handyfloss

Because FLOSS is handy, isn’t it?

Windows 7 wishlist

Posted by isilanes on November 18, 2007

I came across a blog post [es] talking about Windows 7, the planned sucessor of the current Windows Vista. The same can be found elsewhere, e.g. in Ars Technica.

The article summarized some features that Windows users would like to see in W7. You can also see a picture with the whole W7 wishlist. What struck me was that, although the Redmond giant tried its best to copy every single innovation from free software, they still missed important points that users value enough to make a wishlist out of them.

Some points in the list are new and exciting. Some others are everyday things for us free software users, and it’s so amazing that Windows still does not include them:

  1. Request for an integrated font manager
    One of the problems of proprietary software: the pieces each programs uses (including fonts) are property of the maker, so sharing is largely hindered. In Debian we have things like Defoma, and font management is quite lean in any distro, anyway.
  2. Explorer toggle button to quickly show/hide hidden files or system files
    Files starting with a dot are hidden in Linux. All file managers I know of have the hability to show/hide them with a click or a shortcut (Ctrl-H in Thunar and Nautilus, no default but configurable shortcut for Konqueror).
  3. Network/Internet bandwidth monitor
    Most, if not all, docks/taskbars in FLOSS desktops (Xfce, GNOME, KDE…) have a widget for that.
  4. DirectX update on Windows Update/Microsoft Update
    I use Debian, and it manages the installed software with APT (other distros have other systems). With it, I run “aptitude update” and it searches the online repositories for the last version of all the packages that exist in them. When I do “aptitude safe-upgrade“, it automatically upgrades all the packages for which there are updates, and notifies me if some upgrade requieres to install a new package (without upgrading it until I agree to install that new package). And it’s been like this for years.

  5. Infinite desktop, virtual desktop idea
    Although it probably refers to zooming interfaces, Linux has had the idea of virtual desktops for years.
  6. Profile data: Move locations of all user folders and data to another location
    This is trivial in Linux since the dawn of its times.

  7. Option to “Reopen Closed tabs” in IE
    Firefox has this option through add-ons like Tab Mix plus. Not only that, but many other things are possible, like: periodic reloading of some or all tabs, closing all tabs but the current one, duplicating tabs (along with all their history), freezing tabs (so they can not be accidentally closed or moved away from), change the name of the tab…
  8. Auto clean of Temp folders
    Temporary file management in Linux is flawless. I never saw a tmp location full because the system forgot to clean it.
  9. Provide Manual Duplex Printing in Windows Pring Dialog
    It is really lame to need to ask the maker of a big, monolithic, OS for stupid changes like that. The printing dialogs should be made by the desktop environment (a small part of the OS), or the application, and it should communicate with the printing server (another smaaaaall part of the OS). Details like that one should be fixed by updates in only one/some small packages related to the desktop environment.
  10. IE should have a close button on each tab
    See point 7.
  11. Disk Manager needs to have the ability to expand partitions
    Tools like GParted make partition management a breeze. In Windows, you need commercial third party tools for that. Tough luck.
  12. Image (ISO, BIN) support in Windows
    What? In Windows you can not mount ISO images as if they were actual filesystems? In Linux, you sure can.
  13. Family license
    It must suck to buy a copy of the OS and being able to use it only in one PC. With Linux and free software, you obviously don’t have this problem, and you don’t need to go crying to your dealer for a more mercyfull license
  14. No dialog should take keyboard focus away from what you are doing
    With all serious desktop environments, you can configure this behaviour, as well as if focus follows mouse, or if you have to click on a window to make it active and so on.
  15. Patch operating system without having to reboot
    With Linux, you only need to reboot if you install a new kernel (you can’t use a different kerner without rebooting). For everything else, you don’t need to.
  16. Add folder size to data displayed by Windows Explorer
    Wow, it must suck being stuck with a single choice for a file manager (or any other task), and not being able to configure stupid things like that to your liking. Another con of Windows, I guess.
  17. Live CD or DVD to boot from to recover from a crash or virus that would allow to transfer files
    But there is a tool for that task on Windows! It is called “Linux Live CD”, and many distros have it. I have read that it is pretty popular among some Windows users: when their system is utterly destroyed, a Linux Live CD can save the precious data in their disks.
  18. Disallow removable (USB/Firewire) drives to default to next available drive letter when the letter is already used by other network drives
    I know the issue of wanting to have permanent names for given devices, no matter what. The solution is called udev.
  19. Windows Mail should be minimizable to the system tray
    I use KMail and it is. Probably Thunderbird is, too. By the way… ever guess how similar to the former two Windows Mail is (by the looks in the Wikipedia article)?
  20. Command Prompt should be improved
    Hehehe. I have no words.
  21. Integrated Anti-Virus
    What is a virus? Please explain, I’m an ignorant Debian user!
  22. More desktop themes should be offered in the default installation of the next version of Windows
    I thought Windows users wanted consistency and simplicity, and everything to look the way uncle Microsoft wanted. In Linux, we have soooo much to choose from. You doubt it? Take a look at KDE-look.org, or Xfce-look.org.
  23. IE direct download – do not download to temp folder
    With any free browser (e.g. Firefox) you can choose the default dir for the downloads, and you can choose for each download where to put it (if you don’t want it in the default folder). Is it not like that in IE?

Maybe some slipped through, but I’m too tired to be more throughout.

One Response to “Windows 7 wishlist”

  1. Red Five said

    On point #10: IE7 does have a close button on each tab; it just doesn’t appear on a given tab until that tab is selected for viewing.

    #23: I’ve often wondered about the IE download behavior myself. You can choose where you want the file to end up, but it always downloads it to a temp folder and then moves it to your chosen destination. Meaning, of course, that if your download is larger than the available size on your user profile drive, it will

    #18 is highly annoying, especially if you’re a tech who uses his thumb drive on dozens of PCs regularly…

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