If you are one of the enlightened 11.85% who have ascended into the higher place known as Windows 10, you may – and probably have – at least opened the Windows store. This is a place where you can download new ‘modern’ apps, which are compatible with touch screen as well as, to varying degrees of success, mouse and keyboard. These apps are generally pretty okay; most of them suck, but some of them – like Netflix – are actually alright. Not great – alright.
However, for most the Windows Store is completely irrelevant. They have no reason at all to go to the store and download anything. Yes, you can also download things like music, films and TV shows, but many people already have a library of this stuff with some one else, like Amazon or iTunes, and the Windows store is no better at providing these things than anyone else. The apps you find in the Windows Store are pretty much only designed for tablet use, and if you are one of the few – like me – who own a Windows tablet, you’ll agree that most of these apps are a bit crap. But I think that Microsoft is missing out on a gold mine of great apps which could make the Windows Store amazing and even the best thing about Windows 10.
If you’ve read my about page, you’ll know that I’m a student at the University of Hull. I’m in my first year so recently I went back home for first time (as it was Christmas, you see). While I was there I still wanted to play my enormous library of PC games, but I don’t have a PC with any form of OS on it at home any more. What was I to do, but use Linux! I used Ubuntu, which is the most popular of the Linux distributions. If you are on Windows and are wondering what gaming is like on Linux: it’s awful – don’t bother. The best thing about Ubuntu is the inclusion of the Software Centre. It’s Ubuntu’s version of Windows Store, except it’s been around for much longer and is infinitely more useful, and I’m in love with it.
In the Ubuntu Software Centre, you can download almost any application. VLC, Audacity, Firefox, Chrome, Steam, MonoDevelop, almost any app (provided there is a Linux version) you can think of. What’s better, when you’ve said you want to download the app, it installs it for you with no dialogue boxes or anything – it just does it in the background and doesn’t make a big deal over it. When there’s an update out, it installs the update in the background without needing to bother you about it. How many times have you opened a video file in Windows and had VLC popup but ask you to install an update first, you click cancel knowing full-well that it’ll ask you every time you open a video file until you let it. In Ubuntu this doesn’t happen; the Software Centre is more of a software manager than a software store, it looks after your software, it installs and uninstalls it at your command, it’s amazing.
So, Microsoft, this is my suggestion: do that. Make the Windows Store like the Ubuntu Software Centre. I’m not saying it would be easy, but I am saying it would make the Windows Store far more relevant to people who either are a bit incompetent with Windows or people who want an easier way of installing their software. Think of the many advantages! Microsoft could screen software installations, check for viruses, bloatware, spyware, prevent the software from doing nasty things to the computer, keep it all up to date. It would be incredible. I would love it, we would all love it. I know that it is possible as well, because of Ninite. Ninite is basically what I just described. I use it whenever I need to install Windows from scratch; it installs the software you want, without any pop-ups and stops the installations from installing anything unexpected. Just think, Microsoft, how amazing it would be. I’d use it.
A few words of warning, Microsoft, if by some miracle someone important is reading this (HA – it’ll never happen! I can dream, though), if you do decide that this would actually be amazing (which it would), don’t take anything away from the users! I hope you’ve learned by now that people hate it when you take something away from them. People should still have the option to install software the traditional way, and they should still be able to change where the software is installed. I know some weird people who choose not to install their software on the C drive, which is mental if you ask me. People should also be able to decide not to update, although you seem to have disagreed with that point in the recent past. This should be a system which anyone could use, but it should also have some advanced features to make it useful. It would take time to get going, but as long as you get the bigger applications on there, we’ll all be happy.
Think of it: the world where applications are managed properly, like in Ubuntu. Microsoft, stop what you’re doing, and do this; I garuntee it’ll make everyone love you again.