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Let's go buy some lunix —

Bring your own Linux to Windows with new open source tool

If an off-the-shelf Linux distribution doesn’t float your boat, why not build your own?

Peter Bright - Mar 27, 2018 9:53 pm UTC

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After starting with Ubuntu, Microsoft has added a number of Linux distributions to its Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) Linux runtime environment. A Windows machine can simultaneously offer an Ubuntu, SUSE, Debian, and Kali "personality," providing users with a choice of the different distributions' preferences and package management.

But if your distribution isn't yet available or if you want a Linux installation that's customized just the way you like it, there's now an answer: Microsoft has an open source tool for building your own Linux package. The tool is aimed at two groups: distribution owners (so they can produce a bundle to ship through the Microsoft Store) and developers (so they can create custom distributions and sideload them onto their development systems).

Microsoft's tool provides the basic glue between Windows and the Linux distribution. It handles telling the system about the distribution and performing initial setup such as user creation, and it can be customized to—for example—print a message of the day when the distribution is started.

Theoretically, anyone could take a distribution of their choice and package it for the Store, but Microsoft says that it will only accept such packages from distribution owners. Anyone hoping to stick Fedora in the Store—it was promised last year but is yet to appear—will not be able to do so. However, someone could build a Fedora, sideload it, and even distribute the bits and pieces to streamline that sideloading. Those who enjoy unrolling their loops might build a Gentoo version.

Microsoft is continuing to add new capabilities to WSL. The next major update to Windows, version 1803, will include limited support for background tasks (WSL installs still don't use initd or systemd but will at least now be able to keep running even when all your WSL windows are closed), Unix domain sockets (available for both Windows and Linux apps), and better filesystem interoperability between the Windows sides and Linux sides.

Peter Bright Peter is Technology Editor at Ars. He covers Microsoft, programming and software development, Web technology and browsers, and security. He is based in Brooklyn, NY. Email peter.bright@arstechnica.com // Twitter @drpizza

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  1. bothered Ars Scholae Palatinae et Subscriptor nbm wrote:So this stuff all says "Linux" in its name, but it's really running on Microsoft's kernel, right? So it's everything-but-Linux from what the extremists call the GNU operating system?
    Its what you get when you hold Wine up to a mirror.
  2. Shmerl Ars Praetorian Meanwhile, Wine does the opposite, runs Windows programs on Linux. D3D11 support there now is approaching a very good state, and with new projects like DXVK (D3D11 over Vulkan), Wine can run games like the Witcher 3 on Linux with close to native performance.
  3. doubleyewdee Ars Praetorian et Subscriptor whiteknave wrote:XolotlLoki wrote:You get a real bash interpreter, your POSIX code builds against normal Linux targets, your scripts work normally, YOU CAN CASUALLY GREP FOR THINGS, etc. The full richness of a piped command line is yours, without having to switch machines or reboot. Command line ssh is just there for the crazy things you might want to use it for (e.g. port forwarding).
    And yet, I still can't set a system/environment variable in Windows without having to do a reboot to have it recognized throughout the system. Granted, this might be an an issue with some applications caching those variables at application startup.
    You absolutely can do this, the reboot suggestion is simply there for those applications that are already running and thus won't get the environment variable propagated to them or their children (this is identical to how these things work on Unix-like operating systems). If you know you don't need to reboot because you'll spawn all your own processes fresh with the desired variable there's no need to reboot.
  4. SilverSee Ars Scholae Palatinae et Subscriptor vw_fan17 wrote:Embrace, Extend, Extinguish.. Fool me once, Microsoft..
    The idea of Microsoft "extinguishing" Linux in 2018, even if they wanted to (they don't), is absurd. No need to "fight the good fight" anymore. You won, and this is what victory looks like. Celebrate a little.

    Last edited by SilverSee on Tue Mar 27, 2018 7:49 pm

  5. doubleyewdee Ars Praetorian et Subscriptor BeowulfSchaeffer wrote:Ummmmm... I boot separate environments, windows on one disk and Mint on the other one, though I don't think I've booted into Windows in a while. What exactly is the point of this?
    Not having to reboot to switch contexts between Windows / Linux development work or other related tasks (perhaps you use Office or prefer Windows client software but wish to dev on Linux). Other solutions exist (VMs, remote connections e.g. ssh, etc) but some folks prefer everything on one machine.

