Should Linux look like Windows?

Today in Open Source: Why do some users make Linux look like Windows? Plus: Asus Chromebox for $179 in March, and North Korea Linux rips off Apple

Should Linux look like Windows?

Softpedia has a disturbing report about Linux users making their operating system look like Windows.

...why on Earth would someone run away from Windows, install Linux, blast Windows, praise Linux, laugh of Windows users, spend hours to learn Linux and, in the end, make Linux look just like Windows?

...it’s enough to simply search Google for “make Ubuntu look like Windows” and you get the point. There are nearly 92 million results for this search query and you can find basically all sorts of tutorials, including videos, apps and photos.

More at Softpedia
Make Linux Look Like Windows
Image credit: Softpedia

I admit that this story on Softpedia surprised me when I read it today. While I'm familiar with the ability to make Linux look like Windows, it simply hadn't occurred to me that many people would want to do it.

The article cites a Google search query that returned millions of results. Wow. Who knew that that many people would write about turning Linux into a visual clone of Windows? Perhaps there's something to it after all?

I'd love to know what the page views and traffic reports are for all of those "make Linux look like Windows" articles. If there are that many of them then somebody has to be reading them, and the numbers would be quite fascinating to see.

The real question here though is: Should Linux look more like Windows? My initial thought is no, it certainly should not look like Windows. After all, one of the big attractions of using Linux is to get away from Windows. Who wants to be reminded of an operating system that they just dumped because they didn't want to use it any more?

And yet I can understand that some folks have only seen computing through the Windows prism. Such a user may have a tough time adjusting to the visual differences between a Linux distribution and Windows. The sight of a totally different desktop can be jarring to a new Linux user.

If you're one of them then I recommend that you give yourself time to adjust before taking the drastic step of trying to make Linux look like Windows. Let yourself get used to your new desktop, and do a bit of searching on the web for tips on how to get the most out of it. Once you get familiar with how it works, you may find the desire to use something Windows-like falling away like the end of a bad head cold or flu.

Or if you've never used Linux before and are wondering where to start, here's some advice on how to familiarize yourself with some different desktops before making the switch from Windows.

1. Download VirtualBox and install it on your Windows computer. It's free and open source, so you can install it on any computer.

2. Download each of the following Linux distributions and install them in VirtualBox. This will give you a chance to experience some different desktop interfaces before choosing a particular Linux distro.

Linux Mint Cinnamon

Linux Mint MATE

Linux Mint KDE

Linux Mint Xfce

Lubuntu (LXDE)

Ubuntu

Ubuntu GNOME

3. Spend some time using each desktop to see what each of them is like, and which one appeals to you the most.

Consider this a chance to do some exploring in the new world of Linux. It can be a lot of fun to distrohop and see what different desktops and distributions have to offer. Using different desktop environments can be a refreshing and rewarding experience, and it can make even older computers feel brand new again.

My guess is that once you get some Linux experience, you'll discover that you really don't need to cling to Windows. You can finally let it go and move on with your computing life. You may even find that you never want to see a Windows desktop again.

Asus Chromebox for $179

Linux Gizmos is reporting that the Asus Chromebox will sell for just $179.

Asus announced its first Chrome OS computer, a Chromebox mini-PC that runs on 4th Gen. Intel Celeron SoCs, offers 4k UHD video output, and starts at $179.

...the $179 price gives you 2GB of DDR3 RAM, and unlike with the Acer C270, you can upgrade to 4GB. Other features similar to the C270 include a 16GB SSD, an SD slot, and two free years of 100GB of Google Drive cloud storage. They both offer WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0, as well as an HDMI port.

Asus Chromebox for $179
Image credit: Linux Gizmos
More at Linux Gizmos

I've been very impressed with the popularity of Chromebooks, and now we see Chrome OS makings its way to a computer that will sell for only $179. That's a pretty good deal if you're a fan of Chrome OS, and you don't need an actual Chromebook.

North Korea rips off Apple's OS X

Macgasm is reporting that North Korea's version of Linux has heavily...er...borrowed from Apple's OS X.

Red Star Linux, a Linux distribution used in North Korea, has been upgraded to version 3.0. With it comes an entire UI revamp, one that looks extremely similar to that of OS X. The menu buttons are placed on the lefthand corner of each window and many UI buttons have an “aqua” effect as seen in previous versions of OS X. Most notably however, is the addition of a dock on the bottom of the desktop that is almost identical to the dock seen in OS X.

More at Macgasm
North Korea Linux Looks Like OS X
Image credit: Macgasm

I find it amusing that North Korea is following in the footsteps of Apple. Well, they do share some similar authoritarian tendencies. Hey, just kidding Apple fans. Please don't flame me in the comments. Heh, heh.

Perhaps this is just a cry for help from North Korea to Apple? Maybe the North Koreans want Apple to open a store in Pyongang. Can you see one of Apple's signature glass stores - the very embodiment of capitalist consumer excess - in the middle of the North Korean capital? Talk about a culture clash!

See my review of a previous version of North Korea Linux, there are some videos embedded in it that will give a you a peek at life inside the hermit kingdom.

What's your take on all this? Tell me in the comments below.

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