The desktop space has witnessed an intense battle over the entrenched Windows OS and the upstart Linux. Linux versions such as Fedora, Mint, and Ubuntu have gained considerable popularity over the years, owing to its free distribution, and many intuitive capabilities not matched in Windows.
The launch of Windows 10, however, threatened to derail Linux’s aspirations, and confirm Windows’s dominance in the desktop OS space. That Linux always had a perception of being complex and troublesome helped to solidify this thought.
Windows 10, with its intuitive design, aesthetic user interface, and overall neatness, makes for a prettier version of Windows, compared to the earlier versions. However, there are several limitations under-the-hood, and there is no real reason why any Linux user would want to switch camps.
1. Confusing Interfaces
Microsoft has messed up its interfaces. The company innovated with “Live Tiles,” which displays app data, instead of static image icons. This unfortunately has backfired, owing to the human mind’s traditional association of symbols with something. For instance, almost everyone associates a parking cone with VLC player. Displaying the image of a song instead only leads to waste of time figuring out what exactly is it, and hence loss of productivity for most users. Moreover, Microsoft has reverted to its traditional start menu in Windows 10, making live tiles sort of redundant.
In contrast, Ubuntu sticks to traditional icons. It has done away with the obsolete start menu, and instead allows users to lock all favourite apps to the dock.
Windows 10 actually phones home to Microsoft by default! What makes matters worse is that there is no clear cut way to turn this data-siphoning and privacy violating feature off. It actually requires a third party solution to completely shut it off. In contrast, Linux respects user’s privacy.
Ubuntu also sends search queries to Amazon, and the data transmitted includes SSN or password contained in a document. However, the difference is the availability of an easy way to opt out, by simply deselecting a single option from the privacy setting.
Windows has always been in high risk of malware attacks. Microsoft’s poor choices, such as ActiveX technologies, continue to place many users at risk. For instance, it is still possible in Windows 10 to install software without a password, or the user’s explicit permission. Ubuntu, in contrast is rock solid, and it requires social engineering and tricking the user into doing something foolish, to compromise and infiltrate the system.
A case in point – very few Windows users can expect to work smoothly without anti-spyware and anti-malware apps, such as CCleaner. Such apps are not required in Ubuntu.
Windows 10, is in a way, a recovery from the disaster that was Windows 8. While Windows 10 mitigates the inconsistent environment on Windows 8, it is only playing catch-up, and even here not everything is fixed. While apps no longer run full-screen only, and run in the same environment as legacy programs, there is now a new “Settings” menu, in addition to the traditional “Control Panel”. It is not clear where users should go, to change something. The experience is vastly different in traditional apps and store apps, as well.
Making changes to the default setting, such as changing Bing to Google, is cumbersome. Moreover, it still lacks in certain key features, such as SSH (Secure Socket Shell), and users have to download PuTTy. Removing the Windows 10 Education watermark from a genuine copy is even tougher, and requires downloading a third party editor from an external website,
Ubuntu, in contrast, offers a single settings menu, with a cohesive and consistent interface. Users are rarely confused over jarring design principles.
Windows 10 is makes for pretty viewing, and supports all the latest software and games. However, there is nothing Windows OS can do that Linux cannot do. Moreover, Linux does not get in the users’ way, while Windows 10 still does.
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