It's time we face reality, my friends: We're not rocket scientists

Raymond Chen

During the development of Windows 95, it was common for team members to pay visits to other teams to touch base and let them know what’s been happening on the Windows 95 side of the project. It was during one of these informal visits that the one of my colleagues reported that he saw that one of the members of the partner team had a Gary Larson cartoon from The Far Side depicting a group of scientists studying a multi-stage rocket ship they just assembled, but the stages are connected all crooked. One of the scientists says, “It’s time we face reality, my friends. … We’re not exactly rocket scientists.” The comic was “enhanced” a bit by the partner team. They added a sign on the wall of the laboratory that says Windows 95 Development, and the stages of the rocket are alternately labeled 16-bit and 32-bit. The graffiti were clearly poking fun at Windows 95’s attempt to straddle the 16-bit and 32-bit worlds. The Windows 95 team knew how to take a joke, and for a time, they adopted “Hey, we’re not rocket scientists” as a catch phrase.

Following up on that article from 2010: Microsoft ran a free seminar on Windows 95 development for Macintosh programmers at the 1995 MacWorld Expo. Upon successful completion, participants received T-shirts with the slogan “Windows 95 sucks less.”


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