Vista is a Linux Clone (Screenshots)

I’ve come to the conclusion that Vista is nothing more than a Linux clone. I run Gentoo linux along side Win XP on my desktop machine; and Suse 10.1 on my Lenovo laptop. After trawling through the many lists of features that Vista has, and playing with the Beta editions myself, almost all of it’s new “user” features are clones of features that have existed in Linux for months, and in most cases years! I find this rather funny, since people will be paying for features they could have for free. Linux costs nothing! Absolutely nothing! In my experience of using mostly Linux for over 7 years, it’s an all-round better system than Windows. To begin, many people will be familiar with tabbed browsing, thanks to Firefox or Opera. I find most of my tabbed browsing these days in when copying files between two folders in Konqueror (click the image for a larger version).
Multi-Tabbed Konqueror
After using Linux exclusively for more that 4 years, and having to go back to running Windows (for work reasons), the first thing I did after opening Windows Explorer was hit the ‘CTRL-SHIFT-N’ keys (the shortcut to open a new tab in Konqueror). As you can imagine, I was rather frustrated when nothing happened. It’s one of those things: when you’ve used something for to long, you get used to it.

One of the biggest features of Vista (besides Direct X 10, which I will get to later on) is the Aero interface, and how wonderful it looks. I’m running KDE 3.5 at the moment (looking forward to KDE 4), and one of the wonderful things about KDE is that you can completely change the way it looks. Suse, Kubuntu and all other KDE based Linux’s come with any number of “Styles” (the look of the buttons, text boxes and so on) and “Window Decorations” (the title-bar; minimize, maximize and close buttons; and border of each window) for you to choose from (my personal favorites are the “Plastik” style with the “Crystal” window-decoration).

This morning, I finally got around to enabling the Composite extension on my laptop (just been to busy with work to do that). This enables hardware-acceleration for your windows, lets you fade them in-and-out they grow shadows, etc. etc. etc. All the lovely things that people will be paying for in Vista. Another cute note: Crystal has the Vista as one of it’s options (click the image for a larger preview). So if you wanted your Linux machine to look like a Vista machine… No problem!Crystal Button Options

So Direct X 10… The “big” question. Linux doesn’t support Direct X directly (hehehe). Wine and Cedega do a surprisingly good job of it though (having run many games under normal Wine, and often at better frame-rates than my friends get under Windows). To my knowledge, the 3D drivers for Direct X 10 are still in their infancy, where the Open GL drivers for Linux from Nvidia, Intel and ATI are very fast, and very stable (though my old ATI drivers don’t cope so well with my 64bit machine). Open GL has one massive advantage over Direct X. Where new feature to Direct X require a new release, Open GL supports extensions. This means that graphics card manufacturers can develop simpler drivers, and simpler drivers means better performance, and more stability. Simple as that (note: I have developed software mode, Open GL and Direct X 7, and 9 applications).

Now for some fun tricks that Linux has up it’s sleeve. Suse 10.1 (and many other versions of Linux) come with Beagle out the box. Beagle does to your hard driver, what Google does with web pages. Indexes them, and lets you search them very very fast. On my machine I just need to press ‘F12’ or ‘ALT-SPACE’ to get Beagles friendly search window pop-open. From there, I type something of what I’m looking for, and in generally less than a second I’m looking at the results. What I was looking for is almost always within the first 5 results.

Splits and Tabs in Konqueror
Konqueror has both tabs, and split-windows, to give you an idea of what this allows, check out this image (click it for the big version). In case you havn’t figured it out by now, Konqueror is like windows explorer, or the “My Computer” icon in Windows. What you’re looking at here is my “Work” folder in one tab, and the tab you’re looking at is my “Images” folder, along side Google. Konqueror is also a Web Browser, FTP client, and many other wonderful things.

Now, in not one of the screen-shots I’ve given so far, can you see just how cool Linux can be when you add all these cool bits together. Bare in mind, all the software can be found on the Suse 10.1 DVD, no extra installing or downloading required. Also note the little square icons next to my custom made (took me about 3 minutes) “Launch” button, those 4 little boxes are four virtual screens. A bit like “Tabbed Screens” if you like.

I don’t aim to convert everyone with this blog entry, but I do hope to raise the awareness of just how far Linux has come since the days of a white-on-black console based system. Linux is a high speed, highly stable, user friendly and easy to use operating system, and I han’t even scratched the surface of the features it has. If you havn’t tried it in the past 6 months, go grab a copy of Kubuntu or Knoppix and try it out off the CD. You don’t even have to install it to try it out, just put in the CD and reboot, when you shutdown Linux, your computer will reboot in Windows again.

