# Microsoft under fire

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I wrote this in response to a post under http://www.gamedev.n...rectx-on-linux/ but it went so far off-topic that I just decided to start a new thread, which I think makes more sense.

Something I occasionally see in posts is

M$[/quote] M$ Appl$Andr$id XB$x Nint$ndo .. I guess it's easier to put a dollar sign into MS but if that's the only company that can be associated with money and corporate power then pershaps it's not always easy to understand how business works, and what it takes to put these nice computers on our desks and into our pockets. Microsoft just happens to be the best at what it does in particular domains. But referring to Micro$oft with the dollar sign embedded implies that they are somehow selfish or greedy or after money more than everyone else, and that is a plainly immature view of the situation. Apple is valued at$658 billion, while Microsoft is valued at $258 billion, so who should have a dollar sign in their name ? Neither I would say, but it seems to be trendy to use M$ in certain circles. If they didn't make money, they wouldn't exist, at least in their current form. And there would be someone else in their place. There are always major players in every market. There's nothing wrong with that.

Another occasionally mentioned sentiment is
M$is losing popularity[/quote] I think that is a massive oversimplificiation of the global computing marking. Windows now runs on over 1 billion devices, and that figure will only grow, I've read that although PC's took 30 years to reach that mark, it will be doubled in the next 10 years. And if you look at some figures, and I present just one set of the many available figures (these figures are derived from internet usage data from w3schools). It is clear that Linux and Mac are increasing their market share (which is fantastic), but Microsoft is holding it's own quite comfortably. I see the usage of 'M$' and other circulating comments about the failure of Windows as an expression of a 'fantasy of decline' which isn't uncommon. It's good to be passionate about something you love and hope for it's survival or success, or hope that the other guy doesn't crush your dreams. But to condemn without good cause or falsely represent an entity and it's failure isn't actually adding anything to the discussion IMO.

Microsoft isn't going to give up the desktop OS struggle, because there is no struggle, although I'm sure this is not a commonly held view of possibility, merely one held by a very select minority to which this article may be directed. Microsoft will probably be building desktop (and other) operating systems far beyond our personal lifetimes. And any speculation beyond that is pure fantasy and it becomes a philosophical and demographic discussion.

I would expect the trend in growth for Mac to continue, I'm not so sure about Linux though. I can't foresee either OS supplanting Windows as the market leader any time soon, and their is no one else in the running. Although if you look at more specific markets like living-room gaming or tablets or others then the situation is more complex, Microsoft isn't even a serious player in some of those markets (yet). Mac may well continue to grow as they have a strong financial position and have taken some clear and decisive steps towards new technologies and methods. But I actually would be surprised if Linux doesn't peak soon. I don't see Linux as a viable product in the wider market. And even if it were to improve to the point that it may be usable by a wider audience, I imagine it would have to be presented to us in a different package (if that's even possible) in order to grow further.

It will be interesting to see how the Surface and Metro change the playing field. I predict that either the first or second generation Surface and OEM interpretations will easily compete with iPad and Android implementations. And will give Microsoft a decent share of the tablet market. I think they've done something really right with Windows 8 and Metro. I think the nay-sayers are too stuck in their traditional views of Windows and just don't understand the dynamacy and expectations of the casual market. Most home and street users don't need Windows as we know it (likewise could be said for Linux/Mac). It's actually too flexible and configurable, too much can happen with your installation. There is a demand for simpler and domain specific devices. The growth of console gaming demonstrates that precisely. The growth of smart phones and tablets demonstrates that, and other devices, E-Readers, Media hubs etc. There are surely other markets yet unexplored.

Windows 8 and Metro represent Microsofts attack into this new battlefield, and although it's not clear yet whether this newly devised phalanx can conquer, what is clear is that Microsoft is very serious about this battle to win our eyeballs. And whether we hate it or love it, Metro is going to change the way Microsoft thinks about software and services.

