What can Linux learn from Microsoft?
Linux can learn from Microsoft? Nooooo. Yes, someone out there actually believes that! In reality, all the different operating systems beg, borrow, and steal from one another, and Linux-Watch’s Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols has an article detailing five things that Linux can learn from Microsoft. After reading through it, most of the author’s arguments seem agreeable, but Linux supporters may feel differently. So what can Linux learn from Microsoft?
The first item on the list is the MSDN, or the Microsoft Developer Network. It’s a great starting place for developers. It offers tutorials, samples, SDKs, articles, documentation, message boards, blogs, and everything else you could dream of when programming for a Microsoft platform. The only downside is the search, which the company is apparently working on. Linux, on the other hand, has all the things that the MSDN has, but it’s not all that well organized. Typically, I find myself going to Google when I need help with some Linux programming. Everything that the MSDN offers is available for Linux, but it’s just not all in one place.
The second item is a common interface, which basically means that the environments all look and feel the same. Some may argue that Linux is a better OS because of the options, but for a common user, it can be very confusing. Microsoft has kept the same look and feel for not just Windows, but for almost all of its applications. But as Vaughn-Nichols points out, that may change with Office 2007, and let’s not forget that the “Start” button no longer has the word “Start” on it in Vista. Egad!
Like the common interface, a third area where Linux can learn from Microsoft is in a common format. Microsoft has kept its Office formats consistent enough through the years that the newer applications can read the older formats, and they are all easily identifiable. With the Open Document Format gaining popularity, it poses a threat to Microsoft’s stranglehold on global formats, but it still lacks support from a broad range of users. In this area, Linux has learned, but there’s a long road ahead.