Wednesday, October 21, 2009

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.

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By Seraaj Muneer with 16 comments

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