    For me, personally, I am spending a lot of time with .NET Core and porting Windows services to run in Linux containers in k8s clusters. Having my dev tools (VS/VS Code/etc) and just popping open bash and building in Linux on the same machine, and same filesystem saves a lot of intermediate steps and work. Thus saving me time I can spend doing the meat of my actual work instead of dealing with non-contributing workflow complexities.

    YMMV.
  6. allinwonder Wise, Aged Ars Veteran I'm very satisfied with WSL. The only complaint I have is apt install sometimes is very slow when downloading packages, much slower than normal Ubuntu. I'm wondering if they share repository.
  7. Attitude_Check Smack-Fu Master, in training So this sounds like the inverse of Wine on Linux, to enable Linux api based applications to run in Windows.

    So just call it Line?
  8. rabish12 Ars Tribunus Angusticlavius BeowulfSchaeffer wrote:Ummmmm... I boot separate environments, windows on one disk and Mint on the other one, though I don't think I've booted into Windows in a while. What exactly is the point of this?
    Questions for you, and all of the other "I don't see the point of this" people: are you a developer? Have you ever tried to do development in Windows for languages that have poor Windows toolchains, or poor documentation for those toolchains, but solid CLI support for similar toolchains on Linux? Have you ever had to work on a mixed stack, where parts of that stack relied on platform-specific languages or tools that ran in Windows and other parts were substantially better-supported on Linux? Have you ever been working on a largely Windows-based setup, but wanted to leverage some small or exclusive set of Linux-based tools to assist in or accelerate development?

    If the answer is no, you are not the target audience.
  9. CraigJ Ars Scholae Palatinae et Subscriptor nbm wrote:Fatesrider wrote:I'm honestly not sure what this does for Linux users at all. It sounds like they're tossing a bone to Linux devs to do their thing in Windows. I guess people do that? But I don't know why they'd bother, nor why Microsoft would care enough to do this for them.

    Near as I can tell, it's like they're putting a walled garden inside a walled garden.

    Honest questions: Why would they bother? Wouldn't Linux devs more naturally dev in Linux? Or is this just a "we can make your Windows even more Linux-like!"?

    I can give you an example where it would be useful to me, though not to people in general: I work on embedded systems, and many of those have windows-only toolchains because I guess hardware people like Windows. Anyway, I can't really function in a Windows environment for development so I end up doing wacky things like mounting my Windows machine's drive over NFS and doing all but the compilation in a Linux system. If this had been around and usable at my last job (we hadn't transitioned off Windows 7 when I left) it probably would have saved me some weird acrobatics.

    Why Microsoft would do it, on the other hand, seems obvious. They've lost a large amount of developer mindshare. Web development on Windows has been pretty crappy lately. Based on my very informal survey of co-workers, Apple is eating their lunch with developers. Since web development is probably the easiest point of entry for general learning-to-program, that means that they're losing developers in general. If you learn to write code on a mac, and have a mac, and want to write something that's not web-based like a game, you'll probably write it for the mac.

    I don't think they're worried about losing market share to the Linux desktop, since the only Linux desktop users I know today were Linux desktop users before Ubuntu existed. They're worried about Apple.

    Those are the reasons I would want it (though I don't need Windows these days so I don't really) and the reason why Microsoft would want it. The corollary to that last one is that users in general would want it because they already have Windows machines and want to learn to do web development things. If they can run local Django instances and not have to install a whole new OS (or buy a whole new computer) life is better for them.

    This makes sense to me. I chose to go Mac about 10 years ago because it’s a commercial OS with lots of available software and editing tools but UNIX under the hood so all my bash and Perl build tools, etc work. I primarily develop for Apache and MySQL so it just made sense. This may be useful to me. I will need to try some of my scripts etc to see how well this will function for my needs.
  10. GerryCNZ Seniorius Lurkius Shmerl wrote:[quote="rabish12]"Questions for you, and all of the other "I don't see the point of this" people: are you a developer? Have you ever tried to do development in Windows for languages that have poor Windows toolchains, or poor documentation for those toolchains, but solid CLI support for similar toolchains on Linux?

