back to article Microsoft has developed its own Linux. Repeat. Microsoft has developed its own Linux

Sitting down? Nothing in your mouth? Microsoft has developed its own Linux distribution. And Azure runs it to do networking. Redmond's revealed that it's built something called Azure Cloud Switch (ACS), describing it as “a cross-platform modular operating system for data center networking built on Linux” and “our foray into …

  1. Mikel

    Finally hired someone who knows good software

    Probably told her they were a .com startup until after the hook was set.

    1. Bob Vistakin
      Linux

      Re: Finally hired someone who knows good software

      U-ho.

      Their mobile efforts also failed, so their only way forward was infiltration. Is this the way we'll see Linux on the desktop then?

      Maybe we could ask cortana.

      1. ITS Retired

        Re: Finally hired someone who knows good software

        I can't see Microsoft's version of Linux being any better than their own desktop software.

        What I can see are patient and copyright lawsuits by MS against the established Linux world.

        The DoJ needs to revisit the breakup of Microsoft into Office software and operating system software.

        1. 101

          Re: Finally hired someone who knows good software

          DoJ and MS are the same thing anymore. Just different logos.

        2. ps2os2

          Re: Finally hired someone who knows good software

          How many BSOD can MS program?

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Finally hired someone who knows good software

          On the contrary, as this software is based on Linux, which is GPL'd - remember why MacroStuffed hires hundreds of corporate lawyers? - I'm eagerly awaiting my copy of all of the source code for this software, because the GPL requires that, and Microsoft hates software piracy and people who don't comply with every letter of their software licence, doesn't it? :)

          1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

            Re: Finally hired someone who knows good software

            > I'm eagerly awaiting my copy of all of the source code for this software, because the GPL requires that,

            The GPL only requires that the source code be available to those who receive the software. As the software is only distributed internally then there is no requirement for source code to be made available outside.

    2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      1. lee7

        Re: Finally hired someone who knows good software

        Oh clever, sneak in an advert.

        1. asdf Silver badge

          Re: Finally hired someone who knows good software

          >Oh clever, sneak in an advert.

          Oh look I just used the report button for the like the first time ever on that garbage (original post he is referring too) and I have been on this site for well over a decade. I never even had too with either Matt B or Eadon. Trolling I can deal with (I borderline do it some would claim). Work from home for $87 an hour garbage not so much. Everyone should report the third post up from this one.

          1. hutcheson

            Re: Finally hired someone who knows good software

            >Work from home for $87 an hour garbage

            Really, I mean!

            Who works from home for less than $92.26 these days?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Alien

              Re: Finally hired someone who knows good software

              >Who works from home for less than $92.26 these days?

              Wouldn't fart on the cat for less than $317.79

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Finally hired someone who knows good software

                And what has the cat ever done to you?

                [Unless it's the neighbour's cat that keeps shitting in my garden. Then I'd say nuke it!!]

      2. David Dawson

        Re: Finally hired someone who knows good software

        DEAREST PAUL STAN,

        GREAT TO HEAR ABOUT YOUR THOUGHTS ON DOCKER. WE TOO USE DOCKER, I HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN.

        I AM CHIEF WUNDERBUND OF DOCKERFILE INC. REGISTERED IN THE GLORIOUS REALM OF TEXAS. WE HAVE JUST RECEIVED $100 MILLIONS AND NEED A TRUSTED PARTNER TO INVEST THIS.

        WOULD YOU BE ABLE TO GUIDE US IN THE MUNIFICENT VENTURE?

        ALL WE WOULD NEED IS $87.40 IN AN UP FRONT PAYMENT TO GRANT YOU ACCESS TO OUR CONTAINERISED MONEY BIN. THIS IS TO BREAK THE ISOLATION INHERENT IN THESE CONTAINERS.

        LOOKING FORWARD TO TALKING MORE AT YOUR LEISURE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

    3. Fitz_

      Re: Finally hired someone who knows good software

      I have a .exe startup - do I win?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Finally hired someone who knows good software

      Presumably they only did this because it was cheaper and easier than recompiling Windows for these ASICs. Surprised the performance is good enough though. As anyone who has tried really high end connectivity like Mallanox or 40GB Ethernet, the Windows network stack significantly outperforms off the shelf Linux - which doesn't support features like TOE without custom kernel hacks.

      1. Chemist

        Re: Finally hired someone who knows good software

        " the Windows network stack significantly outperforms off the shelf Linux "

        Ahahah !

        1. GrahamsTenPenneth

          Re: Finally hired someone who knows good software

          .... err...

          The __BSD___ network stack significantly outperforms off the shelf Linux.

          Yes I guess it would.

      2. Maventi

        Re: Finally hired someone who knows good software

        "Surprised the performance is good enough though."

        Why? For starters the OS doesn't move frames in a switch, it's just there for abstracting management of the actual ASIC(s).

        "As anyone who has tried really high end connectivity like Mallanox or 40GB Ethernet,"

        That would be me. And in reality it depends on many more factors than just the OS, such as NIC chipset and driver quality. For many day-to-day tasks I've seen little discernible different between Windows and Linux at 10G or 40G. I've found Linux (and *BSD) often pull ahead slightly once you increase the frame size (who doesn't these days?) but in reality it's hardly enough to bother writing home about.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Finally hired someone who knows good software

          "I've found Linux (and *BSD) often pull ahead slightly once you increase the frame size (who doesn't these days?) but in reality it's hardly enough to bother writing home about."

          Not my experience - high bandwidth / low latency networking is almost always faster on recent Windows versions than Linux (can't comment on BSD) - examples I have seen tested being as an NFS server - and as a SMB server (using SMB Direct) it's way faster than any Linux option I have ever seen. Does Linux have an SMB Direct driver yet? The Samba team were "working on it" 2 years + ago...

