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.
The article starts off with stating that Microsoft should adopt more frequent release cycles.This is probably something we can all agree on here – it would be nice if Microsoft released Windows versions a bit more often to keep the operating system up to date and ready to face the competition. A more incremental approach to development would also make it easier for businesses and home users to keep their computer up to date with the latest Windows version – which means more money for Microsoft.
The second point is a bit silly to me. The author states that Windows should adopt a saner release versioning scheme, but I don’t really see why. Of course, it would be preferable if Microsoft stuck to the simple number scheme from now on (Windows 7, 8, 9, and so on), but in the grand scheme of things, who really cares? As long as they don’t start using silly alliterating adjective/animal combinations, I’m happy.
The author also advocates online operating system upgrades. That is very welcome indeed, and should tie in with the first point about more regular releases. If you have more regular releases, breakage between different versions is less, and that should make upgrading easier. As for keeping third party applications up to date – please don’t implement something along the lines of .deb or .rpm. While these systems have their obvious strong points, they are still flawed and archaic, just like any other popular program installation system. If you want to improve in this area, then do it right.
Better web application integration. Microsoft, please don’t waste your time on this. The social networking world is a fickle one, and people will jump from one shiny object to the next like a bunch of hyperactive magpies. I’d rather have Microsoft fixing bugs or something than wasting time on integrating the social network du jour.
The author also talks about supporting open development environments, stating Microsoft should deliver bindings for open source programming languages as well as the tools to use them. Now, I’m no programmer, but I always thought that Microsoft provided fairly decent support for things like Python and Ruby, for instance within .Net. I’m sure some of you more educated folks out there can detail this a little better.
Another suggestion is that Microsoft should slim down for the mobile world, and I concur quite strongly. While Windows 7 performs much better on netbooks than Vista does, it still takes up way too much hard drive space making it problematic to run 7 on netbooks with small SSDs (4-8GB). It would be nice if OEMs and users were given more control over Windows’ components – contrary to what the author states, Vista and 7 have seen major efforts by Microsoft to componentise the operating system. I’d love to be able to assemble my own Windows installation in a blessed way – instead of relying on third party tools which I don’t trust.
Lastly, the author suggests better device support, stating that users should no longer have to hunt down drivers separately. I guess the author hasn’t installed Windows 7 yet, because that’s exactly what Microsoft has been doing. I’ve installed Windows 7 on four different systems so far (not very scientific a sample, but still, they range from Atom single and dual-core, to Pentium IV-era, to Phenom X4) and all hardware was detected either out of the box, or via Windows Update. I’m sure it’s still not up to par with Linux, especially when it comes to printers, but it’s already improved epically.
So, what would you like to add to this list?