Full Screenshot Full Screenshot


18 Responses to “Vista is a Linux Clone (Screenshots)”

  1. Lijin Says:

    Hi Lemnik,

    Being an opnesource person I really enjoyed this post 🙂 Most of the features are cloned from Mac too…

  2. Inez Wells Says:

    This blog is really superb!!! Thank you for you work! Good Luck.

  3. Chewbaaca Says:

    The Linux world is full of hearsay and conjecture, first off XP has been on the market longer than Suse. Second all operating systems, tend to look the same regardless what company makes them. If beggars become choosers and looks is all the eye candy we can sue each other over, it’s like having two cold wars that literally cancel each other out. Also Vista is not all about just Directx 10, it has core features that make it more robust than most server distros. The fact you distro geeks have nothing better in mind, shows that you lack proper reasoning. Microsoft business solutions are actually worth the price, the reason I say this is because an operating system alone means nothing if its core features are not there. It comes packed with software that actually works, sure there are bugs in MS environment. However in the distro world you have to rewrite lines of code to fix broken or at times missing links within open source components, I’m sure you could argue that this caveat makes Linux overpowering. However if you enjoy debugging software that should run at start, it sort of makes you rethink your place in the cosmos.

    Lets talk about security, we no longer compare Vista and Linux because in the department they are at equal terms. Just like Linux, Windows also went through evolution. We can’t compare say windows 3.11 to VIsta, nor could we compare one distro to another. However, what comes down to is stability, the fact you don’t here people complaining about issues on Linux does not mean there aren’t any that would implying its a perfect OS. But theres a problem with that analogy you see, nothing is perfect, Linux in all its glory suffers just as many flaws and holes in security when compared to something like xp. For lack of a better word it is called organization, something open source lacks otherwise we wouldn’t be seeing millions of distros.

  4. Response to a Vista comment « Techno Lemming Says:

    […] to a Vista comment 6 06 2007 This post is a response to the following comment, posted on my blog. Since the poster failed to leave any contact details, I feel I should post a […]

  5. tovorinok Says:


    Great book. I just want to say what a fantastic thing you are doing! Good luck!


  6. smee Says:

    Chewbaaca (02:01:39) :

    Are you a microsoft employee?

  7. Jason Says:

    You must be joking! right?

    By a general rule, I avoid working for big companies. I’ve done it before, and I generally don’t like being “just another cog in the machine”.

  8. Idetrorce Says:

    very interesting, but I don’t agree with you

  9. Brent Says:

    What do you have against big companies? Don’t tell me you are one of the wackos that assimilates what operating system or software you use into your political ideology…

    My ideology in terms of software (which is completely separate from my political beliefs) is that I prefer the best, whatever it may be, and that is the standard which I go by, not if the source is available for me to (not) edit. If you are poor that is one thing. Many great free software is not open source. I will use what is best and not limit myself like some people unwisely do.

    If you are not marketing Linux (officially), why do you care whether or not I use it? Isn’t the end result of my production what matters, not the environment from which I produced? What difference is it to you?

  10. Jason Says:

    Hi Brent,

    I have nothing against “big companies” in normal life. I simply don’t like to work for companies that are “to large”. How do I define that? I don’t really, it’s just a gut feel when I’m considering applying for a job.

    My Operating System choice is based entirely on my productivity. I am 4 to 5 times as productive on a Linux system (Gentoo, Suse, or Kubuntu for best results), compared to my productivity on a Windows system.

    I do have a Windows XP / Kubuntu dual boot PC, XP is there for all the old games I play every now and again.

    I have nothing against closed source software. Almost all the software I develop is closed source.

    On your final point: I don’t care what you use, really I don’t. It’s a matter of personal decision. I’ve worked with many versions of Windows (including specialized corporate builds), and I always find myself wishing for a linux machine when I’m using them.

    I use several closed source packages in my everyday life, some free, most not. I’m not an open-source fanboy / troll / flamer / whatever, I’m someone that finds themselves happier running linux than I ever was running windows.

  11. Brent Says:

    It’s all good. I like Linux as a server. I just find that for a workstation, it doesn’t cut it in most cases, especially in terms of producing graphics, sound, and video –multimedia. I want my OS to run whatever I want it to run, not what someone else tells me is good to run because they think it is more righteous or not in terms of x, y, or z.

