[clug] Why MS Windows isn't ready for the Desktop

Andrew Roudenko aroudenko at optusnet.com.au
Mon Aug 2 04:30:39 GMT 2004

> Kim Holburn <kim.holburn at anu.edu.au> wrote:
> http://thelinuxbox.org/Desktop.php
> -- 
> linux mailing list
> linux at lists.samba.org
> http://lists.samba.org/mailman/listinfo/linux

Interesting article

*flame-proof asbestos suit on*

The article seems to heavily blur the lines between OS and OS+ apps, depending on 
when it suits.

"A modern desktop system should not just sport an intuitive and pleasant look and 
feel, but it should also be secure, stable, offer file compatibility, and be easy to 
configure for a plethora of uses ranging from office tools to multimedia handling. MS 
Windows is so far behind in these various areas that it may not ever catch up to its 
GNU/Linux counter part."

A modern desktop system should also sport a CONSISTENT look and feel.  The 
author appears to feel that as long as icons to launch an application are presented on 
the desktop, then that is all that the desktop has to do - it is OK for copy / paste to 
behave differently between applications, applications to use different widget sets etc.

"MS Windows is a hollow shell of an operating system that offers very few applications 
upon first boot, and the applications it does offer are of poor quality."


"If we compare that to GNU/Linux you will see that most distributions offer ooWriter, 
Koffice, and Abiword."

So the author is comparing a bare bones Windows install v a GNU/Linux install with all 
apps installed?  Comparing apples to oranges there - makes as much sense as 
comparing a Win install with Office installed v just having the LInux kernel installed.  
How about we compare Windows with OO installed v GNU/Linux with OO installed.  
Oh look, its the same app with the same functionality.  But unlike GNU/Linux I can 
also run MS Office (currently the industry standard whether we like it or not) natively 
on MS Windows.

"Microsoft's only offering is Internet Explorer. GNU/Linux distributions tend to ship with 
a multitude of browsers, but to keep this simple we will use the Mozilla application 
suite for comparison since it has become the de facto standard."

More != better.  And Mozilla can be run natively on MS Windows for free, so I am 
unable to see how this proves GNU/Linux is better?

"MS Windows XP ships with an IM client for MSN, but it will only work with others that 
are using the same instant messaging protocol. That means you can not 
communicate with those using Yahoo's or AOL's instant messaging protocols. With 
GNU/Linux you will find useful IM clients like GAIM and Kopete that will work with all 
three protocols."

Again, GAIM can be run natively on MS Windows, so how does this make GNU/Linux 
a better desktop environment?

"Let's all just say it out loud, "I have used Windows XP, and I have seen the blue 
screen of death.""

I will say it out loud, I have run Win2k for a number of years on one of my boxes and 
NEVER seen the blue screen of death.  Neither have I had problems with my 
GNU/Linux boxes.  From personal experience I would go as far as to say that from 
Win2k onwards stability has not been one of Windows' problems.  Most people who 
make these statements have not touched Windows since Win98.

"This causes a potential loss of system integrity whenever a core application crashes"

I have found Win2k to always handle application crashes gracefully, allowing me to 
shut them down without affecting other running apps.

"When it comes to security, Microsoft has made two fundamental flaws: providing 
users with administrative privileges,..."

I am unsure what the author is getting at here?  Users with administrator priveleges are 
the ones who have granted themselves administrator priveleges.  No different to a 
GNU/Linux user running as root all the time.  If a GNU/Linux user ran as root and 
stuffed up their box, is that the fault of Linux or the user?  No different to MS Windows.

"To continue my rant about Microsoft's 'everything is integrated' approach, we should 
consider another of its adverse affects. This broad sweeping integration causes any 
sort of malicious software designed to harm one of MS Windows core apps has the 
strong potential to affect everything else. GNU/Linux's modular approach shields it 
from these same detrimental affects."

Cant really argue with this point though.

"MS Windows has ports of all the major proprietary media players including Windows 
Media Player, Real Player, Quicktime, Winamp, WinDVD, etc.; but do you see the 
shortcoming there? Each media format requires a separate media player. GNU/Linux 
has a simpler methodology to handling all this. It's called codecs."

Generally Windows Media Player can handle most formats, and if not, shock horror, a 
codec can be downloaded for it.  I am unsure what the author was getting at here?

Overall, I feel the author, instead of comparing the MS Windows desktop to the 
GNU/Linux desktops, has instead compared proprietary applications to FOSS 
applications.  Desktop customisation has not been touched, look + feel has not been 
touched, intuitiveness of the GUI has not been touched, ability to lock down the 
desktop for work environments has not been touched.  Even the windowing systems 
have not been touched - X v the MS Windows windowing systems would have been 
relevant.  Instead OO has been compared to MS Office (OO can run on Windows 
natively), GAIM has been compared to MSN Messenger (GAIM can run on Windows 

To be honest this felt no less enlightening than reading MS propoganda.

*asbestos suit off*


Andrew Roudenko

More information about the linux mailing list