    If you ever need that, you can simply run a normal Linux in VM. So value of WSL is somewhat questionable from that perspective.[/quote]

    I think you underestimate how closly this can be integrated. Add a post build event in Visual Studio that calls into the Bash shell to deploy to WSL, then launch Linux app immediately, rather than:

    Build in VS
    Copy files to Linux VM
    Switch to Linux VM, launch app/website etc
  11. postadelmaga Ars Centurion Fatesrider wrote:I'm honestly not sure what this does for Linux users at all. It sounds like they're tossing a bone to Linux devs to do their thing in Windows. I guess people do that? But I don't know why they'd bother, nor why Microsoft would care enough to do this for them.

    Near as I can tell, it's like they're putting a walled garden inside a walled garden.

    Honest questions: Why would they bother? Wouldn't Linux devs more naturally dev in Linux? Or is this just a "we can make your Windows even more Linux-like!"?

    I think they started to implement this shit after Ubuntu user share was growing (because of Vista) ... and maybe they wanted to gain more space for Windows in the server space.

    To be honest It looks to me a very smart move but I am also curious of how many people switched from Linux to windows because of that .... probably only some of the people that uses to have both OS in double boot (I am sorry for them :P )
    ... anyway now we have Vulkan converting Directx 12 for wine (aka a lot of windows games will run in Linux ) ... and I guess this also gonna bring some Windows user to Linux :)
  12. doubleyewdee Ars Praetorian et Subscriptor nbm wrote:Fatesrider wrote:I'm honestly not sure what this does for Linux users at all. It sounds like they're tossing a bone to Linux devs to do their thing in Windows. I guess people do that? But I don't know why they'd bother, nor why Microsoft would care enough to do this for them.

    Near as I can tell, it's like they're putting a walled garden inside a walled garden.

    Honest questions: Why would they bother? Wouldn't Linux devs more naturally dev in Linux? Or is this just a "we can make your Windows even more Linux-like!"?

    I can give you an example where it would be useful to me, though not to people in general: I work on embedded systems, and many of those have windows-only toolchains because I guess hardware people like Windows. Anyway, I can't really function in a Windows environment for development so I end up doing wacky things like mounting my Windows machine's drive over NFS and doing all but the compilation in a Linux system. If this had been around and usable at my last job (we hadn't transitioned off Windows 7 when I left) it probably would have saved me some weird acrobatics.

    Why Microsoft would do it, on the other hand, seems obvious. They've lost a large amount of developer mindshare. Web development on Windows has been pretty crappy lately. Based on my very informal survey of co-workers, Apple is eating their lunch with developers. Since web development is probably the easiest point of entry for general learning-to-program, that means that they're losing developers in general. If you learn to write code on a mac, and have a mac, and want to write something that's not web-based like a game, you'll probably write it for the mac.

    I don't think they're worried about losing market share to the Linux desktop, since the only Linux desktop users I know today were Linux desktop users before Ubuntu existed. They're worried about Apple.

    Those are the reasons I would want it (though I don't need Windows these days so I don't really) and the reason why Microsoft would want it. The corollary to that last one is that users in general would want it because they already have Windows machines and want to learn to do web development things. If they can run local Django instances and not have to install a whole new OS (or buy a whole new computer) life is better for them.
    [I work at Microsoft, but am speaking for myself here]

    Just to throw more in the "why?" column I can tell you that inside Microsoft we have lots of teams working in mixed environments now. There are awesome software stacks we would like to work with that work best (or only) on Linux so having this mixed development environment is fantastic and makes our day-to-day work much easier to accomplish. It is a massive improvement to inner-loop development work.

