5 Microsoft Windows contributions to the world that Linux is yet to make.

Microsoft Windows, the dominant desktop OS in the world has over the years made some contribution to the world that the open source competitor Linux is yet to make. With all its weaknesses and shortcomings, Windows has made significant contributions to the world of computing that I think are worth mentioning. Below are 5 of such contributions.
Making computers usable for the masses
Microsoft Windows has succeeded in making computers usable for hundreds of millions of people from all walks of life on a scale that is both unprecedented and yet to be surpassed by any other OS be it Linux, BSD, Apple (or Mango lol). 9 out of every 10 people who use computers in one way or the other started with Windows. Windows simply made the use of computers a breeze: all that is required is the ability to see or hear and be able to read simple instructions. That’s all  one needs to use a Windows box in most cases. I am yet to see this kind of contribution on the part of Linux, the use of which is still a nightmare to many people though some strides have been made.
Employment
Windows has succeeded in creating employment for hundreds of thousands if not millions of people from all walks of life. There are those that service Windows boxes, provide support to institutions and individuals, teach Windows courses, sell Windows among other economic avenues provided by the OS. This point is inextricably linked to the first point in that the more users of a program you have, the greater an economic system you can build around it. Windows has the user base and thus has succeeded in creating a massive ecosystem of economic activities around it that Linux is yet to parallel.
Knowledge
A lot of professional courses have sprung up around the Windows OS. One such courses is the popular Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer. Yes I know there are such Linux courses available, but the problem with such courses is to me accessibility. I am in Ghana and I can count right on my fingers 10 places that I can walk to  and register for a MCSE course.  I do not even know if such courses are available here since all inquiries I made at the various computing centers returned negative. Also, you have entire university programs that offer Windows courses to people. You might be a Linux proponent like I am, but the fact cannot be denied that Windows has contributed to the advancement of computing knowledge the world over.
Propel Linux to the limelight
This point may sound ironic, but it is a fact that Windows, either knowingly or unknowingly has contributed to the growth of Linux in some ways. Take for instance the Windows Vista debacle, it contributed significantly to most people’s move to Linux. More and more people started asking and looking for an alternative which in some ways gave Linux some amount of exposure. This is also a contribution- giving people the opportunity to try something else- albeit one that went against Windows itself.
Ancillary products
Microsoft, using Windows as the platform, has developed some really wonderful, shiny toys that are really worth it if you have them. One such product if the XBox. Nobody can deny that it is a really cool gaming platform that entertains to the maximum. Linux is now making some steady progress in having ancillary products, but has a long way to go.
T
hese are some of the 5 contributions that Windows has made to the world of computing that I am yet to see Linux do the same. I would prefer seeing a steady progress in the world of Linux towards making significant contributions to that in the end will improve the lives of people, rather always seeing people arguing over whether yast or apt is the best package manager! Windows is full of faults and weaknesses, but its achievements are worthy of emulation by the world of Linux with all its stability and solid foundation.

16 Replies to “5 Microsoft Windows contributions to the world that Linux is yet to make.”

  1. Microsoft succeeded with #1 and #2, but then again that was how long ago? The computer industry was completely different and much more isolated for a long time.

    Completely different than the industry today. Today, computers are more appliances than the awe-inspiring techno-wizardry they once were.

    Ultimately, Microsoft claim on #1 and #2 stems from they were the first to benefit from the business strategy and with the help of locking in and using its position in questionable ways to keep in that position.

    Linux, though, is still just growing so they don't have the infrastructure for certification and such that Microsoft does. Red Hat, Novell and Canonical just cannot offer the same breadth of training yet in part because of their size and the size of Linux in the marketplace. But they are working on it.

    Does Apple even HAVE any certification or training?

    Linux was making headway even before Vista. Vista was just a lucky one-time opportunity for Linux and Apple to take some marketshare which I think they did a pretty good job of taking advantage of.

  2. Hi Drew,
    I agree with you that some of the contributions on the list were made in a completely different market terrain than we have today, however, they still are contributions none the less worth striving to achieve by Linux.

  3. Windows was not a contribution, but rather a mediocre OS with an 800 lb. marketing gorilla approach to getting Windows on every computer out there. They locked in hardware manufacturers with contracts, some later proven in courts to be monopolistic. Now fully a third of market is invested in just the broken parts of Windows. The proof: just look at the store shelves filled with fixits for registry, viruses and disks. Listen to every computer radio show: everyone dedicated to problems with Windows. All the mom and pop IT shops dedicated to Windows networks: because they know they'll always have repeat business with the problems associated with a Windows network.

  4. @Anonymous
    All that you have said is very true. But let's not forget that it was this same Windows that made the use of computers very easy for the mom and pops, grandpas and grandmas in the first place. It was not Linux.

  5. Well, #1 i would not say M$ made computers usable for masses. It just made computer idiots, that is.
    They've tried to copy Apple so hard, they've made an OS that resembles Apple's OS. But, the catch is: Apple is a hardware vendor, not software. So, they can control everything that runs on their machines. I don't know how it was in the time Mac/OS was not based on FreeBSD, but now, i think hardly any viruses can infect MaC/OS X, because its BSD's roots.