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Finally hired someone who knows good software

          "Why? For starters the OS doesn't move frames in a switch, it's just there for abstracting management of the actual ASIC(s)."

          That makes more sense, thought this was the OS routing the packets. Which Windows tends to do very well these days due to the fully modular network stack, and better native hardware integration - for instance TOE and RDMA support is a native part of the OS, not a bolt on.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Facepalm

            Re: Finally hired someone who knows good software

            Jesus

            RICHTO's in the the house.

            I had a feeling this thread would attract the attention of MS marketing/pr.

    5. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Mushroom

        @"paulstan"

        Why does e v e r y . s i n g l e . o n e . of your posts* end with a link to www.windocks.com? Are you trying to use El Reg to drive up traffic to a little www.windocks.com ad farm you're running?

        *with the exception of the ONE that was censored by El Reg (above) to remove the invariable www.windocks.com spam.

        PS. I just went through all your posts and pressed the "report abuse" button on each of them, on account of the brazen spamming. Hope you don't mind.

        1. asdf Silver badge

          Re: @"paulstan"

          >PS. I just went through all your posts and pressed the "report abuse" button on each of them, on account of the brazen spamming. Hope you don't mind.

          Good for you but did you have to give his/her shitty company more press by repeating its name multiple times? Would have given you an upvote otherwise.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      IT'S A TRICK

      They're going to do to Linux what they've done to Windows; ruin a good thing and remove all business and consumer interest.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Microsoft Linux" ?

    Sounds about as appetising as "Oracle Java".

    1. grumpyoldeyore
      Devil

      Re: "Microsoft Linux" ?

      Actually sounds as appealing as "Microsoft Java" . Windows extensions coming to systemd?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Microsoft Linux" ?

        Windows extensions coming to systemd?

        Oh my... The apocalypse is coming, after all.

        1. packrat

          Re: "Microsoft Linux" ?

          again. (stack code, nt.)

      2. boltar Silver badge

        Re: "Microsoft Linux" ?

        "Windows extensions coming to systemd?"

        Embrace and Extend! I'm wondering if Nadella thought "Why the f**k did we bin Xenix? Sort out a replacement!" and Azure is currently just the test platform :o)

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Microsoft Linux" ?

        > Windows extensions coming to systemd?

        Maybe systemd was an MS plot all along

        1. James 100

          Re: "Microsoft Linux" ?

          > Maybe systemd was an MS plot all along

          No - MS itself was an early systemd manifestation...

      4. jelabarre59 Silver badge

        Re: "Microsoft Linux" ?

        I thought Systemd *was* a MSWindows extension...

      5. oswdt

        Re: "Microsoft Linux" ?

        Systemd changed Microsoft's mind.

    2. Shadow Systems Silver badge

      Re: "Microsoft Linux" ?

      Or perhaps that stuff they sell from the rolling Roach Coaches & leave you glued to the WC for hours afterwards in a case of the Flaming Farts?

    3. Innocent-Bystander*

      Re: "Microsoft Linux" ?

      Just port office over to Linux, that's enough for me.

    4. Bob Vistakin
      Pint

      Re: "Microsoft Linux" ?

      Or even "Microsoft Zune", another typical microsoft catch-up "me too" failed experiment, fit only for posters on tech forums to mock by constructing fake names from.

    5. Nigel 11

      Re: "Microsoft Linux" ?

      They missed out Windows 9 and you wondered why. Now the fog is clearing. MS Windows 10. MS Windows X. MS X Windows? Coming to a desktop near you soon, in your dreams. Or nightmares.

    6. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: "Microsoft Linux" ?

      It's going to be called Xenix ME.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What are they going to put on the case? redhat Inside

    1. Khaptain Silver badge

      RedmondHat Inside

      1. Archie Woodnuts

        What you did there.

        I see it.

      2. Tom 7 Silver badge

        RedmondHat Inside

        Sounds like a Dutch Cap.

        1. Daniel von Asmuth Bronze badge

          Re: RedmondHat Inside

          "focuses on feature development based on Microsoft priorities"

          What will that get us? Switches to make sure that Windows 10 Desktops will never loose their route to Redmond HQ so they can phone home?

      3. launcap Silver badge

        > RedmondHat Inside

        More likely Redcap inside..

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

  4. Jack of Shadows Silver badge
    Happy

    It actually sense at the coding level. If you're building SDN across that many combinations, it's almost certain that Linux is your lingua franca. Unless you really are a complete masochist. Oh, that's right, Balmer's left the building so scratch the master Sadist from the list.

    1. Frank Rysanek

      Network switches have been running Linux-based firmware for ages

      Ethernet switches have been using Linux-based firmware on the inside for ages - especially the lesser known brands / switch vendors. Cisco traditionally had their own in-house IOS, but I seem to recall that some more modern IOS strains on some HW platforms are actually linux-based too... Other popular operating systems to use for firmware are the various BSD flavours and various RtOS'es (QNX, VxWorks and the like). The CPU cores used in switching hardware (= what actually runs the firmware code) are typically PowerPC, ARM, or MIPS - Linux supports all of them. If the Ethernet switch chipset makers provide some reference firmware platform, it will most likely be Linux. So if someone like Microsoft possibly decides to develop their own firmware for some 3rd-party OEM switch hardware, Linux is a very logical choice. That's where they're likely to get the best technical support, needed to bootstrap Linux on the management CPU core, and in terms of drivers and API's for the specific hardware (L2 switch matrices, L3+ accelerators, DMA engines, individual mac/phy blocks, various misc IO such as I2C/SPI/GPIO). But I still consider it a little unlikely that they're going all the way from bare metal (Linux from scratch). I would find it more natural if they took whatever reference firmware (Linux) the chipset maker has provided, and port the Microsoft's own user-space tools / API's to it, while possibly bugfixing and modifying the reference firmware a bit in the process.