    It's also great for anybody that, perhaps, wants to use Azure (or AWS) as their cloud service provider and has workloads that run best on Linux in part or in whole. For a lot of these folks they still want a portable development environment that doesn't necessitate heavy-weight work like running VMs or dual-booting or running a Linux desktop/workstation standalone (reasons for this vary by user). You can of course use a Mac for this as well but you may prefer to stick with Windows (for a variety of reasons).

    And some people (like me) still prefer the Unix-style command shells and actually want those to be our daily drivers on Windows over alternatives like PowerShell or the woefully primitive cmd.exe due to comfort or stylistic preferences or... whatever.

    So basically WSL was birthed because people wanted it for a lot of pretty good reasons. It enables a pretty ridiculous amount of convenience for developer workflows that wasn't available without heavier-weight alternatives that are difficult or even unworkable for people.

    I wouldn't say that the average Windows user needs WSL (and hey, it remains an optional component so you can go on ignoring it if it's not something you need) but when your needs/wants intersect with what it offers it feels like a modest form of magic over clunkier routes you might have previously taken. It's also been rapidly improving since release not even two years ago and what they do to make it work is very impressive stuff.
  13. aleph_nought Ars Tribunus Militum Shmerl wrote:rabish12 wrote:"Questions for you, and all of the other "I don't see the point of this" people: are you a developer? Have you ever tried to do development in Windows for languages that have poor Windows toolchains, or poor documentation for those toolchains, but solid CLI support for similar toolchains on Linux?

    If you ever need that, you can simply run a normal Linux in VM. So value of WSL is somewhat questionable from that perspective. More useful scenario for WSL would be calling Linux binaries directly from Windows ones. But that's quite an edge case.

    I used to be that dude who ran Linux VMs in Windows. Now I just use WSL. A VM incurs lots more overhead and integration with Windows isn't guaranteed, so you have to somehow share files with that VM. The beauty of WSL is that most userland stuff just works, file sharing works out of the box and there's minimal overhead. I can run WSL at full speed on an old Atom Windows tablet, something I can't really do with a VM.

    Last edited by aleph_nought on Tue Mar 27, 2018 8:18 pm

  14. tayhimself Ars Praefectus XolotlLoki wrote:And for those parroting Stallman's idiocy, keep in mind that in a modern Linux distro, the GNU code is only about 12% of the total. Trying to claim an operating system because your they use your toolchain is the height of hubris. The GNU project could have written a real kernel back in the late 80s, but they chose to go with an untested and ultimately unworkable full microkernel design. They've had over 30 years to work on it and it still barely functions as a toy OS.

    To be fair to GNU, the toolchain that allowed Linus to build Linux was GNU. As was the license used to publish, though this I am less clear about. Regarding HURD, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ apparently it's hard to write an Operating System in your spare time. Unless you're Linus, who found it within himself to write git in his spare time as well.
  15. rabish12 Ars Tribunus Angusticlavius GerryCNZ wrote:I think you underestimate how closly this can be integrated. Add a post build event in Visual Studio that calls into the Bash shell to deploy to WSL, then launch Linux app immediately, rather than:

    Build in VS
    Copy files to Linux VM
    Switch to Linux VM, launch app/website etc
    Yeah, the gap is enormous and the integration is vastly better. Resource usage is also substantially lower, which helps when you work in a shop with a tight budget (which I do).
  16. doubleyewdee Ars Praetorian et Subscriptor allinwonder wrote:I'm very satisfied with WSL. The only complaint I have is apt install sometimes is very slow when downloading packages, much slower than normal Ubuntu. I'm wondering if they share repository.

    They do share the same repositories for apt installs, yes. The binaries you get via apt should come directly from Ubuntu's servers. There are known issues with WSL and filesystem performance that, depending on your scenario, could contribute to observably slower performance. I've not personally witnessed network-related issues however.
  17. Fatesrider Ars Tribunus Militum et Subscriptor Digger wrote:vw_fan17 wrote:Embrace, Extend, Extinguish.. Fool me once, Microsoft..

    I love the downvotes on that comment, as if MS didn't have a full and bloody history of squashing anything they consider competition.

    They can't buy out Linux, but they can extinguish it by introducing certain...shall we say...incompatibilities?