Windows 8 released October 26, just over a week ago has already sold millions of copies but it's uptake may be slower when compared to Windows 7. But it's still an absolute player in the OS stakes. Looking at the steam survey page, the figures for Windows 8 users shows :

Windows 8 64 bit 1.85% +0.71%

I'm not sure if that's a good or underwhelming uptake of the new Windows, remembering that the figure is specific to gaming systems. But looking back at the internet access figures XP will continue to drop it's user-base and Vista has a few percentage points there too that will probably move to Windows 8. Within 2 or 3 years from now, Windows 8 will be in 2nd position after Windows 7. And it's evident that a new edition of Windows immediately stops the 'relative' growth of the previous edition. This trend should continue even with the mighty Windows 7, but we will have to wait to see if that happens given the uncertainty about the new Windows.

Any notion that Microsoft [Windows] is losing popularity however does not seem to me to be well founded. The worlds technologies are diversifying and major OS providers are scrambling to position themselves within these new emerging markets. This is a good thing for the consumer. And it's a good thing for developers. I for one am looking forward to the ensuing technology wars.

Peace. Edited by Gavin Williams

Hi, Bill.

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:-/ ..... ;) ...... ...... lol

Sometimes the simplest comments are the best, I just went through a range of responses to finally have a good giggle.

Cheers FleBlanc

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Unfortunately Apple and Linus fans, tend to ignore the fact their OS are corporate-ized also.

Apple uses it's huge market share in the "personal device" market, to bully and sue competitors.

Linux is a bit of a paradox. The OS is supposedly free, yet the tech support companies (the same people who make the free software also own) charge huge amounts of money to get the over complicated programming to work correctly.
Also I would like a Linux fan to tell me, why are companies allowed to sell Linux for more money than Windows ? Edited by Shippou

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Linux is a bit of a paradox. The OS is supposedly free, yet the tech support companies (the same people who make the free software also own) charge huge amounts of money to get the over complicated programming to work correctly.
Also I would like a Linux fan to tell me, why are companies allowed to sell Linux for more money than Windows ?[/quote]
Many people failed to realize the definition of Free OS in linux is "Freedom" and not "Free of Charge". You CAN sell linux for a price, but you have to provide the source code to your customer as well so that he/she has the freedom to do whatever he/she likes with it without any limitation. That makes you truly "own" the software.

When you're buying a Microsoft's product, you DON'T own it, you are just buying the "rights" to use the software.

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Also I would like a Linux fan to tell me, why are companies allowed to sell Linux for more money than Windows ?
That's easily explained, it's the GPL that explicitly allows selling the software. Or, more precisely, it doesn't really allow to sell (or license) the software for money, but it does allow to charge money (without specifying how much) for making it available to the user, in other words distributing, and for offering "services" directly related to the software (whatever those "services" may be, it might for example be support, or putting it all onto a DVD with a nice installer).

A more interesting question would be how a Linux distributor based in South Africa who has committed to the promise that their distribution is free and will always remain free is now including an Amazon lens into desktop search. Which, frankly, is very much not free. It is payment through the backdoor.

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Many people failed to realize the definition of Free OS in linux is "Freedom" and not "Free of Charge". You CAN sell linux for a price, but you have to provide the source code to your customer as well so that he/she has the freedom to do whatever he/she likes with it without any limitation. That makes you truly "own" the software.

When you're buying a Microsoft's product, you DON'T own it, you are just buying the "rights" to use the software.
This. You can charge for distribution, for compilation, for building, for packaging, for support, etc. BUT, the sources should be free, available and you should be able to fork it and modify it as you please.

Its pretty much what Oracle did, they grabbed Red Hat sources, made a few changes of their own in the kernel, and released it as a different product.

Its fine and falls under the fundamental freedoms of "free as in freedom" software, not "free as in free of charge". If you ever listened someone talking about the FSF and open source software, its probably the 2nd if not the 1st thing they mention. Edited by TheChubu

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Many people failed to realize the definition of Free OS in linux is "Freedom" and not "Free of Charge". You CAN sell linux for a price, but you have to provide the source code to your customer as well so that he/she has the freedom to do whatever he/she likes with it without any limitation. That makes you truly "own" the software.

When you're buying a Microsoft's product, you DON'T own it, you are just buying the "rights" to use the software.

And this, precisely, is why Linux has failed to date and will continue to fail in the future.