      1. oolor
        Black Helicopters

        Hmm switches, NSA uses linux...

        [/end funnin']

        @Frank:

        Interesting you mentioned Cisco, but this was my first thought and the natural business target/opportunity.

  5. Jos V

    ACS?

    I think Amazon might have something to say about using the name ACS. "C" standing for cloud might even reinforce that opinion... No?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Meh

      Re: ACS?

      Or the Australian Computing Society, what with it running on computers.

  6. Asok Asus

    Yawn. Sounds like they have a bunch of networking iron they’re developing that runs embedded Linux. Half the world has already been doing this for nearly a decade.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Indeed

      So it is not cats sleeping with dogs, Lucipher driving a snowplough or the four horseman riding out.

      So while an improvement (in Balmer days they would have twisted Broadcom's arm to stick Windows on it or gone for vXworks), it is out of necessity. It is not a result of finally having a more adequate perception of reality and the actual merits of Linux vs Windows for real work.

    2. werdsmith Silver badge

      I thought there was going to be an interesting story here.

      Turns out it's just MS using an appropriate tool for a particular task and adapting it.

      Nothing to see.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: an interesting story here.

        "MS using an appropriate tool for a particular task and adapting it."

        But that *is* an interesting story.

        Imagine if the idea of "using an appropriate tool for a particular task " caught on elsewhere.

        Certified Windows dependent IT departments around the world would be up the creek without a propulsion object.

        IT projects might succeed (according to organisation-defined not IT-defined criteria), and sometimes success might even cost less than today's failures cost organisations.

        Bring back Windows CE, before this embedded Linux insanity catches on in Redmond.

        The end is nigh.

        1. Peter2 Silver badge

          Re: an interesting story here.

          "IT projects might succeed (according to organisation-defined not IT-defined criteria), and sometimes success might even cost less than today's failures cost organisations."

          IT Projects succeeding or failing usually has very little (in fact nothing) to do with the underlying Operating System. Also, IT defined criteria *is* the organization defined criteria. Not following? Ok.

          Junior person in hospital wants to transmit pictures of abused kid who's come into the hospital to social services so they can investigate if the parent is abusing the kid. Junior person specs the requirement as:-

          1) "I want a computer with an internet connection so I can email a picture of an abused kid to Social Services".

          Simple, right?

          IT requirement for the same job probably reads something along the lines of requirement "method of making abuse report and securely transferring images to Social Services".

          1) We must be able to prove that we have sent it.

          2) We must be able to prove that they have received it

          3) We must be able to prove that we have made the report in a format that can be input to their internal systems.

          4) We must be able to prove that they have actioned the report to fulfil our duty of care to the patient.

          5) We must be able to prove that the images have been sent securely.

          6) We must be able to provide an auditable trail of who has seen, received, discussed (etc) the child and said pictures in case Social Services takes the case to court and demands that our staff give evidence.

          In the hypothetical situation above, Do you really think that IT put all of the other requirements in for their own amusement, or do you think the IT people were tasked by the hospital to ensure that their IT systems follow all of the local requirements like the hospitals duty of care, privacy of the people involved, governing body requirements, laws, etc?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: an interesting story here.

            "Do you really think that IT put all of the other requirements in for their own amusement,"

            What you wrote makes a great deal of sense.

            Unfortunately in my twenty odd years experience of IT departments (as a non-IT employee with a clue about IT) less than 3% of IT departments and IT people I have experienced would have a clue about the perfectly reasonable stuff you wrote (some of which arguably are user requirements not IT requirements anyway).

            IT requirements:

            1) Does it run on Windows?

            2) Do Microsoft sell it?

            3) You're in.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: an interesting story here.

              @A/C all I feel is pity for you, most of the (other) people I work with would operate at that level, its what we get paid for.

              Personally it sounds to me like you have a very low opinion of IT professionals, or you've always worked alongside the low hanging fruit.

            2. Peter2 Silver badge

              Re: an interesting story here.

              (some of which arguably are user requirements not IT requirements anyway).

              With regards to user requriements: i'd agree that what I tacked on there are in fact user requirements, but that's because the users rarely know what they are actually asking for and never check that their proposed solution is actually acceptable to the business.

              Does it fit in with existing processes for their department, other departments and external entities? They probably don't know their job is a carefully designed little cog in a bigger machine, let alone consider how it fits in, or that if they provide two extra bits of information initially it saves somebody else 5 telephone calls trying to get hold of them.

              Does the solution meet local laws and requirements from the governing body? Users simply don't consider this stuff, which is why IT usually has a change manager who does little other than checking this stuff.

              Unfortunately in my twenty odd years experience of IT departments (as a non-IT employee with a clue about IT) less than 3% of IT departments and IT people I have experienced would have a clue about the perfectly reasonable stuff you wrote

              Obviously!

              If your working in a large enviroment that has implemented ITIL, then out of an IT department with 25 staff it's likely that a mere handful are actually IT people. Consider an ITIL IT Department:-

              10 first line staff. Probably paid about ~£12k, (geeks with mild interest in IT if your lucky.) Capable of very basic troubleshooting via script eg. asking if the computer is turned on and logging everything that comes in. Has a hard limit of 5 minutes to a call and hated by people with real problems, but as they close > 60% of calls into the department management cares little what the users think.

              5 second line staff. Probably paid ~£18k, marginally competent semi trained monkeys who can visit the user and plug the PC back in. (because the user unplugged it to put a phone charger in) or deal with other basic issues. Probably allowed to spend 15 mins troubleshooting, otherwise replace the PC and bring the box back to base to be reimaged if it's a software fault or have a vendor support call logged if it's a hardware fault.

