Originally published at: http://www.howtogeek.com/175824/8-reasons-why-the-windows-desktop-is-awesome/
We’ve written some particularly negative things about Windows recently, focusing on the reasons why using the traditional Windows desktop can be a frustrating experience. Do we just hate Windows? Not at all. The Windows desktop is an amazing platform.
I too hate-love widoze, and have said any number of times I wish they would put some of the R&D $$$ into finding that which we would like, and will work, because like I've also said before, I miss the old "Look what I can do!" that used to come from owning a computer running Winodws.
Great Article. My only beef with it is "Have you ever tried using an iPad or Android tablet as your main device? If you’re someone who cares about productivity, you probably haven’t. These devices are still so limited that they only allow you to view one application on screen at a time." This simply not true of all Android devices. I can use split screen on My Galaxy Note 10.1 and Galaxy Note II (athough it is a bit rough on that size screen). I do college work and can chat with friends at the same time. The Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 does an even more amazing job with this. I hear rumors that the next Google 10.1 device will do this as well. I do still love m windows desktop tough!
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Beat me to it! I was about to say the same thing.
Wow! you weren't kidding when you said that you'd talk about positive things too! Good going. Nice to see this one.
Care to enlighten us as to what those would be?
I first saw a computer in 1983 and still use a program from 1987, that still works in Windows 8, and maybe I added some, like harrasing the Dutch ingeneers in the team of W 8 that during the beta , there was never a response to 16 bit, but now they gave in. This program (Perfect View) runs the orders from Russia to Italy's goldsmiths of Anghiari and feeds 15 workers there.
So, I DO agree that Windows allows you to be productive!!!!!
alex, Dutch in Tuscany
Another great article Chris. I think it would be safe to say that ALL PC geeks everywhere have a love/hate relationship with WinDoze.
We spend our days guiding others through the Microsoft forest, helping them avoid the toadstools, giant spiders, coral snakes, and ROUS's... And then for our own leisure we take a sojourn through another land, like Linux or Mac or Android, and we marvel at how clean and orderly and friendly these places are. But then we notice that we cannot hunt our favorite prey, using our favorite old Bow. And all the trees and flowers and wenches begin to seem too.. tame.
So we go back, and see again that the forest we grew up in is indeed a wild place, full of all manner of poisonous plants and predators. But it also has tumbling brooks, quiet glades, and mighty oaks.
No, it ain't perfect. But it's still home.
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Well written as an article, but many weak points. It kind of read like the same type of self-assuring cheerleading piece that Mac, Amiga, C64, and Linux users used to have to resort to in the face of the Microsoft juggernaut. Shows how much things have turned around in just the last five years or so (well, for Mac & Linux anyway).
First, 1 & 2 have nothing to do with Windows itself. The same can be said for building a Hackintosh or Linux machine. My OSX HP Probook was $550, and my Linux Mint i7 / 8GB / dual-view tower came to about $1200 including two 23" LED monitors.
-3. Software Library
Somewhat valid and yet still weak at the same time. How many different word processors, databases, or spreadsheets does any one person use? As for variation of type, I have never gone looking for anything for Windows, OSX, or Linux equally, and not found it. Including some pretty far-fetched ideas that I was sure I would have to write myself.
"lots of browser choice" - most of which started on Linux. "experience competing ecosystems" - every OS has emulaters and virtual machines. [rest of paragraph] - all of which you can do, sometimes better and/or easier on other systems too. The only thing I ever missed after leaving Windows was DeLorme's Street Atlas.
-4. Software Backwards Compatibility
Again, largely true and largely myth. Lots of things break as an OS advances including Windows. Programs broke from 95 to 98 to ME. After I got my first XP machine about 1/10 of my software had to be replaced (not updated) when SP2 came out. The second paragraph is just propaganda. And DOS / 95 / 98 programs no longer ran right or at all under ME / XP onward. On Linux most things are recompiled as the kernel changes.
-5. Oh, come on! I don't even have to say anything.
-6. True. Although, again, you're stretching it with the backward compatability thing.
-7. Not true. You can install anything on Linux and Gatekeeper on OSX has three different settings including off. Again (see #5), the only validity to this point is if you're going to compare a desktop OS to one smart phone.
-8. For the same reasons as points #3 & #4, this is just not true. I personally have never, ever, one time, installed any mainstream Linux on any x86 PC and had it fail or not be able to use some component. As for OSX, yes you have to be more careful about what you buy, but it's not like there are whole classes of components you can't use. There will be high-end graphics cards that work, multi-track audio cards, high capacity HD's, etc. Also, OSX can support a lot of add-on hardware directly - some things don't even need a driver.
Aside from gaming (a definite), about 2/3 of this article could be titled "Pretty Decent Reasons To Keep Using Windows". But "Awesome"?, "Amazing"?, [insert eyeroll here]. Hey, I'm not putting down anyone's choice, whatever works - go for it. Just be real about it too.
Look, @beirwer , if you're going to pound the man's article, you might want to mention the fact that WINE will allow you to run Windows programs and drivers on Linux as well.
Pound? It was not my intention to "pound" anyone or their work. Other than point #5, and calling his comment about Apple dropping Rosetta propaganda, I didn't think I was even being critical. I was merely stating corrections (as I saw them), and discusing points. If I came off heavy handed then I apologize (to Chris).
If you think I was being overly critical read some of the thrashings he got from the MS-shills & wSheep after the other article. "...please let your head clear BEFORE sitting down to try and write anything", "...a few too many drinks at the pub before writing this article...", "Stop bitching and learn...". Oh, that's constructive.