Most customers actually don't care in the least about that class of freedom; they just want something that works. "Hey, you have the source code, you can change it to make it work the way you want" is not an acceptable answer to 99% of people; their core business is not hacking an OS and time spent hacking an OS is time not available to pursue their core business.

It also leads to huge compatibility problems; if the Oracle client software they depend on for their LoB apps breaks due to such a change, they're screwed. Meanwhile with an OS that they can't change themselves, that is guaranteed consistent across all installs, that's reasonably pinned down for at least 5 years, this kind of thing just does not happen.

It's doesn't need to be technically perfect, it doesn't need to be ideologically perfect, it just needs to work well enough to enable them to get their stuff done, and get out of their way when they need it out of their way. If it fails on either of those, then it fails on everything. Being free doesn't matter squat to most people; an OS is a means to an end (running programs), not an end in itself.

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And this, precisely, is why Linux has failed to date[/quote]
you dont realize android et al are based on linux, andriod activations each day = 1.3 million.
you add up windows & mac OS (& possibly IOS etc) and its prolly less than that

Any notion that Microsoft [Windows] is losing popularity however does not seem to me to be well founded[/quote]
well founded? Its proven! check statcounter.com for data, esp western countries.
Personally though I think windows is the best OS, I only use a mac cause Im developing for IOS Edited by zedz

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Most customers actually don't care in the least about that class of freedom; they just want something that works.
Pretty much every single device out there that runs some kind of OS that isn't a PC is based of Linux. Even your router has some kind of linux kernel in it.

Every single thing that has an ARM based CPU on it has a 80% chance of using a linux derived OS (that's the biggest seller of CPU related IP in the world right there) and every single thing that has a POWER-PC CPU has a 90% chance of having a linux derived OS. Most of the most powerful computers in the world use linux. Hell, even most of the code out there uses open source software to get into an usable form (GCC, LVM/Clang, etc) How's that for a failure?

Your range of what is considered "success" seems very, very narrow, like, reduced to what you use only.

Though I'll give you that it failed pretty bad at taking "market share" out of Microsoft's Windows. But with the amazing achievements it has in every other platform, I'd start to think that (most) of the Linux community simply don't care enough about the people Windows aims to.

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you add up windows & mac OS (& possibly IOS etc) and its prolly less than that

OS X is Unix. And many of the devices you assume running Linux are probably running a Unix-based OS.

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Wow great, now pull out the "runs on routers" thing. Because those are clearly "fully featured computers".
Good to know about Android. I wonder why they had to branch it.
Personally my quality of life has greatly improved since linux in so more part of the picture.

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I'm still wondering why Linux still doesn't give a crap about casual computer users.

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Any notion that Microsoft [Windows] is losing popularity however does not seem to me to be well founded

well founded? Its proven! check statcounter.com for data, esp western countries.
Personally though I think windows is the best OS, I only use a mac cause Im developing for IOS
[/quote]

I looked at the stats on statcounter.com

I'm not sure that you and I have the same standards of proof.

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I'm still wondering why Linux still doesn't give a crap about casual computer users.
That's asking the wrong kind of question. Linux is just the operating system, more precisely the kernel. A lot of people confuse this, I remember reading "Windows 8 is so great, it has a cool new Task Manager and new features in Explorer" in another thread. The task manager is just a rather unimportant utility program, it is not the operating system. Explorer, likewise, is just a file manager, which is in principle swappable. The same goes for the task bar / start button or the new tile interface. These are as much "the operating system" as the desktop background image.

GNU/Linux on the other hand (note the "GNU/" part) is something that has "free Unix" (hobby) Enthusiasts as primary target group. Obviously, although not stricly opposite, this is not the same group as "casual home users".

You should be asking why there is no major distributor who cares about casual home users. Though I remember SuSE being like this, 10-15 years ago. It used to be "put in CD, click install button, and it just works, and works well". Of course that was at a time when Windows sucked ass, Apple failed big time on PowerPC, and no such thing as a GPU existed in a PC. SuSE at that time was a hundred times more stable and user friendly, and more performant than anything else (except for some unusable geeky Linux distros). No manual unpacking tar files from floppies, no editing /etc/fstab and /etc/password in vi. Insert CD, and there you go.

