Windows 8 distribution takes a page from Linux

Windows 8 distribution takes a page from Linux

Summary: For the first time, Microsoft has made an early version of a major operating system available to everyone and anyone, and I wonder where they got that idea... Hmmm, Linux maybe?

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You, yes you, can now download a copy of Windows 8. This marks the first time that Microsoft has released a pre-beta version of one of their flagship programs to the general public. I wonder where they got that idea. Could it be from Linux? After all Linux distributions has been making early versions available to the public since Linux started 20-years ago.

The Windows 8 Developer Preview alpha build, was released shortly after 8 PM Eastern on Tuesday, September 13th. The last time, debuted a similar developers preview of Windows 7 in October 2008, the company limited the early look to attendees at its Professional Developers Conference (PDC). The unwashed general public to wait until next year for a beta . That failed. Copies were leaked to BitTorrent sites within hours.

This time Microsoft elected to cut out the middle man and just release the preview to everyone... just like Linux distributors.

In another Linux-style move, all three of the Windows 8 Developer Preview images are available in .iso format disk image. That means, if you're new to playing with new operating systems, that you'll need to burn those images to a DVD or a USB stick and then boot the operating system from them. Better, and safer, still run Windows 8 in a virtual machine environment such as the one provided by Oracle's VirtualBox.

So, why is Microsoft making even an alpha version of Windows available to the general public? I think Microsoft had two reasons. The first is that while they got some hype for Windows 7 by having it available semi-legally over the Internet, they also had to deal with corrupted public copies. That couldn't have been any fun. This way, they still get techies excited about their new forthcoming operating system, but they don't have to worry as much about junk copies of their operating system floating around.

The other reason is that Microsoft may be slow, but they're not stupid. They've noticed over the years that Linux developers gets enormous amount of valuable feedback from users with every release. While, Microsoft won't be open-sourcing Windows anytime this decade; they can certainly see the advantage of having potentially millions of early testers giving them feedback.

So, smart move Microsoft! I'm not sure it's going to be enough to save Windows 8 with its wonky Metro interface from suffering a Vista-like fate, but if you actually listen to all your new beta testers, you might yet turn Windows 8 into a success rather than a Windows ME or-The horror! The horror!-a Microsoft Bob experience.

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Topics: Operating Systems, Linux, Microsoft, Open Source, Software, Windows

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132 comments
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  • Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery?

    Yes? Me thinks so.
    Dietrich T. Schmitz *Your
    • I agree. Why do you think Linux is looking more and more

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz * Your Linux Advocate

      like Windows?
      William Farrell
      • RE: Windows 8 distribution takes a page from Linux

        @William Farrell - I think you have that backwards there.... Ummm, yeah!
        LinuxRocks
    • RE: Windows 8 distribution takes a page from Linux

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz * Your Linux Advocate I would think it goes both ways.
      statuskwo5
    • RE: Windows 8 distribution takes a page from Linux

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz * Your Linux Advocate That is the only explanation for OpenOffice.
      Your Non Advocate
    • RE: Windows 8 distribution takes a page from Linux

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz * Your Linux Advocate
      Agreed, M$ once again steals great ideas from FOSS.
      The Linux Geek
      • RE: Windows 8 distribution takes a page from Linux

        @The Linux Geek

        you mean like openoffice/libreoffice or share point or exchange ya what ever.
        Viper589
      • RE: Windows 8 distribution takes a page from Linux

        @The Linux Geek If the ideas are free to begin with, how is that stealing? :)
        jasongw
      • RE: Windows 8 distribution takes a page from Linux

        @Knix96 Oh! Come on! Sharepoint is a shallow copy of IBM's Tivoli and CA's Unicenter.
        I am Gorby
      • RE: Windows 8 distribution takes a page from Linux

        @The Linux Geek

        How can you "steal" ideas from FOSS? Isn't that one of the core tenets of FOSS? Free exchange of ideas and having the code be open so you can learn from it? Serious, give it a rest. The rhetoric and platitudes are old, worn out and quite frankly are getting rather silly.
        Duke E Love
      • RE: Windows 8 distribution takes a page from Linux

        @Knix96

        So there wasn't an office suite until Microsoft released it's version of Office? (StarOffice, which predates Microsoft Office by 5 years is what has evolved into OpenOffice and LibreOffice)

        And there was never a document retrieval DB until Sharepoint came along, right?

        And of course there was never a communications server before Exchange existed, right?

        Who's copying who? The correct answer is that they borrow ideas each way. The difference is that MS doesn't have to revers-engineer to get those ideas started.
        benched42
      • RE: Windows 8 distribution takes a page from Linux

        @Duke E Love

        You can "steal" ideas from FOSS. You can copy the code and not open source the result, and not give credit where credit is due. I'm not saying MS has done this, but who really knows? (Remember the credit given to Mosaic browser in older versions of IE that MS had to do by law?)
        benched42
      • RE: Windows 8 distribution takes a page from Linux

        @The Linux Geek
        They did NOT steal.
        Everyone has been free to do this for a very long time.
        hkommedal
    • RE: Windows 8 distribution takes a page from Linux

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz * OMG you agree with that I'm totally shocked!
      ItsTheBottomLine
    • RE: Windows 8 distribution takes a page from Linux

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz * Your Linux Advocate

      Which is why everyone imitates everyone else when it comes to their software. They take the features people like the most and use them for their own. Also creates more of a uniform feel. If you even try to say that Linux has never imitated Windows or MacOS then you are crazy. Linux imitates just as much as Apple and Microsoft do all from each other.
      bobiroc
      • RE: Windows 8 distribution takes a page from Linux

        @bobiroc Apple was Microsoft's R&D division back in the 80's. Apple innovates, Microsoft imitates. Now they have Linux to imitate.
        ator1940
      • Standin on the shoulders of giants

        @bobiroc There is no shame in standing on the shoulders of giants if in doing so you give the next guy a hand getting to the next level. Otherwise it's just stealing from the common pool, claiming ownership in your own right for all that came before.
        symbolset
    • Waaaaa waaaaaa waaaa

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz * Your Linux Advocate
      Linux failing since 1990... Oh wait I have the sudden urge to use Linux.
      Thank god it was overcome by the urge to crush my nuts in a drawer.
      General C#
      • Linux has all of HPC, and most of mobile

        @General C# And a respectable majority of servers too. Between these ends it is closing on the middle. Keep laughing though. That's how we want you to be.
        symbolset
      • RE: Windows 8 distribution takes a page from Linux

        @General C#
        You DO have some weird urges.
        hkommedal