    Yeah no thanks. You tried to force that Win10 trash on my system once. Not happening again
    I fully sympathize with the sentiment, but I've stopped trashing Windows. It's like holding a grudge against the Japanese for Pearl Harbor. Your ire will impress them not at all. Rather than buying into their ecosystem and business approach, I'm opting to simply avoid it.

    People have different priorities. Mine is control over my shit and privacy over my data. Microsoft does almost nothing to assure me that either account for anything with them if they want to take it from me. I'm also rather concerned about the forthcoming subscription model for Win 10. If the Windows Store (or whatever it's called) doesn't deliver their anticipated revenue stream, monetizing Windows 10 that way is the next logical step. And Microsoft has not been at all shy about unilateral moves that they think will benefit their bottom line.

    They're a business. That's their right. If people don't like it, they do what I do - leave them entirely. If enough people do that, they'll change. I don't see enough people doing that, so I don't expect them to change. I don't tell people what to do. Despite Microsoft's efforts to convince me to the contrary, I know what works best for me.

    Other people can make their own decisions. Like I said, different people, different priorities. This is why we have choices, and we live with the consequences of them. That cuts both ways, regardless of how folks might view this post (which will influence me not at all, of course). I accept those consequences for myself, so I won't be bitching about them.

    At least I have my control over my shit and my privacy (inasmuch as that's possible these days). To me, that's what matters.
  18. ars-user563467 Ars Centurion stormcrash wrote:Please for the love of all that is decent add the ability to run or forward X applications already. The inability to x forward windows from remote sessions is the only thing keeping me from using WSL in my daily workflow

    If I recall, this is in the pipelines
  19. ars-user563467 Ars Centurion Fatesrider wrote:I'm honestly not sure what this does for Linux users at all. It sounds like they're tossing a bone to Linux devs to do their thing in Windows. I guess people do that? But I don't know why they'd bother, nor why Microsoft would care enough to do this for them.

    Near as I can tell, it's like they're putting a walled garden inside a walled garden.

    Honest questions: Why would they bother? Wouldn't Linux devs more naturally dev in Linux? Or is this just a "we can make your Windows even more Linux-like!"?

    Because being able to run both Windows and Linux concurrently in a lightweight manner (no VMs) mean you have the entire arsenal of tools at your disposal. This is Uber powerful and our entire dev organization is already a fan of this over VMs or dual booting.

    Unless someone is writing kernel code or kernel modules, nobody cares as long as kernel interface upwards it’s identical **

    (**not yet, but MSFT is closing it super rapidly)
  20. ampet Ars Scholae Palatinae ars-user563467 wrote:Fatesrider wrote:I'm honestly not sure what this does for Linux users at all. It sounds like they're tossing a bone to Linux devs to do their thing in Windows. I guess people do that? But I don't know why they'd bother, nor why Microsoft would care enough to do this for them.

    Near as I can tell, it's like they're putting a walled garden inside a walled garden.

    Honest questions: Why would they bother? Wouldn't Linux devs more naturally dev in Linux? Or is this just a "we can make your Windows even more Linux-like!"?

    Because being able to run both Windows and Linux concurrently in a lightweight manner (no VMs) mean you have the entire arsenal of tools at your disposal. This is Uber powerful and our entire dev organization is already a fan of this over VMs or dual booting.

    Unless someone is writing kernel code or kernel modules, nobody cares as long as kernel interface upwards it’s identical **

    (**not yet, but MSFT is closing it super rapidly)
    But doesn't the translation still add overhead? Then again, if Wine is fast (and they get to be so fast while second-guessing Win32 calls basically) then why shouldn't WSL be even faster...
  21. enduzzer Ars Scholae Palatinae science4sail wrote:nbm wrote:So this stuff all says "Linux" in its name, but it's really running on Microsoft's kernel, right? So it's everything-but-Linux from what the extremists call the GNU operating system?

    The appropriate term would be GNU/Windows or GNU/NT.