In the mean time, Windows has become perfectly stable and (at least up to version 7) usable, and in constrast to any Linux distro, every single piece of cheap (or expensive) hardware that you plug in comes with working IHV drivers. There is no thing that you can buy in a shop and plug into your PC that doesn't work with Windows.

Ubuntu used to be somewhat like "the new SuSE" until a year or so ago, and it even had accelerated graphics with no hassle (big, big plus). This changed drastically when everyone jumped on the "must make desktop like tablet" train, starting with Gnome 3, later copied by KDE and Unity, and finally stolen by Windows. Now all operating systems / distributions suck the same, because they have the same stupid user interfaces. Which would be fine if every computer was a tablet (then those interfaces would make sense!), but trying to make a desktop computer a tablet is just stupid.

I remember trying to install a recent SuSE version on a virtual machine not long ago. The wizard required me to click on a button somewhere on the bottom, and moving the mouse onto the button made the window manager zoom out the Window and show the action button interface or what it's called -- how fucking stupid do you have to be as a developer to ship a thing like that? I mean, they really don't want you to install their stuff, do they? Edited by samoth

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I looked at the stats on statcounter.com
[...]
I'm not sure that you and I have the same standards of proof.
Hahaha, I was going to post that, too... but you should have posted the "worldwide" graph, which is even more telling. Basically that one says "Windows 7 constantly gains with XP slowly diminuishing, Apple is stagnant around 6-7%, and everything else below 1%".

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you dont realize android et al are based on linux, andriod activations each day = 1.3 million.

And it's just the kernel (which is Linux itself), not the whole environment you usually find in distros. Moreover, the way Android is designed is such that Google could easily replace Linux with any other kernel (no matter how different it is) and it wouldn't matter at all, so may as well forget the fact it's using that kernel.

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I'm not sure that you and I have the same standards of proof.[/quote]
youre not seeing the whole picture
look under mobile vs desktop
jan 2009 - mobile 0.6% desktop 99.4%
nov 2012 - mobile 13.38% desktop 86.62%

considering windows phone is prolly ~1-2% of mobile
that is a massive loss for windows relatively quickly, if it keeps up like this desktops will be smaller within a couple of decades (no wonder MS is doing everything to get into mobile)

look at your numbers at the top of the page
2003 - windows 95.2% -mac/linux 4.8%
2012 - windows 86.3% - mac/linux 13.7%

you were saying?

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You're missing the core point though, which is that for the vast majority of end-users, OS is irrelevant. People don't actually care about it, they don't care about whether or not they can study and modify the source code; the one item that the open source communities value the most is something that most people don't actually give a flying one about.

Android is a great example of this. I see figures of something like 500 million devices, but of those, what percentage of users actually bought into it because of a Linux kernel? I'll give you a hint - it's less than 1. The important criteria for a smart phone are something more like: can it make calls? Can it send SMS? Can it take photos? Can I sync it with my email? Can I browse the web on it? Can I play Angry Birds on it? Answer "yes" to those and it doesn't matter if it runs on Unix, Windows or magic jellybeans - you've got a sale.

Android is not a victory for Unix; it's a victory for the applications and services provided by the platform, and if they weren't there it would have crashed and burned. None of this is about Unix versus Windows versus iOS versus whatever tomorrow's flavour of the month is; it's all about the applications and services you give to the user, and those run on the OS, they are not the OS itself. Edited by mhagain

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I'm not sure that you and I have the same standards of proof.

youre not seeing the whole picture
look under mobile vs desktop
jan 2009 - mobile 0.6% desktop 99.4%
nov 2012 - mobile 13.38% desktop 86.62%

considering windows phone is prolly ~1-2% of mobile
that is a massive loss for windows relatively quickly, if it keeps up like this desktops will be smaller within a couple of decades (no wonder MS is doing everything to get into mobile)

look at your numbers at the top of the page
2003 - windows 95.2% -mac/linux 4.8%
2012 - windows 86.3% - mac/linux 13.7%

you were saying?
[/quote]

One question, what are the totals? The percentage is lowering but are the numbers declining?

