Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 19th Aug 2009 09:21 UTC
Windows Last week we talked about what Linux (well, okay, X) could learn from Windows Vista and Windows 7, focusing on the graphics stack. A short article over at TechWorld lists seven things Windows 7 should learn from the Linux world. Some of them are spot-on, a few are nonsensical, and of course, and I'm sure you have a few to add too.
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What I find missing in Windows
by ShlomiFish on Wed 19th Aug 2009 14:22 UTC
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Off the top oh my head:

1. No fork()-like system call. See:

Very useful for multi-tasking and security, and not present in Windows. cygwin emulates it using CreateProcess and a lot of hackery, but it's much slower than on Linux and other UNIX systems.

2. KDE has virtual desktops (also known as virtual workspaces). I never saw a Win32-based virtual desktop solution that worked properly. Maybe it's better in Vista and Windows 7, but I'm not sure.

3. KDE and E17 have a different wallpaper per virtual desktop.

4. A sane command line. The CMD.EXE shell sucks. cygwin is slow (but still quite usable, I admit), I don't understand or care to understand PowerShell, and Services-For-UNIX (SFU) has been neglected lately.

5. A sane default console window. CMD.EXE is absolute hate. The open source Console-2 is getting there, but still much more annoying than KDE's Konsole.

6. Fewer signals (The UNIX kill()/signal() system calls) are supported in Windows.

7. Like the author of the original article, I swear by such package management systems as Mandriva's urpmi, Debian's apt-get, and RedHat's yum. They make software installation and maintenance much easier than the Windows Download->Execute->Confirm Exception->Next->Next->Install dance.

8. One can change to a different user or run a command as a different user in UNIX very easily using "su", "sudo", and similar tools. I was told it's very lacking in Windows.

9. The Windows GUI library is awful, and incredibly inconvenient. MFC is not much better. One should note one can use the LGPLed Qt or wxWidgets (or perhaps Gtk+ or Tk) which are better and will also run mostly natively on X-Windows and Mac OS X.

Maybe Avalon ( ) is better, but I was told it is very complex.

10. I do wish the default Windows distribution was a bit more featured. Recent Windowses ship on DVDs and I'm getting more functionality from a single Linux CD. You can install a lot of high-quality open-source software on Windows (or not open-source software), but it's still time-consuming, as there are no pre-installable decent Windows distributions like there are for Linux and I still wonder what is MS wasting all the space on.

11. The open-source nature of GNU/Linux, and other open-source UNIXes (such as the BSDs, the OpenSolaris) allows me to adapt the programs to my needs, fix bugs or pay someone to fix them, study the programs, and redistribute my changes. Recently, I fixed a bug in PySolFC by editing its Python source code, and it's something I'm legally allowed to do.


I'm not saying Linux is perfect or that Windows does not have any advantages over it. But I still find working and developing on Linux a better experience than I do on Microsoft Windows.


-- Shlomi Fish.

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