              2 third line staff. Probably paid £30k-50k+, real IT people who are ex-directory on the internal phone lists etc. These people deal with real problems and the other staff are basically employed to keep users from disturbing them.

              8 Management. (1st line servicedesk manager, manager for 2nd line staff, manager for 3rd line staff, one real IT technical manager who used to be a tech in the days of token ring networks, process change manager, manager to manage the other managers, deputy head of IT, Head of IT.

              Out of those 8 management one is technical, the others are process management, supervisory, planning, makework and irrelevance provided from the wider business.

              So, in that 25 person IT department you might have 3 "real" IT staff. The others are just little cogs working to a narrowly defined process. In light of this, how surprised are you that you never speak to "real" IT staff?

              We have entire leigons of minions (those first and second line staff) employed for no other reason but to protect us from needlessly unproductive interaction with users, because basically the business can't afford our time spent chatting to users.

              Instead, you get chinese whispers from people assigned as go betweens who don't understand what they are doing, or why. Therefore, in the way of the world they try and cover up not knowing with waffle.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        >>> Turns out it's just MS using an appropriate tool for a particular task and adapting it.

        Come on that's progress, let's congratulate them :)

    3. Hans 1 Silver badge

      >Half the world has already been doing this for nearly a decade.

      Half the world has already been doing this for nearly TWO decades.

      Fixed that ...

    4. Chika
      Holmes

      We know, we know!

      But then we also know that Microsoft has a nasty habit of playing the catchup game, picking up various ideas and technologies years after everyone else then trying to pass themselves off as the dominant player.

      All I see here is that Microsoft are doing something similar to what Google did to make Android or Apple did to make whichever cat they are currently marketing. Given that they are so keen to move everyone into the "cloud", I doubt that this will be a direct desktop based Linux - it's more likely to be an attack on the server side of things. The thing is whether their name is enough to sell something like this, especially if this really is a Linux which will limit the ways they can monetise everything.

      Yes, it all comes down to money. Microsoft is a Merkan Corporate, after all.

  7. Herby Silver badge

    It must be a bit cold down there.

    Of course, I have doubts that Microsoft is endorsing LibreOffice very much.

  8. Lostintranslation

    I'll keep a watch out for the weekly patches then.

  9. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    Obviously MS will sell this as a service, not a product.

    Windows.

    It's all you'll ever need.

    Anywhere.

    1. Col_Panek

      Re: Obviously MS will sell this as a service, not a product.

      That's how prostitution is marketed.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Obviously MS will sell this as a service, not a product.

      Well obviously. Not much point in selling it as a product when it's open source, is there?

  10. SecretSonOfHG

    They wanted something that didn't phone home

    And Windows was not a safe choice.

    1. RobHib

      @ SecretSonOfHG – Re: They wanted something that didn't phone home

      Right, much quicker than properly delousing its own code.

      Nevertheless, this is very ominous; like Paulus at Stalingrad, I feel surrounded. I shiver that Microsoft's next move won't be in my best interest.

  11. Dwarf Silver badge
    Angel

    I wonder

    I wonder how they got on unifying the user interface to make it look the same as everything else. After all, we are told elsewhere that they eat their own dog food and that there is only one vision.

    1. h4rm0ny

      Re: I wonder

      This isn't an OS for the end user, there wont be a GUI at all from what I surmise from the article. MS developed some software for managing GNU/Linux via Powershell so it'll probably be managed through that.

      1. Dwarf Silver badge

        Re: I wonder

        You missed the humor angle to the original posting.

        1. dogged

          Re: I wonder

          so did the OP.

  12. WibbleMe

    hahhahah

  13. moiety

    See? Even Microsoft are switching to linux.

    1. Stretch

      no, its the right tool for the right job. You don't use linux on the desktop unless you're a masochist and you don't use Windows embedded for anything at all.

      1. P. Lee Silver badge

        Linux provides several very pleasant desktop options. If you want ms apps however you nay prefer an ms desktop.

        That's by the by, however. I suspect this will be a hotmail type job. Bring the function in-house as *nix to get into the market and then port to windows.

        It would certainly be helpful if switches authenticated users against AD without all this x509 malarky, hmm?

        The Linux component either will not remain or it will remain because ms wants to ship windows-specific extensions to Linux sw switch vendors. FLOSS is there because people cooperate to solve a problem and share the costs and benefits. MS has no ifinancial nterest in sharing benefits with others, which is why I'm wary of even stuff they might provide under the gpl. It's fine to use, but don't expect it to continue without you paying in some way or other.

      2. TimeMaster T

        "You don't use linux on the desktop unless you're a masochist ..."

        I have to disagree. My main home system has been Linux with KDE/TDE for almost 15 years now. I also have a Windows box that I keep around for a couple of games/apps that don't have a Linux port and I haven't tried with WINE yet.

        I've had more headaches with the Windows system in the last year than I've had with Linux desktop in the past 15. And I use my Linux system for a lot more than just games. All my multimedia/photo editing, CD/DVD authoring/burning, office apps, games (native and WINE), printing on a laser printer that is no longer supported for Windows but works fine with Linux, and of course surfing the Internet.

        You want to talk about masochists? talk to people who lose all their files because of some virus, or the ones who can't open some old MSWorks document because MS Word doesn't support the format anymore. Offer them an option like Linux, or even a Mac, and they will always go back to Windows.

        From 20+ years of working with computers I can tell you that every system, be it Linux, Windows, OSX, or BSD is a pain for the average user to install and configure as a fresh install. But once the OS is configured and the drivers installed they are all the same. They work, and people don't care what OS they use as long as it does what they want it to.