One thing I dislike about this is, Linux crowd, where are your "killer aps"? Where are your "killer games"? All these years complaining and talking nonsense and yet, absolutely nothing to make me even think about trying the OS. Windows 8? I tried it as soon as I could. Linux(anything)...why bother?

Question two, Why even bother with something like Linux?

Question three, Why does it matter to game developers? I mean, Windows 8 is already a viable platform isn't it? Its almost as high as a 3DS, it just came out(!) and obviously higher than a PS Vita. Much higher than an Ouya will ever be. And in a year or two, much higher than this current gen of consoles put together. And that's just Windows 8(and its own Store).

My view is, MS is king on the PC. I have no reason to switch. I would like an ARM based fully functional Laptop tho. Not here yet. x86 Windows 8 Pro it is! =P

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One question, what are the totals? The percentage is lowering but are the numbers declining?[/quote]
donno I think pc sales have been stagnant or slight growth (very low single digit) a year. Mac desktop IIRC has been growing an order of magnitude faster

heres the most recent figures I can find
-0.1% decline in growth, though mac numbers (which grew 12% are included in that) so PC numbers prolly shrunk by ~1% year on year, so yes windows PC numbers are shrinking

#3 well for indie game developers (like most ppl on this site), theres far more money in the android/IOS side of things than in the PC indie scene.

US numbers (in just under 4 years)
jan 2009 - windows (XP/vista/win7) 90.69%, apple (OSX,ios) 6.73%
nov 2012 - windows (XP/vista/win7) 76.87% apple (OSX,ios) 19.8% (OSX = 14.89%(*))

Yes MS (whom I think make the best desktop OS) are still king on the desk/lap/top, but the world is changing rapidly now, tablets,phones are ubiquitous. Perhaps the MS surface can change that, but I have my doubts. like the BBC website said so far reviews have been mixed the buzz so far is not there.

(*) i.e. the number of laptop/desktop mac's in the US has more than doubled in less than 4 years!

OK the numbers in china/india are like ~99% windows ~1% other, mainly due to piracy, but MS doesnt see much money from these pirated systemOS software

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Hear, hear... One of my favorite sayings is "Linux is free if your time is worth nothing" )

Now, I do respect OS X and Linux, but few people acknowledge the tremendous contribution to de facto standards that Microsoft has made over the years. The growth and proliferation of personal computing since 1983 is largely due to innovations in hardware, network speed, etc. This in turn has only been feasible because of a large market ready to pay cheaply for these innovations. The innovations are only affordable if they can be cranked out in large numbers, which requires standards.

Just like the Internet grew because of standards like TCP/IP, HTTP, etc., personal computing grew because Microsoft imposed hardware interface standards like GDI (that's Graphical Device Interface, not GUI) and many others. (Yes, I realize RFCs are democratic and developed by neutral committees, whereas Microsoft is a corporation, that's not the point.)

How many people have heard of WinHEC, much less attended one? Every year, Microsoft organizes the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference, where hardware developers are thrown into an arena to test each other's products against the latest version of Windows. Microsoft engineers are on deck to answer questions, execute tests, etc. in a huge effort to get all that stuff to work right before it hits the consumer's home. Extensive technical documentation is available. This is the kind of thing that has insured that Windows works pretty good over the years, and continues to satisfy consumer and corporate needs.

I attended the 2003 WinHEC, and got within pie-throwing distance of Bill Gates. I was blown away by the scope and extent of the conference.

There's a lot to be said in favor of Apple's "black box" model, where all the hardware is produced by one single vendor. A lot of money that would have been spent on hardware compatibility testing, is instead spent on perfecting the software. Not many people seem to appreciate this enough to pay for it, however. Edited by sprezzatura

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One question, what are the totals? The percentage is lowering but are the numbers declining?

One thing I dislike about this is, Linux crowd, where are your "killer aps"? Where are your "killer games"? All these years complaining and talking nonsense and yet, absolutely nothing to make me even think about trying the OS. Windows 8? I tried it as soon as I could. Linux(anything)...why bother?

Question two, Why even bother with something like Linux?

Question three, Why does it matter to game developers? I mean, Windows 8 is already a viable platform isn't it? Its almost as high as a 3DS, it just came out(!) and obviously higher than a PS Vita. Much higher than an Ouya will ever be. And in a year or two, much higher than this current gen of consoles put together. And that's just Windows 8(and its own Store).