I did briefly mention that all OS's can run emulators and virtual machine software. It was not in the scope of my reply to go further. However, I would never recommend Wine to anyone. In my opinion it's just not that great a solution. I did run XP in a VM on both my machines for a time. But after just a few months I realized the only thing I was still doing with it was running Street Atlas, and I was using Google Earth, Yahoo Maps, and Mapquest far more.
Cheap Hardware: ok this has nothing to do with Windows. Linux runs on the same hardware as Windows so this being a plus for windows means it is also a plus for Linux thus negating it as a reason for Windows.
Hardware Choice, Including High-End Hardware same thing as #1, negated. This is a valid point against Apple but irrelevant when it comes to Linux.
Software Library: Everything you mentioned can be done on Linux as well. Netflix and Amazon Video used to be an issue but as of 6 months ago they are both supported. Every browser that is worth mentioning is available on Linux as well and as @beirwer stated most were even started on Linux. - The only thing that Windows can claim to have when it comes to software over Linux is MS Office & Large Commercial Apps. I am a web designer so I use Photoshop which means I am forced to run Windows in a Virtual Machine any time I need Photoshop. Windows has those kinds of apps at thats it. (though the software library part should also mention all of the viruses that it supports, technically those are a part of the library as well)
Software Backwards Compatibility - Except for when Windows moved from 95 - 98...then again with 98 - XP (not to mention the fiasco of M.E.) the issue happened again with XP to Vista. FINALLY Vista to Windows 7 didn't cause any issues but now Microsoft wants people to make "Metro Apps" instead of full Desktop Apps which causes confusion and incompatibility with the new Windows App Store.
Linux on the other hand, doesn't have backwards compatibility but that is because it doesn't need it. Linux based OS's are released every 6-8 months during which time developers have access to Alphas, Betas, and Release Candidates so they can make their apps compatible with the latest versions as well as the newest kernels. Linux doesn't have backwards compatibility because it doesn't need it...everything is constantly being developed to ensure that compatibility across all flavors of Linux.
For example, Windows releases one new version every 3-4 years potentially breaking things such as XP to Vista. Linux on the other hand releases every 6 months meaning that by the time Windows releases ONE TIME, Linux is on the 6th-8th release with apps all still working.
Multiple Programs at Once - come on dude...seriously? That is every desktop operating system on the planet.
PC Gaming - this one is a valid point for now but it is quickly changing to be a Linux based feature due to Valve releasing Steam on Linux and pushing the development of Linux games including releasing statistics that say that performance is MUCH better on Linux. That doesn't even take into account that Valve is releasing SteamOS and SteamBoxes which are based on Linux. So yes right now, this is a reason to run Windows, but that is quickly changing.
Open Platform - it is more open than OSX but not even close to how open Linux is. Microsoft is also pushing "Metro Apps" more so than desktop apps so they can have tablet compatibility and such. You can't even put a desktop app in the Windows 8 App Store.
"As a user, you can get your programs from anywhere and run them without worrying about app store approval processes and arbitrary rules that create categories of banned apps." - though of course you do have to worry about whether or not what you downloaded was legitimate or a virus.
"Want to install a server, or some sort of system administration tool that requires complete access" - this applies to Linux as well even more so because Linux often comes with these kinds of tools by default.
Hardware Compatibility - this is somewhat true but every new release of the Linux Kernel this becomes less and less of an issue. In fact, if you buy a new USB Wired or Wiresless Mouse and plug it into Windows then it has to search and install drivers for it. Linux on the other hand, if you just plug it in...it works because the Kernel already has support for it.
----- To close, Windows is far from "Awesome" or "Amazing"...if you like it then feel free to use it but I'm going to have to say that the fact that Linux was DESIGNED with Security in Mind from the start makes it much more AWESOME than Windows could dream to be.
I know some people are going to complain about "this linux guy" providing this rebuttle but I am only doing so because of the fact that he mentions Linux in most of this article. The majority of the reasons listed in this article applies to both Windows and Linux meaning that the reasoning is flawed for why Windows would be awesome.
The gaming stuff though is a valid point...so 1 out of 8 which will quickly become 0/8.
No no. This ain't a Linux/Mac/Windows debate. Just a well placed step-back look at what Microsoft did for us. And while I'm an extreme foam-at-the-mouth-with-Windows-shortcomings kind of guy at times, today, just happy to nod complete agreement..
This year will be 30 years since I bought my first PC, my IBM PC1 which still sits on the shelf, with it's 64K of memory and 180K floppies. I learned Basic/Assembly/COBOL and C on that machine, I played Zork, I used my 300 baud modem with acoustic coupler to log on to bulletin boards. Halcyon days indeed. Windows was still over the horizon, leave alone Linux and the Mac-cool-Universe. But its been a great and affordable journey. And it would never have been the same without MS and its Windows.
Sorry, shouldn't have called it "pound", just thought, figured you were picking points, or being picky or, well... anyway, I was just looking at the fact that the article was one that for once wasn't a "Why I/We Hate/Don't Like Wonder/Wish Win X/P/Vista/7/8..." and I started with a Timex Sinclair 1000 using Basic, moved to Commander/Commander Light and a few other variations, and then Windows came on the scene and gave us a GUI! Look, a desk top! And from there the computer moved from Tech/Geekdom only, to general public use, so while they may have fallen behind the curve on some things, memories are like Grandchildren to me, and I still wish them well (even though I go to Linux as a first choice, I still use Windows, gotta keep a finger in).
This article was one of the best that I have ever read regarding the Windows environment. Ironically, my first computer was an Apple II GS but it did not last long as the IBM clones hit the market. Businesses are still predominantly Windows and that is why, I believe, many of us have personally standardized on that same platform. I am preparing to build my own PC for the first time and many of the points raised in this article are why I am going to build it for a Windows OS.
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