        1. Captain Mainwaring

          So true

          " They work, and people don't care what OS they use as long as it does what they want it to. "

          Exactly how I feel about my new Chrome OS desktop

        2. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

          Most of the resistance to leaving Winblows is because of specific applications the user "can not do without" whether there is an acceptable substitute on any alternative OS.

          Posted from Antergos (Arch based) with Cinnamon desktop

      3. nijam Silver badge

        Well, I'm not a masochist and I use Linux on the desktop.

        If I were a masochist, I'd be using something sluggish, obstructive, incoherent, and insecure, such as Windows.

      4. Wyrdness

        Upvoted from my Linux desktop ;)

        1. Tom 7 Silver badge

          Maybe it is the year of LDT

          seems nearly half of all dells sold in china are loaded with NeoKylin (based on ubuntu)

          Not sure I want to try one though...

          1. keithpeter
            Coat

            Re: Maybe it is the year of LDT

            "seems nearly half of all dells sold in china are loaded with NeoKylin (based on ubuntu)"

            @Tom 7: have a look at Deepin Linux. 'Independent' Linux distro from PRC.

            Ubuntu core, cusomised UI based on a traditional panel-at-the-bottom approach, lots of codecs & multimedia. Interesting terminal application (think screen/byobu out of box but easier).

            Coat: this thread is about an obscure embedded OS for a networking component. Not really desktop issues.

      5. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "You don't use linux on the desktop unless you're a masochist"

        I came to that conclusion about Windows a long time ago. There's something ironic about Windows being so opaque.

      6. Peter Simpson 1
        Linux

        I use Linux Mint on the desktop, and it works just fine for me.

        // doesn't suck any worse than Windows.

      7. jelabarre59 Silver badge

        > no, its the right tool for the right job. You don't use linux on the desktop unless you're a masochist

        Well, bring out the whips and handcuffs, because Linux has been my desktop OS for the last 15 years (of course, I've been married for those last 15 years too, so perhaps your comparison isn't so far off either <g>)

      8. Chika
        FAIL

        You don't use linux on the desktop unless you're a masochist and you don't use Windows embedded for anything at all.

        Now there's an imaginative troll if ever I saw one!

        ...Posted from KDE3 on openSUSE 13.1! So there! :b...

      9. GrahamsTenPenneth

        Oh dear.

        Who's going to tell him?

        Just go play with your anti-virus and be quiet.

    2. Dazed and Confused Silver badge

      Re: See? Even Microsoft are switching to linux.

      I wonder when they'll sue themselves.

      I also wonder whether they'll finally tell themselves which patents they are infringing.

  14. Tromos

    What comes next?

    I see that Microsoft are embracing and extending Linux.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Linux

      Re: What comes next?

      Extending it was a bitch however, have you seen the size of the BSOD patch?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Any comment from Steve Balmer?

    10 years ago, he described Linux as a "cancer"… seems Microsoft is now "infected".

    Still, I welcome them, provided they play by the rules.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Linux

      Re: Any comment from Steve Balmer?

      They won't have much option but to play by the rules. The Linux kernel license (i.e. the GPL) is pretty clear on the obligations that MS have to satisfy. More to the point MS can't try to get the GPL revoked in a US court; that has already been tried (SCO being the last hopeful) and failed.

      More to the point, if MS try to revoke the GPL they loose all rights to use the kernel which would probably put a serious crimp in their operations.

      Somehow I suspect they will play by the rules this time!

      1. Michael Habel Silver badge

        Re: Any comment from Steve Balmer?

        You mean more so the say the Chinese Phablet Chip Makers... Al-la Mediatek, Rockchip, Allwiner or Amlogic? Who either release NOTHING at all, or a huge jumbled mess if, and when they do?

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Any comment from Steve Balmer?

          "You mean more so the say the Chinese Phablet Chip Makers"

          The way to nail that down is to make it an issue in China.

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

      3. bpfh
        Facepalm

        Re: Any comment from Steve Balmer?

        They won't have much option but to play by the rules. The Linux kernel license (i.e. the GPL) is pretty clear on the obligations that MS have to satisfy

        Didn't this train wreck already happen between Sun & Microsoft with the MS Java fiasco of the late 90's or have I entered a reality distortion field?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Any comment from Steve Balmer?

          Different issue also together. That was a spat caused by MS trying to re-interpret the T&Cs of the contract that allowed them to develop and distribute the MS JVM. Sun sued them to enforce the contract, and MS (despite it's huge team of legal eagles) lost big time and subsequently pulled the MS JVM from the market (not that that was any loss).

        2. Chika

          Re: Any comment from Steve Balmer?

          Didn't this train wreck already happen between Sun & Microsoft with the MS Java fiasco of the late 90's or have I entered a reality distortion field?

          I remember that getting hold of Windows 2000 distros is difficult these days because of that.

          (Mind you, why would you want to?)

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Any comment from Steve Balmer?

            "I remember that getting hold of Windows 2000 distros is difficult these days because of that.

            (Mind you, why would you want to?)"

            Because it won't try to update itself to 10?

      4. Afernie

        Re: Any comment from Steve Balmer?

        "The Linux kernel license (i.e. the GPL) is pretty clear on the obligations that MS have to satisfy."

        I think they'll be pretty clear on the terms - they've been contributing to the kernel for years.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Any comment from Steve Balmer?

          Which just means that they have even less excuse than normal. However there is very little source code marked as having come from MS; I just checked the source for 3.16.7 and found 6 files, all to do with hypervisors.

          1. Dixey

            Re: Any comment from Steve Balmer?

            It is about time that Mr Balmer acted his age and made a public apology to both the Linux community and to all those who have been unfortunate enough to have suffered from cancer. His comments were both childish and unfeeling. The best way he could show some form of remorse would be to make a rather large donation to Cancer Research. At least that way some of the money that Microsoft wasted on him will come to good use.