    You may claim to not be a fanboy. I believe you. However, the vast majority of those who hate and bash MS, do so for no reason, other than the fact that they want everyone to be like them. Too bad. And yes, they are fanboys. Look at all of the Ubuntu fanatics, who before their brief experience with Ubuntu, have no prior knowledge for which to base their claim that Linux is better than Windows. Better for what? Nobody ever really specifies, at least realistically, do they?

    Almost every worthwhile open source application has a Windows port to the Linux counterpart. So why run Linux other than for ideology or because your system is so low end, that you can’t run Windows on it (and that machine would really have to be low end), in which case, I’d doubt that you’d get much production done anyway?

    Granted, there are multimedia production applications that run on the Linux platform –some of them really good. However most, if not all of them that I have used, are not applications that I can use to quickly produce multimedia for clients– immediately. They are clunky, buggy, and far too geeky for most people; they require plugins, tweaks, configurations, etc. I don’t want to edit code. It isn’t that I’m not geeky enough to make them work. I am; I can. I just don’t have the time; and time is money. Nobody cares what software I use, they care about the quality of the product produced, and the time that it takes.

    How in the world are you 4 to 5 times more productive on Linux than in say, Windows or Mac? I suppose it depends on the type of production you are speaking of. The kind I speak of puts food on my table and a roof over my head — the kind that people pay me to produce. If all I had to use was Linux and the Windows “alternatives” that it provides, I’d probably be in pretty big trouble financially. I’m far from rich, but since I am so productive, let’s just say I’m not late on my bills.

    If by production, you mean code in a text editor, I’ll grant you that. Notepad.exe is pretty lame and plain, while some of the text editors in Linux have many more bells and whistles. Some people like that. I happen to prefer Notepad2 for Windows. Don’t get me started about emacs or vim. It’s the 21st century for crying out loud!

    If I had to guess, your production ratio is all in your head because you have a vendetta against MS. That is quite clear. It’s all good. You use Gimp and I’ll use Photoshop and we will see who sells their production for the highest price.

    Dude, there is no way that Vista is a Linux clone. Linux is a kernel first of all. So you should be more specific, because it makes you look somewhat ignorant on the subject. No offense.

    Windows has consistently looked very similar throughout all of its releases, and most of the UI features in Vista are also in XP. Has Linux been so consistent? If anything, I’d say that KDE is a clone of Explorer. However, both have moved in different directions over the years.

    How long have you used KDE? I have used it since 2001 before most people had ever even heard of it –while in college studying advanced networking between Windows 2k AS, Red Hat Linux v7, Oracle DB, Novell Netware, and other entities. Before KDE 3x, it pretty much looked much like W95. Most features of KDE tend to mimic the Explorer shell, not the other way around, as you claim.

    Do you have the same contempt for Apple that you do for MS? Why or why not? Apple bundles far more software than MS, in fact, they use it as an advertising campaign! Didn’t MS get sued by the government (liberal judges and lawyers) for doing the EXACT same thing?

    Comparing Linux and Windows is like comparing apples to oranges. Linux is a server OS (to people who matter), and Windows is a desktop application OS.

  12. Jason Says:

    You clearly love to troll, then again, this whole post is a big troll on my part as well 😉

    And for the record, my productivity is all about keeping paying clients happy.

    Productivity is a entirely about your familiarity with your working environment.

  13. Pravin Dahal Says:

    @ Chewbaaca
    You must be a M$ Employee for sure to say things like that.

    And another thing that surely proves the title of this blog (“Vista is a Linux Clone”) is the different Admin levels. That we are having for very looooooooooong time in Linux (the root account)…

    And however, while reading the article, any M$ employee will think that we want Linux to be like windows, don’t be fooled. We are happy that Linux is different.

  14. Mikael Says:

    The only problem you’re facing is that noone yet has made linux a beautyful OS, it looks like shit, it always has and it will probably continue doing so.

    Yes there’s a few like ubunty etc, but those still looks like shit!

    Sorry to say, linux negative side is there’s no designers working hard.

    Compare it to Vista or OS X Leopard, linux is nowhere near.

  15. Jason Says:

    @ Mikael

    I happen to disagree with you. Linux looks like whatever you want it to look like.

    Thats the beauty of themes. While some people prefer a minimalist look, I prefer a bit of eye candy (so I run with the Crystal GL Window Decoration in KDE. Offers me transparent window borders with refraction and blurring, etc. etc. etc.)

    Under any distro, when you say “the look”, you’re talking about “the default look”. Linux (or rather it’s Window managers) is theme-able, just like WinAmp or some such 😉

  16. Remi Dallaire Says:

    Good lord guys can`t we just get along ?

