Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Windows 10 is Linux

I don’t know if anyone’s been paying attention, but I think there’s been a code merger between those old rivals, Microsoft and Linux. I can hear all you Linux adherents say, “What the heck are you talking about”? And, in some secret backroom in Microsoft headquarters, quiet whispers can be heard, “Oh oh, someone noticed”. Whether a merger, appropriation, or sale, it is fairly obvious that Microsoft Windows 10 has adopted much of that which is Linux (which I will document below). To be clear, it was Windows 8 that first adopted Linux, and this has now been refined into Windows 10. I failed to see it in Windows 8, however. But with the advent of 10, it became glaringly obvious.

It’s hardly surprising. Creating an entire operating system out of scratch is extremely time consuming and expensive. So just imagine how tempting it would be to use a readily available Linux template for the basis of your initiative. Linux, as you likely know, is open source: meaning, its code is readily available for your curious eyes. Microsoft Windows is proprietary, meaning you can never take a peek at its code: Even if you asked nicely. So ... if Microsoft `borrowed’ oodles of code from Linux (whether in secret or with a disto’s undisclosed permission), how would anyone know? -Because you can’t look to verify your suspicions. Plus, Google has been openly doing it for ages, and is eating Microsoft’s market share. It was time for Microsoft to wake up and fight back. Using free programmers to develop your products saves you money. And it tests consumer acceptance of any changes/initiatives it introduces.

You think I’m crazy? Ya, but that’s beside the point ... let's try to stay on topic. I would like to point out that there are several countries that are suspicious of America’s Microsoft corporate body (apparently failing to realize that in a non-communist state, there is a legally maintained level of separation between the public and the private). And due to their paranoia have indicated they are going to produce their own national operating systems. Both Russian and China have gone public with these announcements. They will use an existing open source Linux distro, pour hundreds of software programmers on it and tons of money, to make something suited to their aspersions. So why wouldn’t Microsoft do something similar?

This never occurred to me with the advent of Windows 8. But with Windows 10, after my free update, I was startled. This was what appeared to be a new Linux distro, or flavor. You see, besides Windows, I love to run Linux. So I have some familiarity with it. And I was flabbergasted to see glaring similarities. Here they are (both weak and strong):

1. Windows has moved to a password login. Previous versions had this also, but it was now more in-your-face, like Linux. Was this for increased security, or because it was already built into an existing distro mindset?

2.  Even your administrator account runs partially as a limited account.  You'll find that sometimes you'll be denied permission to do things.  Infrequently when this happens, I have to log off of my administrator account and log in a limited account (which seems counter intuitive).  This is because in a limited account, it will ask me for my administrator password, which gives me permission to do that which I was blocked from doing in my administrator account. In Linux, you always run in a limited account, and have to Sudo (enter your password) for certain operations.

3. Fast boot-up and shut down. This has always been standard operation in Linux. And this has always been a perturbance in Windows. Still, it’s not enough to make the code hi-jacking I’m inferring. But weighted with the others, it helps tip the scales.

4. View task. This is the slam dunk that cemented it for me. Linux has always had this, usually called work places or multiple desktops. This is infact the smoking gun. For me, it’s a weird feature that I never used: So finding this distinctly Linux feature, one that many users would have no use for, is blatant. Windows 8 had omitted this feature, obscuring the sibling code similarities. While Windows 8 may have hoodwinked us into thinking Microsoft had created a new operating system from scratch, Windows 10 removed the Windowish veneer, and exposed the Linux machinery below.

5. The Windows Store.  In Linux, we have the trusted repository (ex. the Ubuntu software center).  These are safe places to get apps.  For those in the know, this is blatantly Linuxian.

6. Split screen nonsense. We saw this development in Windows 8, and everyone wondered, “Why”? Some thought it was to offer a single solution to tablets as well as desktops. Others thought it was a transitional stage away from desktops. But under the scrutiny of a Linux user, what does it look like? What does it look like to have a new Metro operating system (almost googlish in an androidian way), that still offers the ability to run older windows software? ...

Well, in Linux we call that WINE (which stands for: Wine Is Not an Emulator) It’s a nice little program that approximates a Window’s environment so you can run various Microsoft programs on a Linux operating system - and it’s free and it’s open source. Imagine in Windows 8, that you had your shiny new Metro android-looking Linux operating system (now called Windows), with all the new apps and all. But instead of starting the WINE compatibility layer software program, as a foundation to run some Window’s program on top of (like you normally would do in Linux), you instead switch desktops (#3’s task view). So this isn’t so ground breaking, it's more of a distraction, a diversion, or a means of implementation. You see, it’s not really a new desktop, but the Linux emulator presented as the desktop. And to be honest, this isn’t just WINE ... this is WINE on steroids; which would make sense with Microsoft’s involvement. That’s what I think has happened. And I believe it irregardless of whether or not I’ve taken my meds.

Windows 10 is Linux. The GRUB bootloader has been dumped. The drivers are more compatible. And WINE works with virtually anything Microsoft. It’s a win win for Microsoft. It allows them to make something good, quickly and cheaply. But it’s also a win win for Linux. For Linux lives on, and has actually supplanted Windows. Now for some appropriate clichés:

“What’s in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”.


“If it looks like a duck and acts like a duck, it must be a duck”.

And I’ve never been one to argue with a duck.

No comments:

Post a Comment