        2. Richard Plinston Silver badge

          Re: Any comment from Steve Balmer?

          > they've been contributing to the kernel for years.

          No. That is not true. They did contribute stuff to the kernel once, in 2012. It was for its Hyper-V virtualization hypervisor, only useful to Microsoft.

          http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/09/16/linux_foundation_kernel_report_2013/

      5. sundhaug92

        Re: Any comment from Steve Balmer?

        They aren't really affected by the GPL as long as it's just used internally, that's the difference between GPL and AGPL.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Partners

    Requested they get more integrating into the routing side of the internet, "there is a lot of data we don't have direct eyes on so if you could get some experience there it would be greatly appreciated. Open source? LOL, anyway get the framework done and we can slot the blobs in once it is being used".

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Windows 11

    Cheaper to develop it as a Linux fork?

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Windows 11

      The systemd folk have been working on that one for some time.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Windows 11

        Say what you want about systemd (and yes, most of it is uncomplementary), the fact that it parallelises the startup procedure means that systems are up and running amazingly quickly.

        Of course, if something breaks during that startup, you'll be wondering why you're in a drifting canoe and what the smell is.

        1. Dazed and Confused Silver badge

          Re: Windows 11

          > means that systems are up and running amazingly quickly.

          While this is true, for most server folk it is also not very relevant. Most Linux servers get rebooted once in a blue moon. Besides modern HW seems to spend so long in FW initialization that any time saved in the init -> login time window is lost in the time outside of the SW authors hands.

          I appreciate the speed of RHEL7's (as an example) startup, but it's still slower than a few year old box booting RHEL6.

          There are other ways to parallelize start up without flouting every tenant of Unix/Linux SW design (do one job, do it well) in particular and just good design principles in general (write down what you are trying to achieve before you work).

        2. present_arms

          Re: Windows 11

          No, No it doesn't, I have systemV with parallel start up, and it boots faster than any systemd system with a better processor, fact. It's not even a good init system. YMMV

        3. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

          re: systemd ... parallelises the startup procedure

          The thing is, that functionality is trivially implemented by adding like two scripts to your system. Let's call them 'await' and 'provide' for the sake of illustration. The 'await' script blocks until some other part of the system calls 'provide' after setting up the matching service. If you want you can have a third script that does static analysis of the boot scripts to make sure that every 'await' has a matching 'provide' and that there aren't any dependency loops (or potential race conditions, perhaps). You could easily also put such dependency information in a comment section (like upstart, I think) so that analysis is easier and quicker.

          The problem is that systemd wants to take over your entire system and the supposed killer feature of faster boot times has become basically irrelevant to most users (thanks to suspend/hibernate and fast SSDs).

  18. 45RPM Silver badge

    Credit where it's due

    Nadella is a technology man - he understands, and is passionate about, this stuff. So far, he seems to be making the right, and sensible, decisions. His is a new, invigorated, Microsoft.

    Ballmer was just a soap salesman, and reminded me of Stan from Monkey Island. He didn't understand the technology, and must have been fearful everyday that he was about to be found out. All we got from him was flannel.

    1. sysconfig
      Coffee/keyboard

      Re: Credit where it's due

      Have an upvote for the Monkey Island reference. Hilarious! That made my day... and ruined my keyboard.

      1. Chika

        Re: Credit where it's due

        Ook?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Impressed by this bit....

    <quote>

    Microsoft priorities” and “allows us to debug, fix, and test software bugs much faster.

    </quote>

    Hopefully they will apply this to the Windows product line.

  20. The Vociferous Time Waster
    Mushroom

    Wow

    What he means is Old Testament, Mr. Mayor, real wrath of God type stuff. Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling! Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes... The dead rising from the grave! Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria!

  21. Esme

    Anyone for Lindows?

    Never thought I'd see the day, I honestly thought MS would drive themselves into bankruptcy producing crapware before this happened.

    I wonder if they'll produce a home user Linux? And if they do, I wonder how closely it'll resemble Lindows as was or, come to that, any reasonably standard distro with the Redmond-alike customisation turned up to 11?

    1. sysconfig

      Re: Anyone for Lindows?

      "I wonder if they'll produce a home user Linux?"

      Read the article. We're talking embedded here. That's about as far away from a desktop OS as it gets.

      1. Esme

        Re: Anyone for Lindows?

        @sysconfig - I DID read the article. I knew they were talking about embedded. Hence why I wondered whether they'll produce a home user Linux. Y'might want to try a better English parser before commenting.

        1. Alister Silver badge

          Re: Anyone for Lindows?

          @Esme

          Why the hell would they even consider a desktop OS in Linux? What possible benefit would they accrue from doing that?

          They've produced this embedded code to carry out specific network functionality, but in what way you could think that that would transfer to creating a desktop OS I have no idea.

          1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

            Re: Anyone for Lindows?

            Back when the ReWind project split off of Wine, I thought MS should have picked it up as the basis for a future version of MSWindows. Use their knowlege of undocumented MSWin internals, and build a version that could run on one of the *BSDs (something like MacOS running it's GUI on top of FreeBSD). They also could have had a "shell" that would be backwards-compatible to whatever MSWin version they were selling at the time, yet be able to split off an entirely new API from that point onwards. Heck, they could have ported ReWind to their own kernel, and use it as a compatibility layer within a post-MSWin version (running separately, and unloadable when not needed). Had they started then, MSWin10 could have been their API break-point, and could have been a significant release rather than a cobbled-up P.o.S.

          2. Esme

            Re: Anyone for Lindows?