    MS-GNUDOS?
  22. isparavanje Ars Scholae Palatinae There are so many usecases that those who can't think of any are severely lacking in imagination. I'll just use a personal example to get y'all started:

    I have a gaming PC with 8 cores (AMD, obviously, cause I'm not a millionaire). However, I'm not gaming 99% of the time. Thus, it would be nice to be able to run a Jupyter server on my PC so that I can use those cores when I'm running work stuff. (Yes, I'm technically wasting money because my home electricity bill is paid by me instead of my workplace, but it's probably a few bucks.) Even though python is cross-platform, since I already know how to do everything on Linux, I simply moved from running a Linux VM to WSL and that saved me the effort of reading a bunch of documentation. This has the added advantage of allowing me to use CUDA, which I cannot access from my VM.
  23. dde guy Wise, Aged Ars Veteran et Subscriptor This uad been incredibly useful for me so far. What I really want now is more access and information on the state of my system. Easier access to logging and config tools without a sub-par gui would be ideal.
  24. evancox10 Wise, Aged Ars Veteran doubleyewdee wrote:allinwonder wrote:I'm very satisfied with WSL. The only complaint I have is apt install sometimes is very slow when downloading packages, much slower than normal Ubuntu. I'm wondering if they share repository.

    They do share the same repositories for apt installs, yes. The binaries you get via apt should come directly from Ubuntu's servers. There are known issues with WSL and filesystem performance that, depending on your scenario, could contribute to observably slower performance. I've not personally witnessed network-related issues however.

    I have, it's very strange. Just an apt-get update takes ~30 seconds to finish talking to the first server.
  25. enduzzer Ars Scholae Palatinae nbm wrote:XolotlLoki wrote:Fatesrider wrote:
    And for those parroting Stallman's idiocy, keep in mind that in a modern Linux distro, the GNU code is only about 12% of the total. Trying to claim an operating system because your they use your toolchain is the height of hubris. The GNU project could have written a real kernel back in the late 80s, but they chose to go with an untested and ultimately unworkable full microkernel design. They've had over 30 years to work on it and it still barely functions as a toy OS.

    Who do you think is parroting Stallman? Are you talking about my comment on calling this Linux when Linux (the kernel) is the only part of the operating system commonly referred to as Linux that _isn't_ in WSL? Because if so that's a gross misunderstanding of what I said.

    Pie chart is found here.

    http://pedrocr.pt/text/how-much-gnu-in-gnu-linux/

    According to this, if GNOME is considered a GNU program, then GNU's share of the pie is greater than the kernel's. It's debatable but they seem to be the two principal components of the system. Mozilla accounts for some six percent, X.org three.
  26. Headsoup Ars Centurion et Subscriptor SilverSee wrote:vw_fan17 wrote:Embrace, Extend, Extinguish.. Fool me once, Microsoft..
    The idea of Microsoft "extinguishing" Linux in 2018, even if they wanted to (they don't), is absurd. No need to "fight the good fight" anymore. You won, and this is what victory looks like. Celebrate a little.

    This is not necessarily true. Linux is still big in dev/server land and Microsoft is providing an environment for Linux users to use the MS desktop OS to manage Linux toolsets/environments.

    It's basically providing the argument of "well I no longer seriously need to consider moving to Linux because MS provide this environment."

    This is definitely not MS 'supporting' Linux. It's MS giving people less reason to leave Windows, while giving software/hardware companies less reason to consider making their products cross-platform.

    I.e. the problem is not that Windows can't do Linux, it's that Linux can't do Windows. Make DX open source (or cross-platform) and assist in the development of Wine and then we'll see how much Microsoft <3 Linux...

    This demonstrates the problem perfectly (i.e. Windows only needed for games, but now permanent):
    isparavanje wrote:There are so many usecases that those who can't think of any are severely lacking in imagination. I'll just use a personal example to get y'all started:

    I have a gaming PC with 8 cores (AMD, obviously, cause I'm not a millionaire). However, I'm not gaming 99% of the time. Thus, it would be nice to be able to run a Jupyter server on my PC so that I can use those cores when I'm running work stuff. (Yes, I'm technically wasting money because my home electricity bill is paid by me instead of my workplace, but it's probably a few bucks.) Even though python is cross-platform, since I already know how to do everything on Linux, I simply moved from running a Linux VM to WSL and that saved me the effort of reading a bunch of documentation. This has the added advantage of allowing me to use CUDA, which I cannot access from my VM.


