Open versus closed software

Photo by Scott Hamilton Image shows a side by side comparison of the New Microsoft Windows 11 desktop with recent application centered in the bottom of the screen, much like MacOS has done for many years and the standard lower left hand menu bar and Ubuntu Linux Desktop sporting nearly the same layout, the only subtle difference being the main application menu being at the top of the screen. Both the top open source and top closed source operating systems seem to mirror MacOS

By Scott Hamilton

Senior Expert Emerging Technologies

I found it interesting that last week I focused on the relevance of open source software in not only our everyday life, but also in the adventures of space exploration, and this weeks top story in technology is the latest release of Microsoft Windows. Windows by its very nature is closed source, meaning that you must always rely on Microsoft as the vendor to ensure that your systems are secure. 

I have been working with computer systems for more than three decades and it has always amazed me that Apple was among the first to develop a graphic user interface and it has not changed much at all over the years. Microsoft tried something “new” with Windows, allowing multiple applications to display on the screen simultaneously, but it wasn’t long before every graphical interface allowed multiple “windows” on the display. They tried to patent the idea but found out the Xerox already held the patent. Xerox decide to let the patent infringement slide because their primary business was paper and print media.

Xerox did us all a favor and allowed the “windows” patent to become openly useable. Linux and Apple both developed their own window-based user interfaces and there was no turning back the clock.  Xerox lost out on billions of dollars in license revenue on the system, but Apple is the one that perfected it. Linux and Windows have always been a little behind Apple in user friendliness, but the latest releases of both show they are finally catching up.

Microsoft announced their new design this week for the upcoming fall release of Windows 11. The primary focus of the release is a cleaner user interface (i.e MacOS look alike), a new Application store (think Apple Store and Google Play), and performance improvements.  It’s easy to see the visual changes to the system, but performance is a little harder to see. One of the main performance enhancements addresses an issue that has been hurting both Linux and Windows lately, and that is process management techniques. As computers keep getting more and more cores there is an issue managing the number of processes (think applications) and what resources they need next.

The new Windows 11 will also add the ability to run Android applications directly from Google Play on Windows 11 based computers without having to run additional software for support. For more details on the latest release visit my friends over at “The Verge” and read their excellent review of the coming release. https://www.theverge.com/2021/6/24/22546791/microsoft-windows-11-announcement-features-updates

Until next week stay safe and learn something new.

Scott Hamilton is a Senior Expert in Emerging Technologies at ATOS and can be reached with questions and comments via email to scott.hamilton@atos.net or through his website at https://www.techshepherd.org

y