            I didn;t think that the one necessarily follows the other. I simply wondered whether they might, eventually create a desktop distro. I hadn't realised all the ins and outs of the embedded side, and was enlightened by many comments on here about it. And I just thought it'd be ironic if MS eventually, additiionally, decided to have a go at their own Linux distro, and in picking a name, I harked back to Lindows, the distro they forced to change its name. Well, it tickled my funny-bone for a microsecond or two.

            I'm quite astounded that you seem to think I'd think they'd automatically create their own distro because they've done the embedded thing. I didn't. I simply, idly, wondered whether they MIGHT one day create a desktop distro, and how ironic that might be. Didn't think anyone's need my thinking spelt out to that extent, either, no offence intended (and none taken at your comments either). Clear now?

            Anyway, dont mind me, folks, I'm just am intrigued observer here, not an expert, nor claiming to be one.. Please excuse the occasional left-field idle speculation, but I will try to keep it in check in future :-}

        2. Chika

          Re: Anyone for Lindows?

          I suspect that the only possible way this might make it to the desktop is as a belt-and-braces system that does little else than give you access to a Windows system in the cloud.

          Of course, that's also been done before...

    2. TechnoMage
      Mushroom

      Re: Anyone for Lindows?

      ya its called Linux Ubuntu

  22. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Watch carefully

    If it looks like it's about to stand on it's hind legs kill it instantly.

  23. Mint Sauce

    Xenix

    Maybe their Xenix licence has finally run out?

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Xenix

      Xenix was actually licensed by Microsoft from AT&T in the late 1970s. From what I remember it was the standard PDP11 Version 7 Unix source code, and distributed un-modified by Microsoft. MS was just the middle-man, getting into an aspect of the business that MaBell wasn't interested in. However, MaBell decided to "jealously guard"[0] the UNIX[tm], thus the Xenix name.

      SCO ported it to the IBM PC's 8086/8088 architecture in roughly 1983. Most of us yawned ... although looking back, it was a pretty good hack by SCO[1]!

      Before SCO's port was released, there was a TRS-68000 version, a Zilog Z8001 port, and an Altos 8086 version (not necessarily in that order, my mind is concatenating time). Microsoft didn't write any of them, rather the third-party companies in question did the coding. Microsoft was just the go-between for MaBell, who didn't want to get into that side of the business.

      Seems to me I once saw an Apple Lisa running Xenix, not certain who did that port. Can anyone jog my memory?

      [0] It's a technical term. Look it up.

      [1] Not the same SCO from fairly recent litigation ... not by a long-shot!

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Game, set and match to Mr Torvalds.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re: Game, set and match to Mr Torvalds.

      Indeed. If only he was clever enough to monetise his invention...

      1. GrahamsTenPenneth

        Re: re: Game, set and match to Mr Torvalds.

        "Indeed. If only he was clever enough to monetise his invention..."

        So... did he not? I must be missing something.

        The guy has been a nice salary for a while, you know.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And the next step?

    Excuse me while I put my tin-foil hat on ...

    From switches to routers and then Microsoft's equivalent of Google's OnHub WiFi router

    Then for the home/small businesses people who would use it, they have the front door as well as the back doors.

  26. vordan

    At least, they are not paying licenses to themselves

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't see what is strange here

    After all, wasn't DOS basically CP/M with a few changes?

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: I don't see what is strange here

      Yes, DOS was CP/M with a few changes but the difference is that Microsoft bought up all the rights to QDOS before they started selling it.

      They can't do that with Linux.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I don't see what is strange here

        "They can't do that with Linux."

        They do not need to, which makes it even better for them.

      2. Richard Plinston Silver badge

        Re: I don't see what is strange here

        > the difference is that Microsoft bought up all the rights to QDOS before they started selling it.

        1. No they didn't. They obtained a _licence_ to resell SCP-DOS for 8086 machines and then sold a licence to IBM (and a couple of others) which used 8088 - technically a breach. _Later_ they purchased SCP-DOS (alleged for $50,000.00) but SCP retained the rights to resell all versions of MS-DOS at no cost (Ie no payment to MS) as long as it was sold with a computer. After the fire that burnt down SCP factory, SCP started selling MS-DOS bundled with just a V20 CPU (a faster 8088). MS had to buy them out of that right, allegedly for 1million.

        2. MS was a CP/M OEM (for Z80 softcard) but never bought any further rights to CP/M, though IBM settled with DRI for an undisclosed amount after PC-DOS 1 was shown to display a DRI copyright.

  28. jake Silver badge

    The big news here ...

    ... is that evidently, microsoft doesn't feel that it's in-house coders have the capability/know-how to design secure, cross-platform networking code.

    Gee. I never. Whodathunkit?

  29. azzaka

    Simply another version is NSX

    It appears M$ are looking to create another version of NSX which is being developed further by VMWare for use on their platform.

    The technology is already there, M$ and others are just starting to expand the way it is used and implement in designs that will help advance other designs. The fact that it is based on Linux is not so far from the proverbial fetching, as most switches/AR's/CR's use a Linux base. It just makes sense.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  30. BeachBoy
    Thumb Up

    Tools for the Job

    UNIX (of which Linux is really just a reverse engineered copy) was originally developed by AT&T (Bell Labs) as an OS to run telephone exchanges. So using it now to run network switch hardware is the logical choice.

    1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      Re: Tools for the Job @BeachBoy

      No. It was originally designed at Bell Laboratories (before AT&T existed as an entity) as an OS demonstration (developed almost as a side-of-the-desk project) that a usable OS could be built with some of the Multics ideas by some people disenfranchised by the Multics project itself, and became successful in Bell Labs as a text formatting system, IIRC used to prepare patent applications (they used this as the justification to buy the first PDP 11).

      It spread rapidly inside Bell Labs and AT&T, and was used very extensively to provide general purpose time sharing systems for use within AT&T. At the same time, it was made available to Universities (including UCB) for the cost of the media and shipping.

