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5 more killer features Windows 9 should steal from Linux

Chris Hoffman | Sept. 19, 2014
If the latest Windows 9 leaks are any indication, some of the operating system's coolest new features will look a lot like what Linux users already enjoy: Like the virtual desktops Linux users have had since the 90's, and a centralized notification center like the one available in GNOME Shell.

Tiling window management

Some Linux desktop environments are built on tiling window management. In a nutshell, the window manager chooses where your windows should go instead of you. It "tiles" them so you don't have to manually resize them and drag them around, fitting many windows on screen at the same time.

It's a bit like Windows 8's full-screen "Modern" interface, but actually useful on a desktop. You can have any number of apps tile on a large screen, and the apps can be tiled vertically in a grid, rather than only horizontally. (Windows Store apps "Snap" from left to right on your screen while multitasking.) This works with the same desktop apps you use elsewhere on the system. Sure, you can get tiling window management for Microsoft's operating system with third-party apps, but baking it into the Windows desktop — and allowing the touch interface to tile apps both vertically and horizontally — would be a major improvement.

Tiling window management has a long history that Microsoft is ignoring. Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it, and Microsoft is indeed repeating the history of tiling window management as they work in their tiling "Store app" interface.

But enough nitpicking! It's good to see Microsoft actually remembering that people use Windows on desktop PCs again. Hopefully they'll add more of these great Linux features in a future update to Windows — "Windows 9.1 Spring Update 1," perhaps?


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