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Eight features Windows 8 borrowed from Linux

Sandro Villinger | Feb. 14, 2012
"Good artists borrow, great artists steal!" -- Pablo Picasso said it. So did T.S. Eliot. And, more recently, Steve Jobs. Let's face it: If something makes sense and succeeds, it gets imitated.

The Microsoft twist: Move along. Nothing to see here. USB 3.0 devices work pretty well with Windows 7 already since hardware manufacturers provide their own drivers. Microsoft just finally implemented an industry standard.

7. Cloud integration

Both Windows 8 and Linux sport features that let you sync data with the cloud. In Ubuntu 11, the Ubuntu One service offers a free online backup service with 5 GB. If you want more storage space, there's always the option of purchasing an additional 20 GB for $2.99 a month.

The Microsoft twist: Windows 8 is going to tightly integrate with SkyDrive's 25 GB online storage, which is not just for photos or music, but also allows for hosting your user account (personal settings, backgrounds, some data...) for you to log in from anywhere.

Ubuntu, however, counters with their new Music Streaming service.

8. ReFS

The newly introduced ReFS (Resilient File System, codenamed Protogon) is Microsoft's next-generation file system. It will first debut in Windows Server 8, but client adoption is well underway.

The system itself is strikingly similar to ZFS (the Z File System) and the Linux-derived Btrfs (B-tree file system) as it also supports copy-on-write snapshots when coupled with Microsoft Storage Spaces. For further security, it also provides integrity checksums and B+ Trees. Also, the increased file/volume/directory sizes are also strikingly similar to Btrfs.

The Microsoft twist: Let's just say that Microsoft didn't do anything from scratch. While I did not dive deep into the file system drivers, I suspect that Microsoft looked very hard at some of the principles that worked years ago in both ZFS and then Btrfs and got the "inspiration" to develop something very similar.

Stealing or innovating?

While I won't deny that Microsoft has "borrowed" many ideas from the open source world, overall they're trying to find their own game in Windows 8.

This article, "Eight features Windows 8 'borrowed' from Linux," was originally published at ITworld. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.



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