    Well, that'd be the theory I imagine anyway.
  27. James Markon Ars Centurion ARCH!!!!
  28. isparavanje Ars Scholae Palatinae Headsoup wrote:SilverSee wrote:vw_fan17 wrote:Embrace, Extend, Extinguish.. Fool me once, Microsoft..
    The idea of Microsoft "extinguishing" Linux in 2018, even if they wanted to (they don't), is absurd. No need to "fight the good fight" anymore. You won, and this is what victory looks like. Celebrate a little.

    This is not necessarily true. Linux is still big in dev/server land and Microsoft is providing an environment for Linux users to use the MS desktop OS to manage Linux toolsets/environments.

    It's basically providing the argument of "well I no longer seriously need to consider moving to Linux because MS provide this environment."

    This is definitely not MS 'supporting' Linux. It's MS giving people less reason to leave Windows, while giving software/hardware companies less reason to consider making their products cross-platform.

    I.e. the problem is not that Windows can't do Linux, it's that Linux can't do Windows. Make DX open source (or cross-platform) and assist in the development of Wine and then we'll see how much Microsoft <3 Linux...

    This demonstrates the problem perfectly (i.e. Windows only needed for games, but now permanent):
    isparavanje wrote:There are so many usecases that those who can't think of any are severely lacking in imagination. I'll just use a personal example to get y'all started:

    I have a gaming PC with 8 cores (AMD, obviously, cause I'm not a millionaire). However, I'm not gaming 99% of the time. Thus, it would be nice to be able to run a Jupyter server on my PC so that I can use those cores when I'm running work stuff. (Yes, I'm technically wasting money because my home electricity bill is paid by me instead of my workplace, but it's probably a few bucks.) Even though python is cross-platform, since I already know how to do everything on Linux, I simply moved from running a Linux VM to WSL and that saved me the effort of reading a bunch of documentation. This has the added advantage of allowing me to use CUDA, which I cannot access from my VM.


    Well, that'd be the theory I imagine anyway.

    Why do you think "I already know how to do everything on Linux"? Obviously I still have a Linux computer, and all my digitalocean instances run Linux. WSL does absolutely nothing to reduce the dominance of Linux in the sectors where it is dominant, such as in the HPC and webserver spaces. (Caveat: the source does not break down *nixes) Among major cloud providers, only Azure offers non-Linux VMs, and no one even uses them unless they need some specific stuff (eg. there already exists a website written in .NET languages and setup for IIS, which they're migrating offsite)
  29. viscious+ars2 Ars Centurion John.Flick wrote:Just run Vagrant VirtualBox/VMWare boxes. I don't really understand any point to all of this crap. If you're deploying to Linux instances, instance your dev environment locally? Sure, with a shit laptop you might struggle to run a Linux distro, but I guess that's the price you pay?

    Running instances just gets you more attuned to how the web is instanced on modern cloud services. Microsoft really needs to just keep improving it's virtualization or create a new operating system based on Linux.

    Honestly, if games would start ditching DirectX en masse, I would of left Windows years ago. Vulcan has been proven superior at this point.

    So let me get this straight. Instead of running bash, I should instead start up a vm or vagrant or reboot my computer, or format it and install Linux; and then run bash?

    You’ve made a compelling case. I’ll consider it.
  30. gulthaw Ars Scholae Palatinae To all these people asking "why!?" :
    I'm a Windows sys admin. Since NT4 and took my first professional steps with AD so is kind of the pet you've had growing up
    Now in my current job I have a few linux servers and putty is fine and all but doesn't feel right; WSL on the other hand feels like doing "win+r>cmd"

    I love it :)
  31. CraigJ Ars Scholae Palatinae et Subscriptor isparavanje wrote:Headsoup wrote:SilverSee wrote:vw_fan17 wrote:Embrace, Extend, Extinguish.. Fool me once, Microsoft..
    The idea of Microsoft "extinguishing" Linux in 2018, even if they wanted to (they don't), is absurd. No need to "fight the good fight" anymore. You won, and this is what victory looks like. Celebrate a little.