    And employment… It's an arguably question. Here in Brazil, window$ created a market for hundreds of thousands of pirate computer technicians, whose only work is to format c: and install window$ XP and M$ Office pirated copies.
    So, honest computer technicians, like myself, we have a hard time here, trying to drag folks out of piracy, trying to make people see the right path.
    And it is not the path to the window. It's beyond the window.
    As my business card states: There's a large world beyond the window. This world is Linux.

    Best regards from Brazil

  6. Hi Alex, my point about employment is actually in reference to people using genuine Windows licenses. On the fist point, at least MS gave those "idiots" the basics of computing upon which you are looking to build. I know hard it is to try to make a living in IT when you are surrounded by 'soft' pirates. That's why I tend to believe all of us in the Linux world have work to do if we are to sustain our small businesses built on Linux. I wish u all the best my friend.

  7. > Windows has succeeded in creating employment
    > for hundreds of thousands if not millions of
    > people from all walks of life.

    Employment how? Because Windows is not as easy as you put in your first bullet point — if it was so easy there wouldn't be employment for people writing A/V software, of r people setting up networking, etc.

    Computers are intrinsically very complex. MSWindows may hide this from the users better than some of Linux, but the moment you need to 'go under the hood' on a Windows machine, which is where the above-discussed 'employment' comes into play, Windows is more complex than Linux, by a long shot.

    Keeping this complexity hidden from the users, by the way, goes exactly against you point about "Windows has contributed to the advancement of computing knowledge". Windows is closed; how can knowledge be spread if its workings are a secret?

  8. Is this fud or is this supposed to be a serious article?

    Microsoft has indeed made a system used but the masses, but never one that was ready for the masses. The masses are still dependent on the more computer litterate to keep their computers safe and sound. There are now many Linux operating systems that are more ready for the masses than Windows probably ever will be.

    The fact that most people are not using it as well of most of the rest of your arguements are the result from that MS created a monopolist market and they have been convicted for doing so over here in Europe.

    As for education, there are many online places where you can get a decent Linux education.

  9. @lefty- you know, I wonder how many people you know that are really interested in knowing the nitty gritty of the workings of thier computers. Linux is still where it is because it wrongly assumes people must necessarily know the ins and out of their systems. The market however, has proved time and again that it just wants systems that do work with little hassle and if there is a problem beyond them, are happy to call in those who know. I sure don't my mom would want to know how many lines of code make up her file browser. I also wonder how many everyday Linux users you know who can set up their own networks on Linux or even change themes on their boxes. Btw, the open source dev model is not the only branch of computing knowledge around. Ms is a closed company, but ms courses taught in schs are also some form of knowledge one way or the other.

  10. Catharina, your point just goes to confirm the first point in the article. Pay a visit to just one Linux forum and you'll get to see a real demo of what u call depending on more computer literates: except that this time for very simple things that a granny will easily accomplish on a Windows box.

  11. Dear Mr. Saaed,

    As i've wrote before, M$ and window$ only made idiots dependents of their products.
    No average joe user does tinker his window$ machine. There's always the nerd on the block who fixes the issues.
    The problem right now with Linux is there's not enough nerds available to make a consistent share of the desktop market. But we are progressing every day. 🙂

  12. I don't think Microsoft deserves credit for any of the things you've stated, aside from a marketing perspective. There were several other contenders to make operating systems mainstream, and any of them could have been better than MS-DOS/Windows. MS emerged out of a culture of free software – hardware was the cost item – and put a price tag on software. Who knows what might have happened if history were different. But I don't consider their middle of the road, copycat software (name one category they created) dominance to be a good thing.

  13. HI David. I don't think I agree with you. As you admit, there were others in the competition but Windows won. Plain and simple.

    The fact that the others could have been better than Windows does not negate the fact thst Windows won.

    As to the origins of MS, I cannot comment emphatically on that point because I am still reading on that. As long as history turned out the way it it did, Windows has made some contributions worth mentioning.

  14. The key is to make it easier for people to switch away from Windows. A company called Affordy developed TITAN LEV (Linux Extended Version) – the first Linux distribution designed for users with Windows experience, combining the best of both Linux and Windows. It provides the most comprehensive solution for users looking for a Windows style experience on low-cost hardware such as netbooks. TITAN LEV is a total package that includes an operating system bundled with a suite of 150 applications for personal, home and business use. It requires less CPU and memory resources than Windows, looks like Windows, runs Windows applications, provides migration tools from Windows and is fully supported.

    TITAN LEV provides users the ability to share files between Windows computers and a TITAN LEV computer and printing from TITAN LEV to a Windows printer and vice versa. TITAN LEV also enables full synchronization between a Windows machine, or TITAN LEV desktop and a TITAN LEV laptop – a solution that is highly desired in the mobile market. See http://www.affordy.com or read the following articles:

    http://blog.israeltech.net/the-affordyable-windows-operating-system/

    http://blogs.zdnet.com/open-source/?p=4362&tag=trunk;content

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