The Future of Windows is...Linux!

All right, I'm half-kidding on this one, but it also means I'm half-serious.

What prompted this post was a little incident yesterday evening. With all my major projects in the closing stage, I decided to kick back and get a gaming fix. I dusted off a game I bought from (Hostile Waters, if you're interested) but which I had never before installed. Time to give it a try, I said. I booted into my barely-used Windows XP partition and ran the installer. And then when I started the crashed.

I tried several times to get it working, even going as far as to reinstall the game. Still no luck. And so I gave up and booted back to Ubuntu to do something else. Then another thought: why not try running the game in Ubuntu? If nothing else, it'll be something to write about.

And you know what? The game ran perfectly on Ubuntu.

Which leads me back to the thought behind the title. For years, Microsoft's point of contention was the broad base of software applications, games or otherwise, available on Windows. You couldn't (or shouldn't) move to other platforms because the applications only ran on Windows. Stay away from Unix, stay away from Linux, stay away from Macs; the stuff you need is here with us. That's lock-in at work for Microsoft.

On the other hand, lock-in really works both ways. Because of the sheer number of applications that it had to maintain compatibility with, Microsoft couldn't really implement wholesale improvements on its operating system. That's why the Windows family is the ungainly beast that it is, major revisions four or five years apart. Even then, with every new release, there's complaints that the old stuff won't work on the new version.

I don't know exactly why my game didn't run on XP (when it was supposed to), but at this point, I don't really care. I already have it running on Ubuntu, which is my primary operating system to begin with.

Not to say that all Windows software runs on Ubuntu / Linux now, but Wine is getting better and better. It may come to a point where the Wine+Linux combo can run old Windows software much better than Windows itself.

And you know what? I just lo-oooooove the irony!