Microsoft Windows 8: Mostly A Crap Wreck
Written by Michael Larabel in Operating Systems on 4 May 2012. Page 3 of 3. 117 Comments

Where Microsoft does at least deserve some credit is for having this "Consumer Preview", a.k.a. beta, feel very polished. Running this beta of Windows 8 was much smoother and nicer than it can be at times running the latest Linux development packages for some upcoming distribution. There weren't any crashes (or Blue Screens of Death), the experience was very fluid, there weren't many visible "rough edges" to using the Metro interface, and just felt more polished than Linux distributions in a development state tend to be, especially when invasive changes just took place.

Some of the other Windows 8 features include native USB 3.0 support (Linux has only had this for a while now...), Internet Explorer 10 (the level of SVG support in IE10 finally makes me happy), Microsoft account integration (similar to what Canonical is pushing with Ubuntu One), Windows To Go (Windows can finally be installed and booted from a USB device, which isn't anything new in the Linux world), Xbox Live integration, a new lock screen, and other features. Windows 8 also obviously is the first Microsoft Windows release with ARM support, which is not new at all in the Linux world.

Aside from some niche device areas and graphics drivers, the level of Linux hardware support is largely comparable to that of Windows. On the graphics driver front, Windows 8 moves forward again, this time with the introduction of WDDM 1.2. New features to WDDM/DXGI 1.2 for Windows 8 include performance improvements, support for stereoscopic 3D, preemptive multi-tasking, reduced memory footprint, faster timeout detection and recovery, and improved Direct3D video support. As shown earlier this week, the Intel OpenGL performance on Windows is now faster than Intel on Linux for most GL workloads. AMD and NVIDIA results are coming soon. If talking the open-source Linux graphics drivers, they lose out in almost every regard compared to their proprietary brethren aside from being open-source and generally more stable.

Overall, I really hate Windows 8 much more than Windows 7 due to the Metro user-interface on the desktop. Metro is disastrous on the desktop. There really is not anything new to like about Windows 8, they're just trying to copy Apple and features like native USB 3.0 support and having a centralized software center isn't anything new to Linux users. Unlike some Linux users, I'm not delusional, will acknowledge the facts, and will give credit where credit is due -- the kind words I have about Windows 8 is mostly the same I have about any other recent Windows release: it boots fast, generally leads on power efficiency, usually there's no hoops to jump through to get the OS installed, the graphics drivers tend to be a lot better, and it's usually at least a polished end-user experience.

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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via

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