12 ideas Ubuntu should steal from Windows 7

7. Side by side view

Linux, and particularly the Compiz window manager has long been way ahead of Windows and OS X for productivity stuff like multiple desktops and navigation. Despite the banality of Windows 7's Desktop Peek – why introduce chalk outlines of open windows when you've been able to press WinKey+D to make them vanish completely for years? - there is one neat trick Microsoft does that the Compiz team should steal immediately, and that's being able to drag documents to the side of the screen to immediately maximise them for viewing side by side.

8. Better sound system

There are problems with Win7's software only sound stack, but Ubuntu doesn't even ship with an equaliser by default. Surround sound is a far off dream for many Ubuntu users, and while Karmic will bring native support for Creative's X-Fi and – theoretically – a less error version of PulseAudio, setting up advanced audio in Windows 7 is simple and intuitive in a way Linux fans can only dream of. It's just the output that's rubbish.

9. Windows Media Player

Stop laughing all you clever WinAmp snobs. Windows Media Player may not be the best for a Microsoft system, but have you tried using Rythmbox, which ships with Ubuntu? Forget about controlling UPnP hardware elsewhere in the house; you can't even share its library without convoluted set-ups. And you can't tag songs with genres. Karmic Koala may end up featuring the slightly prettier Banshee, but only if it gets vastly improved over the next two months. Ubuntu needs a single, modern media player for music, DVDs and downloaded video that doesn't crash when you plug in an MP3 player. Simple.

Windows mediam player

EASY MEDIA: Even a switch to Banshee in Karmic won't match the simplicity and capability of Media Player

10. That syncing feeling

Phones, PDAs, USB drives - you can plug almost anything into Windows and get it working without much effort, but syncing anything with Ubuntu is a painful and often pointless process. Admittedly Cloud services like Google's Contacts are making it less relevant, but getting music onto an iPhone is a still a no-no. On the same subject, Bluetooth modem tethering is still hit and miss, too.

11. Better back-up

The new back-up tool in Windows 7 is versatile, easy to use and infinitely configurable. You can install something similar in Ubuntu, like Back In Time, but why on Earth isn't it there by default?

Windows backup

BACK UP: Windows 7 has got the interface for easy back up bang on. Everything should be this simple

12. User Access Control

Bear with us on this one. While the superuser function of Linux means it's very stable and secure, it's frustrating trying to change something – like graphics driver settings – only to hit the save button and find that nothing happens. Or delete a file that isn't owned by you without going through sudo in the terminal. What UAC does right is recognising when you're trying to do something you aren't allowed to, and prompting you to enter the administrator password there and then. The console is cool, but it's not for everyone.