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Windows 8 Does Not Pose A Threat To Linux

I just finished reading an interesting article on Linux Insider that asked the question, "Does Windows 8 Pose a Threat to Linux?" The TLTR version is Windows 8 does not pose a threat to Linux because Linux on the desktop would have to matter first.

Before you start going bat shit insane on me, let me first state that I love Linux, and use Linux 99.9% of the time in my daily life. That other .1% of the time that I have to use something like Windows is only to sync up a Garmin device I use on my bicycle, and even then it is a bad excuse to use Windows (I know I can’t sync but I can manually upload my .FIT files via Linux). As a developer of sorts, I prefer to use Linux and its amazing tools to get my job done and to keep my life going. Sure, it started out as a hobby for me back in the early 90’s, but has since turned into a way of life for me.

I have done development on a Windows machine, and 75% of the time I complained about the workflow and how the tools available for Windows did nothing more than get in the way. The other 25% of the time I went out to dinner while something was compiling or I was updating the machine. Sure, that last part had a bit of sarcasm, but damn it is fairly dead on. I am one of those who prefer to use Vim (back in the day it was Emacs) to do most of my development work. Sure, I could use those in Windows, but they aren’t great at doing Windows development. My workflow with Linux is so much simpler than it is in Windows, and especially Windows 8.

Why doesn’t it pose a threat you ask? Simple, Windows already has billions of people using it and Linux only has millions. There is no threat to Linux, I repeat, there is no threat to Linux. Have you used Windows 8? If so, you know there is probably no threat to Windows XP. Sure, it is cool on the surface, and it is only a developer’s preview, but still, there is enough going on that you can figure out the direction. I installed Windows 8 on my desktop to play around with it. Note the phrase, “play around with it“, as it is nothing more than a toy at this moment. My dad, a devout christian Windows user, even a power user I guess you would say, played around with Windows 8 as well. His verdict was that there was no way in hell he would use it. Sure there is a lot of buzz out there about Windows 8, but my guess it is from people who haven’t used a Wii, saw a Windows Phone, played with Google TV, or used anything like Unity, Gnome Shell, or the KDE Plasma Netbook.

The one thing Windows 8 does brilliantly that has actually posed, not a threat, but more of a challenge to Linux, is the amount of time it takes to start. I put it on an older machine (3+ years old), and in 10 seconds it was up and running. Haven’t seen Linux do that yet. I know Canonical has been busy working on boot speed with Ubuntu, but it can’t even compare with Windows 8 at this time. Even if I put my Linux machine to sleep or hibernate, it can’t even boot up as fast as Windows 8.

So, not threat for Linux, and I doubt at threat for Windows XP, Windows 7, or Mac OS X users. One thing people need to remember is that Mac OS X users and Linux users are proud people, and use either of those for a reason, and a majority of that time the reason is because Windows sucks. OK, sucks is a harsh word, but you chose to use Linux or Mac OS X for some reason.

I am interested in hearing if you think it poses a threat to Linux, so go ahead, leave a comment below.

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  • Regularuser

    I would agree that Windows sucks. Windows 8 will just suck differently.

    • Dolphintweety

      Wow, that’s the smartest reply so far! Why not call Windows 8 simply “Window$ucks” 😉

      • Mr. Awesome

        Let’s just go on a crazy hacking mission to change every instance of “Windows” on the internet into “F41L8|_0//5.”

  • 8Bit

    “Linux users are proud people, and use either of those for a reason, and a majority of that time the reason is because Windows sucks. OK, sucks is a harsh word, but you chose to use Linux or Mac OS X for some reason.”

    An interesting but pretty much one sided article. Many
    people choose to use a Mac OS X just because it’s deemed to be hipster cool and
    more for the ascetic of Mac than anything else. Many would argue that Linux and
    Mac OS X have some hardware compatibility issues and therefore would choose a
    Windows OS for an easy life. All of devices including my Garmin syncs just fine
    thanks, with no need to mess about. I am not a Windows fan boy but I think it definitely
    has its place and sucks is rather a harsh word to describe the number 1 OS in
    terms of popularity. Thanks.

    • Justsomenamebrah

      Egads. I would actually argue against this point man. Mac OS X HW issues != Linux HW issues. Mac’s support for hardware is disgustingly limited because each of their machines is tailor-made, drivers only focused on a tightly-knit range of components.

      You compare this to Linux, which is really oriented around hardware diversity. It may not cover every component in existence, but for that matter, neither does Windows 7. So says my laptop.

      I choose Linux for a plethora of reasons. Hardware compatibility, oddly enough, is one of them.

  • I am a Software Engineer and a Linux fan (Ubuntu especially). However (with capital letters) I am using Windows in 3 instances:
    – 1) At work, even though we have unix servers, windows is the main OS on the PCs (nothing to do here)
    – 2) I am an avid gamer, and keep a Win7 installation for this purpose. Using dual-boot.
    – 3) Unfortunately I have (even though a very powerful one) an ATI video card, and can’t make my HD movies run under Linux. No matter what codecs I use, the sound/video is off. So I have to boot up to Windows to watch a 720p/1080p movie.

