The Windows 7 Wishlist – I Wish It Were Linux

Posted by: Rea Maor In: Microsoft and Windows - Monday, November 19th, 2007

What, fix Vista? Why should we? No, we’re just going to let it sink into the tarpit and start working on Windows 7. And so the “wishlist” – the list of features they’re hoping to include in the next release – is published over at Techborge.

For once, Linux users can truly afford to be smug. The list practically looks like somebody loaded up an Ubuntu CD and sent them the diffs. I’m almost ready to believe that this was somebody’s idea of a joke!

“Virtual folders/volumes for removable media.” – You know, like you mount the USB thumbdrive to a folder like “/mnt/media” on Linux?

“Delete addresses from IE7’s drop-down address bar.” – Huh? There’s no way to do this already? I know in Firefox you just highlight the item you want to use and hit “shift-delete” – the same way you clear old search entries, too, and from any text box with a drop-down list of past entries, for that matter. It is possible in IE7, but involves some finagling with the registry. So I guess they mean have it like Firefox does it.

“Desktop icon arrangement – allow me to save.” – Don’t you hate it when you get your icons sorted the way you want them, and somebody else comes along and does “auto-arrange”? Of course, Linux is able to handle the concept of just keeping the desktop clear if you so choose. To my experience, KDE and Gnome also remembers icon positions from one session to another.

“Network/Internet bandwidth monitor.” – There probably are third-party programs that do this. On Linux there’s the mighty GKRellM, which monitors any darned thing you tell it to, including network activity. Whenever somebody posts their Linux desktop screenshot to DeviantArt and it has some sophisticated, cool-looking toy along the side, that’s GKrellM. There’s also a host of dockapps that fulfill various purposes like this, and KDE and Gnome have panel applets.

“Infinite desktop, virtual desktop idea” – A very obvious jab from a Linux user. Yes, every current Linux desktop environment or window manager has multiple desktop support (TWM is not current!), and fvwm simply has a desktop that’s 9x (or more, if you set it) the size of your monitor. Who needs multiple monitors when you can have multiple desktops on one and flick back and forth between them at a key or mouse movement?

“Option to re-open closed tabs in IE.” – Firefox has had the ability to re-open closed tabs for a while, in the ‘history’ menu.

“Auto clean of temp folders.” – What do you suggest? A cron job? But actually Windows has this under “scheduled tasks” in the “System tools” sub-menu… though I think it only does things like defrag and disk clean-up. Doesn’t that remove temp files?

EnGadget jumped on the bandwagon by asking its readers what they would like to see Windows do, and the comments are a riot. As a disclaimer, yes, I know that Mac’s OS X does most of these as well, but I can’t speak from personal experience since I have no Mac.

But what strikes me is how many people use Windows, and yet they have this long list of gripes with it. Even when they are clearly in a state of “feature envy” with other systems. Take it as a sign of the times; Microsoft really is getting some stiff competition these days, and they’d better acknowledge it, or risk becoming… well, Sun Microsystems!


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