    This is not necessarily true. Linux is still big in dev/server land and Microsoft is providing an environment for Linux users to use the MS desktop OS to manage Linux toolsets/environments.

    It's basically providing the argument of "well I no longer seriously need to consider moving to Linux because MS provide this environment."

    This is definitely not MS 'supporting' Linux. It's MS giving people less reason to leave Windows, while giving software/hardware companies less reason to consider making their products cross-platform.

    I.e. the problem is not that Windows can't do Linux, it's that Linux can't do Windows. Make DX open source (or cross-platform) and assist in the development of Wine and then we'll see how much Microsoft <3 Linux...

    This demonstrates the problem perfectly (i.e. Windows only needed for games, but now permanent):
    isparavanje wrote:There are so many usecases that those who can't think of any are severely lacking in imagination. I'll just use a personal example to get y'all started:

    I have a gaming PC with 8 cores (AMD, obviously, cause I'm not a millionaire). However, I'm not gaming 99% of the time. Thus, it would be nice to be able to run a Jupyter server on my PC so that I can use those cores when I'm running work stuff. (Yes, I'm technically wasting money because my home electricity bill is paid by me instead of my workplace, but it's probably a few bucks.) Even though python is cross-platform, since I already know how to do everything on Linux, I simply moved from running a Linux VM to WSL and that saved me the effort of reading a bunch of documentation. This has the added advantage of allowing me to use CUDA, which I cannot access from my VM.


    Well, that'd be the theory I imagine anyway.

    Why do you think "I already know how to do everything on Linux"? Obviously I still have a Linux computer, and all my digitalocean instances run Linux. WSL does absolutely nothing to reduce the dominance of Linux in the sectors where it is dominant, such as in the HPC and webserver spaces. (Caveat: the source does not break down *nixes) Among major cloud providers, only Azure offers non-Linux VMs, and no one even uses them unless they need some specific stuff (eg. there already exists a website written in .NET languages and setup for IIS, which they're migrating offsite)
    AWS offers windows on its EC2 instances.
  32. enduzzer Ars Scholae Palatinae XolotlLoki wrote:Fatesrider wrote:I'm honestly not sure what this does for Linux users at all. It sounds like they're tossing a bone to Linux devs to do their thing in Windows. I guess people do that? But I don't know why they'd bother, nor why Microsoft would care enough to do this for them.

    Near as I can tell, it's like they're putting a walled garden inside a walled garden.

    Honest questions: Why would they bother? Wouldn't Linux devs more naturally dev in Linux? Or is this just a "we can make your Windows even more Linux-like!"?

    For Linux users who need to code in Windows (e.g. write cross platform code that runs on both platforms), this is the best thing since sliced Cygwin. You get a real bash interpreter, your POSIX code builds against normal Linux targets, your scripts work normally, YOU CAN CASUALLY GREP FOR THINGS, etc. The full richness of a piped command line is yours, without having to switch machines or reboot. Command line ssh is just there for the crazy things you might want to use it for (e.g. port forwarding).

    Granted, you could have all of these pieces on Windows via several mechanisms before, but they were all lacking in some respect (*cough* cygwin *cough*). This is a real Linux distro, with the Windows kernel exporting the expected interface.

    And for those parroting Stallman's idiocy, keep in mind that in a modern Linux distro, the GNU code is only about 12% of the total. Trying to claim an operating system because your they use your toolchain is the height of hubris. The GNU project could have written a real kernel back in the late 80s, but they chose to go with an untested and ultimately unworkable full microkernel design. They've had over 30 years to work on it and it still barely functions as a toy OS.

    There are multiple working variants of GNU the operating system available right now. They may be niche systems but it's hardly a synonym for being a "toy".

    GNU is an operating system that has many kernels other than its own, the Hurd, which is delayed and probably will never be finished unless somebody throws money at it.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU_variants
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