5 things Windows ought to blatantly steal


In 2007 I talked about 10 things I do and don’t like about Windows Vista. So here are 5 things Windows doesn’t have that it ought to blatantly copy for Windows 8…

  1. Unified file system
    No, I don’t mean the Unix file system idea, where there is a single file system from a single root. I mean the Plan 9 idea, where a user sees a single file system – which may or may not reflect where the actual files are stored. So /home maps to somewhere else for every user, depending on who’s logged in. They’ve actually started on the idea with “My Documents”, but it’d be nice to be a bit more low-level about it…
  2. Ctrl-Alt-Backspace
    Everyone’s friend when running X11, ctrl-alt-backspace (well, on PC based systems) closes the X server, which you can then restart. TweakUI provides a partial solution for some of the reasons why you’d want to do this – corrupted icon cache – but plenty of others (memory leaks, corrupted font cache) TweakUI can’t handle.
  3. IFS files
    Probably OS/2’s best idea ever, IFS stands for “installable file system”. In other words, OS/2 Warp 3 can run FAT32 file systems, with only changes to a config file. And guess what – this was an IBM only feature Windows never replicated. Should it? In my view, without a doubt – I’m sure there’d be a market for being able to access obscure file systems enough to keep a small shareware industry going until the end of time.
  4. Multiple desktops
    Okay, so the last three have been stupefyingly, uncompromisingly, mind-crackingly technical. So here’s one that isn’t. The numbers 1 to 4, on the taskbar. A way to group applications together and switch between them, nice and easy. They did a PowerToy for XP, but haven’t updated it since – or if they have, I can’t find it..
  5. Package manager
    Linux users will know what I mean by this – package managers such as Synaptic or KPackageKit are common on Linux systems. Windows is almost there – add/remove programs, the Windows marketplace and the .msi file format – but a little more integration would be great. This would give MS a chance to distribute apps such as Visual Studio Express, the .Net framework, Internet Explorer – but give users more control over their systems and give Microsoft a nice bit of karma into the process…

So, that’s my five. Anyone got any other suggestions?




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