    Listen. I love windows and I love linux.

    There I said it !!! hehehe.

    Windows is there because little Bill got on the ball selling MS dos to the PC world at the time. Yes once upon a time there was DOS. Remember ? Good for bill and good for us because windows did have a great evolution from this simple fact in time.
    Plus it gave us something pretty stable in XP and NTFS. And I can go on.

    Now Linux is cool and always will be. Why ? It`s unix for PC.
    Shit I remember working on Ultrix mainframe and be amazed
    at what I could do with a simple prompt. Hell many prompts on the
    same terminal.

    If I give you a free beer…..will you take it or fuss at me because it is
    cheap beer (a lone star or a michelob) ? Linux is free….. free dude !!!! I think it did alright for something that was a home work and became……Hell I dont know Something……with so many forms that I am losing my latin.

    So who cares who does pee the longest or a fastest or the most yellowish ????
    I can do almost anything I want to do with a linux that I can do with a windows. And that is cool because I HAVE a choice of platform.

    Anyway.. you guys can fight all you want… I prefer to learn the most and
    the best I can from any of these platforms\OS.

    So long

  17. Brett Says:

    I’m not particularly fond of Microsoft on a personal level, though I program almost exclusively in Microsoft languages, in VS.Net, on Windows, on a microsoft/cisco network, etc…


    in response to the comment (in the original post) “people will be paying for features they could have for free…” – I’m not sure I really see it that way

    I really dislike a lot of the extra things Windows has enabled by default (From Win XP hiding file extensions and system folders to Vista’s REALLY annoying “you clicked a button indicating that did indeed want to click a button on a previous screen. Please complete this wizard and solve this calculus equation before we continue opening notepad”-type process of navigating through it’s flashy but I-will-absolutely-not-let-you-hurt-yourself stupidity prevention)

    ya know I’m not sure that all made sense… oh well, I think i got my point across – i hope.

    Anyways, Windows is designed for all sorts of people, but most of all those that scream when they see a mouse – yes, a computer mouse – because they don’t know how to point and click. It’s designed for mass market – from what I have seen (and I’m not claiming it to be much of a variety, specifically Knoppix STD) Linux is not designed for the mass market.

    Back to the comment – People are not paying for features they could have for free as much as paying for them to be presented in one of 6 packages (instead of thousands), and only two of which have the WORD “home” in them (what an easy choice – “Hey! I live in a home”). Also, they are paying for the peace of mind of knowing they are being protected from themselves and the world without having to lift a finger except to type in their credit card number (talking about the updates, patches, and security fixes that MS consistently works on – just like the open source community – and forces down your computer’s throat by default – not so much like the open source community).

    I guess my point is, YOU can get all these features for free, and YOU can keep your computer updated (or research/find/create a tool to do it for you), but not everybody can.

    In closing – I would like to ask a question of all the Linux supporters that bad mouth Microsoft and even Apple for charging for their services. You love modifying, tweaking creating, etc. in the digital world, thereby sticking it to these companies and in fact providing healthy competition and probably inspiration to their developers. Don’t get me wrong, I admire and encourage what you do. BUT – Since the time you moved out of your parent’s house (if you’ve even done that), how many pairs of Nike shoes have you bought for darn near the price of a copy of Windows Vista?

  18. clintthewookie Says:

    I like windows (but I like linux too… I’ll get to that later). Windows is nice because it is more “user friendly” than the most “user friendly” linux distro. One thing I would consider “user friendly” is no tweaking to get it to work. Almost none at all. I enjoy being able to plug in my usb wireless card and have it running full speed at all times. But with linux, I get to experience the joy of NDISWRAPPER and I hate it. I have tried it numerous times on almost every linux distro and have never gotten it to work.

    Also my windows doesn’t lie to me. Ubuntu and Opensuse say my wireless card is working; but it isn’t.

    Now for my linux speech:

    I have an old Toshiba Portege 7020CT Laptop. It only has 128mb of RAM and it can only run Win98 SE. So, I got Fluxbuntu and it runs amazing-like. So it’s cool too. I like compiz-fusion (even though none of my computers support it) and I thing linux would beat windows IF they became more “user friendly.”

    @Pravin Dahal and smee

    I don’t work for Microsoft and I completely agree with what Chewbacca said. Just because he is right doesn’t mean he works for Microsoft.

    I am against Apple though (And I’ll probably get yelled at for it), you can pay a price for an OS but I don’t like having to get an iLoan (Ha, I made a funny!) to buy one.

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