Why Are So Many Users Making Linux Look Just like Windows?

The heavily criticized Windows interface seems to be very appealing to Linux users

By on February 1st, 2014 13:01 GMT

There’s no doubt that there’s a fierce competition between Windows and Linux, even though the first is clearly the number one desktop operating system worldwide, not according to users, but to market researchers across the world that point to an overwhelming 90 percent market share.

Competition is a good thing and it’s pretty clear that both Windows and Linux are getting better thanks to this rivalry, but there’s also some sort of hate that’s developing between users of the two platforms.

Linux users claim that Windows is awful and vice-versa, but this isn’t at all surprising given the fact that each operating system has its own advantages.

And still, there’s one thing that’s pretty hard to understand, especially when talking about those who love Linux so much that they’re spreading anti-Windows comments all over the web: 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?

Windows 8’s interface was heavily criticized for its flat look, while the Modern UI was blasted even by those who are addicted to Windows. Microsoft’s modern operating system brought a dramatic interface change, that’s for sure, but just like everyone at Microsoft said, it was only a matter of time until everybody got used to it.

Windows 7, on the other hand, was easier to use, pretty much because it had a Start Menu and everything, but, more importantly, it boasted the same user-friendly look that has been offered to consumers for years.

Windows XP impressed with the overall simplicity in terms of looks, so everybody spent only a few minutes to get around the operating system and learn which option is which.

Getting back to our main question (why are Linux users making their OS 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.

And still, what’s the correct answer to this question? Linux was all about the freedom for customization, as you can change basically every single tiny icon or button, so why make it look like Windows?

This is what Ubuntu with a Windows 7 theme looks like after several customizations
This is what Ubuntu with a Windows 7 theme looks like after several customizations

We’ve talked to several Linux users and the only two reasons we found are these:

1. Because Windows looks more familiar. So this means that in order to get accustomed with Ubuntu, users are initially trying to make their open-source operating system look like Windows, then learn how to work on Linux and, in the end, get back to the original interface. Sorry, but that doesn’t make much sense. And does this mean that the Linux interface is not at all user-friendly?

2. Because Linux is thus trying to capitalize on the popularity on Windows, especially the soon-to-be-retired Windows XP. Well, at some level, this actually makes sense. Windows XP users need as many alternatives are possible, so turning Ubuntu, or any other Linux distro, into a familiar operating system is quite a good idea. But why not designing your own user-friendly UI? Or does this mean that Microsoft has gotten it right with Windows XP? Unity is quite intuitive, so why the need for Windows XP themes?

Of course, it’s hard to find the right answer and chances are that it doesn’t even exist. But what if Linux users decide to return to the classic Windows look because they actually like it? That would be a shocker. I’ve barely heard of a Windows user trying to make his desktop look like Linux.

In the end, it’s all a matter of choice. Every platform has its own pros and cons, so there’s no need for making fun of each other’s points of view. So why so much hate?

Make sure you share your thoughts in the comment box below.

Disclaimer: this article was written by a Windows 8.1/Ubuntu 13.04 user and is by no means supposed to criticize any of the two operating systems.

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