    The rest of my time…I spend it on Linux.

    So for me personally, Windows still has it’s uses.

    P.S. If you know a solution to my 3rd problem, please let me know 🙂

    • Oh yeah, my other use is to stream videos from a computer to the TV with DLNA. I am not a gamer, but if I were, then yes, Windows definitely. I use Intel cards, and they get no respect with Ubuntu these days, so I feel your pain there a bit.

      • My next PC will definitively have a Nvidia card 🙂 

        • Anonymous

          because you like torture 😉 The only card worth considering is the card you wrote your own driver for.  For everyone else, there will always be issues as no one is investing in getting these bits of hardware working perfectly.

          • Even though I am a software developer…I am far from writing my own drivers :). Who knows, maybe that day will come, but until then I have other plans 🙂

    • Steam-Powered Rocket Engine

      Re: #3: I can play 1080p fine on Linux with an Athlon E350. So what video/media player are you using? MPlayer is the recommended player for those large CPU intensive videos because it can be tweaked to consume less resources using simple command-line options such as -lavdopts fast:threads=4:skiploopfilter=all. VLC typically excels at playing DVD quality and 480p videos.

    • Somedude

      I don’t know what your problem is but I can run 4 HD movies on my linux box at the same time one each on the 4 faces of my compiz cube and spin them while they play. Unless you have a 10 year old ati card then your doing something wrong, For starters make sure you are installing the ATI driver which is not included with Linux and is not open source as you are most likely running the stock vesa driver which will provide poor performance like you describe.

      If your using Ubuntu just go to restricted hardware drivers and it will install the ATI driver for you. Or go to ATI and download their Linux driver and find a good tutorial for installing it.

    • Jordan4ibanez

       use new codecs that come out, and use html5 on youtube youtube.com/html5

  • Anonymous

    “Windows 8 does not pose a threat to Linux” is correct, but this is absolutely not the point.
    Okay, we all know Linux will survive anything, but we now have to focus on Linux GROWTH. I believe what is at stake is “Does Windows 8 pose a threat to Linux adoption by newcomers and hence its spreading?”.

    As I have not tried it, I am not able to answer presently.

    • I think Linux poses more of a threat to itself than Windows 8 does. I would have to say stop focusing on the growth in terms of Linux on a desktop and just let nature take its course. Canonical is really the only company that has focused on this, and sure there were some decent numbers recorded, however not enough to even put up a flag for Apple. Gorilla Marketing works but is insanely slow and Linux is proof of that. 20 years and Linux is barely a blip on the market screen for the desktop.

  • Anonymous

    The important thing to me is that Windows 8 will still not be Free Software. Although technology dead end sucking away the economy. Of course there will always be people who use windows for their own reasons, but that doesn’t make Windows good for the world.

  • Anonymous

    You don’t like the Wii? What about Super Smash Bros. Brawl or Monster Hunter Tri?

    Then again, I use the Classic Controller Pro with these games! Am I off topic?

  • Pingback: schestowitz()

  • Windows 8 is a joke for desktop systems. The average Windows 7 user will not understand the concept. I’ve tried it and had problems with tasks like shutting down the computer. It might work for Tablets.

  • Steam Powered Rocket Engine

    I’ve read about the flak that Canonical has been getting for the Unity desktop. This is an even greater deviation from the traditional desktop concept. So unless MS’s implementation is flawless, it’s going to get much more flak than what it got from Vista.

    One problem I see is that it looks neither like a cellphone or a desktop. So what is it trying to be like? The closest match I can think are the touch screen information kiosks that you can find in some malls and lobbies.

    So, to paraphrase the famous Matrix tagline: What is the Metro?

  • iMeerkat

    Microsoft has clearly struggled with mobile os over years. What I think they are trying to do is give windows a more “mobile” look. Although, this is not my main argument as to why Linux > Windows 8. Much like doctormo’s argument a free OS with a small kernel and free software is why Linux >Windows

  • Somedude

    You did not understand the threat, its not that everyone using linux will jump back to Windows ( thats never been a threat ). The point of the threat is that future PCs will use a new bios system with cryptographic keys which must match your OS kernel or NO BOOT UP. This would require PC makers to include crypto keys for linux kernels into their chips which while it would allow for using major distros at least it would disallow using any custom compiled kernels and some say it would break GPL3 open source licenses ( Since the keys would be secret in the chips ).

    So the point is MS ( Micro Scum ) wants the hardware to only run Windows 8 and it will not run Linux any more than it will run XP. So this means when your Grandma or Buddy calls and asks if you can switch them to the cool linux you use the future answer will be SORRY NOPE. Now for true nerds who build all their own PCs I am sure you will be able to still buy motherboards with BIOS and install what you want but not with Gateway, Compaq, Dell, Sony, IBM etc PCs which will be locked to Windows 8 exclusively.

    This should point out to all why Monopolies are a bad thing, as Micro Scum thinks that since they spy on you all for the US they can do anything they want even though their OS sucks and yet is the most expensive. fIf there ever was a real investigation of MS monopoly practices they would all be in jail for a long time but our Government never does the right thing.

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