totally ignore its present? A user paid for it, so probably the user wanted to get it utilized by the maximum.
Nice looking windows decorations, buttons with shadows, smooth animation, clear and anti-aliased fonts - make UX a way better and bring additional convenience in everyday needs. Why? just because we can as we're not limited to 640k of RAM anymore