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Yep that is the question that has been driving the nerd in us bonkers. What possessed Microsoft to skip over 9 straight to ten.
From the Kim Komando site:
One popular theory was that Microsoft didn't want older software to confuse Windows 9 with Windows 95 or 98.
Crazy as it sounds, it is perfectly reasonable to many of Window users. Plus things started to take a turn towards the strange when Microsoft staffers showed up at last weeks Build Developers conference wearing blue t-shirts with the company’s four-paned Windows logo — only each pane was constructed out out of binary numbers. Strings of ones and zeros that didn't seem to make any sense at all.
Being developers, the conference attendees recognized the strings right off as binary. One very enterprising attendee by the name of Kevin Gosse even started to decode the strings which proved to be four separate messages, one for each "pane".
The first message read “There are 10 types of people in the world,”. You really have to wrap your head around the binary language to appreciate just how clever and funny this "play on words" is.
Remember I said that binary has only two states, off "0" and on "1". So if zero is zero and 1 is 1 what is 2? Well like every other number base, once you have used all the number in you base, you move up a column and express the use of all the numbers in your base a 1 or +1 and reset all preceding columns. So in "base 1" it is first column zero, first column 1. So now we have one of something setting in front of us until some wise guy put another something in front of us. Now we have 2 somethings in front of us. Since we can only count with zeros and ones, we now have to start another column, mark that column as +1 sets and zero out the preceding column(s). That gets us this configuration 10. I know, confusing, but remember in binary the biggest number in ANY column is 1 first column 1 is one, second column 1 and first column zero is 2 which again looks like 10. So when the blue T's first pane reads “There are 10 types of people in the world,” we actually have a play on numbers. Remember the message was in binary and 10 in binary is.......right you are 2, so the message really reads “There are 2 types of people in the world,” Here is something to think about, but solvable with the knowledge at hand, say this self-same person sets another something in front of you so you now have 3,
So we have traveled a bit astray.......
It was the second pane that told Gosse that Microsoft/Windows staffers were having a bit of fun with the developers. The decoded pane said
Windows 10, because 7 8 9.”
A minor twist on a children favorite.
Somehow it's a bit fun and interesting to note that a multi-million dollar enterprise has a healthy and a bit goofy sense of humor.