My view is, MS is king on the PC. I have no reason to switch. I would like an ARM based fully functional Laptop tho. Not here yet. x86 Windows 8 Pro it is! =P

Question 1 (Well the second part of it): Because of the open source nature of GNU/Linux all of the good killer apps are ported to other platforms and so you really wont have a big reason in that reguard to switch to linux. Would like to know exactly what nonsense you feel like the Linux community is spreading but in the hope of preventing a war I'll leave it at that.

Question 2: For those looking for something different usually, I personally just got tired of jumping through hopes with Windows and didn't feel it worth my money to buy a new Windows licenes when I personally could accomplish anything I would want to do on Windows on GNU/Linux (and the hit in performance for running Windows games through wine was an acceptable loss for me). Also most people that actually make the switch don't do it if they are looking for it to be Windows if you love windows and it works for you then your most likely looking for a "Free" Windows which GNU/Linux is not it is its own OS and if your trying it with the attempt of it being a "Free" Windows your going to have a very hard time enjoying it.

Question 3: Windows 8's rules on the new Windows Store is where Game Development gets impacted most they have it pretty restrictive on what they allow into their store and thats were a lot of the concern for it is. Windows is also the OS of choice for low end computer manufactors so yes its going to get a lot of numbers based on that alone.

If you have no reason to switch and enjoy Microsoft congrats. I sincerely wish you the best of look in the future, but please don't think down on those that use GNU/Linux. I don't down on those that use Windows and Mac. Edited by Badwolf1

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Question 2: For those looking for something different usually, I personally just got tired of jumping through hopes with Windows and didn't feel it worth my money to buy a new Windows licenes when I personally could accomplish anything I would want to do on Windows on GNU/Linux (and the hit in performance for running Windows games through wine was an acceptable loss for me). Also most people that actually make the switch don't do it if they are looking for it to be Windows if you love windows and it works for you then your most likely looking for a "Free" Windows which GNU/Linux is not it is its own OS and if your trying it with the attempt of it being a "Free" Windows your going to have a very hard time enjoying it.

There are two things in this part of your answer that display a quite significant cultural difference between Windows users and Linux (for the sake of brevity let's drop the "GNU/" bit -you know what I'm talking about) users.

One is that people who use Windows generally have an awful time on Linux but people who use Linux generally also have an awful time on Windows. This I believe is not reflective of either OS but actually more reflective of the people using them. Why? At a guess I'd say that it's because people don't migrate their way of working to the other OS. If you try to use Linux the same way as you try to use Windows you'll have a horrible time, and vice-versa.

Two is the "love Windows" bit. To a Windows user this is actually borderline incomprehensible; you don't love an OS, an OS is just a platform for running applications on and you love the cool things you can do with those applications.

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Question 1 (Well the second part of it): Because of the open source nature of GNU/Linux all of the good killer apps are ported to other platforms and so you really wont have a big reason in that reguard to switch to linux. Would like to know exactly what nonsense you feel like the Linux community is spreading but in the hope of preventing a war I'll leave it at that.

By the nonsense, I ment to the ones that say that it is better and hate on Windows. Maybe it runs "faster" or hogs less memory. But I already have a 5 year old lappy with 3GBs of RAM running Win7 and tested Win8 on and it runs just fine. But, yes. We should leave it at that.

Question 3: Windows 8's rules on the new Windows Store is where Game Development gets impacted most they have it pretty restrictive on what they allow into their store and thats were a lot of the concern for it is. Windows is also the OS of choice for low end computer manufactors so yes its going to get a lot of numbers based on that alone.

What don't they allow on the store that makes it pretty restrictive?

If you have no reason to switch and enjoy Microsoft congrats. I sincerely wish you the best of look in the future, but please don't think down on those that use GNU/Linux. I don't down on those that use Windows and Mac.

I don't think down on them. Just the fanatics. I like logic. And I don't see Linux as a viable platform to target for games. And that's the reason I run Windows, first.
I do see an Android type of PC in my future tho, and yes, I know, don't say it. But, it is different and more mainstream! jaja