What Windows got right

I've been a Linux user since 2007, and since that time only used Windows sporadically - mostly on other people's computers. The long experience with Linux has allowed me, however, to spot some flaws that have for some reason gone unnoticed by the developers and even by the users. Not that I have an intention to praise Windows - Linux is of course vastly superior - however, there are things that it got right even 15 years ago, that Linux still struggles with - and since no one else mentions them, I will be happy to take that job.

Video game support

One of the most common reasons people are reluctant to switch to Linux. Needless to say, in Windows games just work - while the less said about Wine, the better. Nothing has made me rip more hair out than fucking Wine - it had problems running even 20 year old games. Sound or videos not playing, color distortions, random crashes are just some of the issues I've encountered. I've even had one very old game fix itself into a really small window size for some reason. And this is regardless of the convoluted WineHQ "solutions", which rarely actually work - that is, if your game is even there. Frontends to Wine just reek of desperation - PlayOnLinux keeps a different Wine version and configuration for every fucking game - talk about inefficient. And of course, only certain games are supported. If more developers coded games with Linux support, this wouldn't be such a huge problem - but for now, the massive advantage Windows has cannot be denied.

Graphically displaying errors

Since at least W98, anytime that an application couldn't run or crashed, Windows showed a dialog box with information on what went wrong. In Linux, you have to launch a program from the terminal if you want to see the errors. That, however, does not mean they will be human readable - while in Windows, if there's a DLL missing for example, you will always know.

Interactive help tool

Windows, since at least 98, has included a great, interactive help tool that can diagnose and fix problems with audio, graphics, internet, everything. In Linux, "help" means reading barely intelligible man pages - and even then, you have to know what you're looking for. Though some distros do try to include general help tools, they're almost always online, and never interactive like Windows'. Or you can go on the Internet, and deal with fanboys telling you to RTFM (that doesn't exist).

System Restore

Who here has gone without ever breaking his Linux system? Raise your hands...okay, I don't see anyone. Windows keeps several snapshots of your system so that whenever you break it, you can just bring it back to some point in time when it was still working. Linux offers no such functionality - you're going to have to dirty your hands and fix the breaks manually (however, sometimes it isn't possible, like if you fuck up glibc). A common criticism is that the snapshots would take a lot of disk space - however, Linux could keep a list of packages that were changed during the last day, for example - and offer to reinstall the old versions. But it offers nothing like that at all, which is a big flaw compared to Windows. This is regardless of whatever criticism might be levelled at Windows' System Restore - at least it has something compared to nothing whatsoever in Linux.

Easier program installation

Though I love repositories - you have to first find the correct ones, know the name of the program you're looking for, and deal with possible dependency issues. Any new package in Linux can break shit - if it needs a certain version of a library and you install it - another program that required an OLDER version of the same library will not work anymore. That's even if the package is actually in the repos - otherwise, you need to compile from source - an insurmountable task for a Windows refugee. On the other hand - in Windows, you just go to the developers' website, download the program, run install.exe and that's it. AppImages and such have tried to remedy this - but to be honest, I am not actually suggesting the Windows way is better - just easier. As I said, I love repos and wouldn't trade them for anything - but newbies might have a different opinion.

Availability of certain software

Now I don't know too much about this, but Linux does lack suitable replacements for certain programs, according to the people who use them. Some commonly mentioned ones are AutoCAD, Photoshop, as well as video editing software.

An actual firewall

With all the hoopla about spyware, you'd think tackling that issue would be a priority for any sane operating system. Windows has for a long time had an in-built firewall which can block or allow certain applications from connecting to the Internet. More thorough solutions also exist - that, for example, tell you when an application is trying to connect to the Internet, or ones that inspect the actual traffic - see ZoneAlarm or Comodo. On the other hand, Linux is stuck in the security stone age, where every application can connect whenever and wherever it wants to, and you don't even know it is doing these connections.

Microsoft Paint

The formula for the perfect simple painting program was already established more than 20 years ago. It's so simple, so intuitive, a child can easily grasp it - everything just works. On the other hand, Linux "replacements" for it, such as mtPaint or xpaint, simply suck. The only good one is KolourPaint - but that is because it tries to copy Microsoft Paint 100%. However, I'm not going to deal with the fat KDE dependency just to use it.

Greater focus on looks

I remember my first computer...it had Windows 98 on it, and of course, as a child I undertook the adventure of exploring it. Checking out all the different wallpapers, icons, cursors and screensavers (that it had by default) was great fun. Then, 7 or so years later I've went into Linux expecting the same thing, but it wasn't there - and still isn't. Sure, you can change themes in XFCE for example, but they're all gray and boring. Creating your own GTK theme is a nightmare, while Windows has an easy to use color editor. Linux icons are same old same old - forget about flowers or things like that. You're lucky if you get a wallpaper that isn't a penguin or the distro name by default. Every theme in Windows had different sound effects - many Linux distros don't have any at all. And don't even ask about animated cursors...

Summary

Does this mean Windows is superior? Obviously not - its issues outnumber Linux' by about ten to one - but the advantages it does have must be mentioned, and rarely are. The Linux community has too much fanboys in it, and they will often attack any suggestion that something might be improved, so this article should serve as a cold shower for those people.

Last updated: 18 / 09 / 2018

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