      It later was used, in a quite highly modified form (UNIX-RTR), as the OS for the File Store and Administrative modules in AT&T 1AESS, 2STP, 4ESS and 5ESS exchanges, as well as other products.

      1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        Re: Tools for the Job @BeachBoy

        As I can't now edit my last post, I'll post a correction. AT&T did, of course, exist earlier than UNIX as the American Telephone and Telegraph Company, and Bell Labs. were their research arm. I was just confused by what happened to the various bits of AT&T, and the 'Baby Bells' after the divestiture of AT&T Corp. I thought something did not look right when I was writing it.

        What was set up later was AT&T Inc, formed when Southwestern Bell started to re-integrate the bits that were forced to be split earlier, eventually buying AT&T Corp. itself. It was all very incestuous.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Tools for the Job @Peter Gathercole

        I prefer the alternative version that it was developed so Ken Thompson could continue to run his space travel game after work on Multics was canned,

        1. jake Silver badge

          @Dr. Syntax (was: Re: Tools for the Job @Peter Gathercole)

          Multics exists, still doing useful work today in odd corners of the world.

          "ken's new system", AKA UTSS ver. 1, was primarily a "We have a spare PDP box. What if? Can we?" project. The game port was a proof of concept more than anything else.

    2. jake Silver badge

      Re: Tools for the Job

      "UNIX (of which Linux is really just a reverse engineered copy)"

      Yes.

      "was originally developed by AT&T (Bell Labs) as an OS to run telephone exchanges."

      No. It was originally, and still is, primarily a development platform.

      "So using it now to run network switch hardware is the logical choice."

      Correct statement, but your logic reaching that conclusion is incorrect.

    3. GrahamsTenPenneth

      Re: Tools for the Job

      "..an OS to run telephone exchanges"

      You must mean Multics or Unics.

      The first version of UNIX was for electronic publishing,

      ...you know "Microsoft Word" (I hate having to dumb it down).

  31. This post has been deleted by its author

  32. nematoad Silver badge
    Happy

    Indeed.

    Luke 15:7

    1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Indeed.

      Bar-steward. I had to go and look that up didn't I?

  33. batfastad

    Eeek

    Well you don't actually think they'd be running an entire cloud infrastructure on Active Directory DNS+DHCP/Group Policy/Exchange?

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Great, where can I buy that linux distribution and the corresponding switch?

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    AHA

    So we wait until they have a few thousand products running, and then we slam them with a law suite for infringing thousands of unspecified and vague patents which we never have to prove but they must hand over millions in royalties?

  36. Thomas Gray

    Does no-one remember Minix?

    MS have been there, done that already.

    1. oldcoder

      Re: Does no-one remember Minix?

      Not Minix. XENIX

      1. nematoad Silver badge

        Re: Does no-one remember Minix?

        Xenix?

        Ah yes, I remember that, and I still have the nightmares.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Does no-one remember Minix?

          nematoad sez about Xenix: "Ah yes, I remember that, and I still have the nightmares."

          Why? It was just AT&T Unix Version 7 source code.

          1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

            Re: Does no-one remember Minix?

            > Why? It was just AT&T Unix Version 7 source code.

            Microsoft added code into Xenix. For example for file and record locking. When Xenix was sold to SCO there was a clause that SCO had to pay a licence fee for this code. Later, in OpenServer, all that code had been replaced and _no_ MS code existed but MS insisted on the fees being paid. A court action was required to remove this.

      2. Martin Kirk

        Re: Does no-one remember Minix?

        In 1996, Bill Gates said that for a long time Microsoft had the highest volume AT&T license!

        https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xenix

        1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

          Re: Does no-one remember Minix?

          > In 1996, Bill Gates said that for a long time Microsoft had the highest volume AT&T license!

          Right up to 1990 MS used Xenix for all their accounting and for developing: MS-DOS, OS/2, Office, and much else were developed using vi. Excel started as Multiplan on Xenix.

          At one point, when MS-DOS 2 was released, MS talked about a 'family' of operating systems, which is why MS-DOS 2 had some poorly implemented features copied from Xenix (such as sub-directories).

    2. jake Silver badge

      Re: Does no-one remember Minix?

      Bite your tongue. Prof. Tanenbaum never had anything to do with microsoft.

  37. thames

    They didn't have much choice.

    Having read the original Microsoft announcement, it sounds like they needed to work with a lot of existing hardware, open source and other third party software, SDKs, etc. Since all or nearly all of those were Linux only, Microsoft was faced with the choices of either using Linux, redeveloping everything themselves from scratch based on reverse engineering the Linux software, or else give up any hope of being the market at all. It's kind of like the choice that desktop software developers face in business markets, except the shoe is on the other foot in this case.

    Linux dominates the mobile and tablet market (Android), high performance computing, 32 and 64 bit embedded systems, cloud, and now apparently SDN. Microsoft has their niche in the PC market, but it doesn't look like they will ever expand Windows very much outside of that. That doesn't mean that Windows is about to go away, but it does probably mean that it will become more like the traditional (non-Linux) mainframe market - supporting legacy systems in a stagnant or slowly declining market segment.

    1. Anonymous Blowhard

      Re: They didn't have much choice.

      "Microsoft has their niche in the PC market, but it doesn't look like they will ever expand Windows very much outside of that."

      Because no-one is using Exchange Server, SharePoint or SQL Server running on Windows Servers?

      1. oldcoder

        Re: They didn't have much choice.

        As he said - "declining market".

        After all the security failures - organizations do learn, even if it costs them millions of dollars for the lessons.

      2. GrahamsTenPenneth

        Re: They didn't have much choice.

        "Because no-one is using Exchange Server, SharePoint or SQL Server running on Windows Servers?"

        There's always one.

        ..sucker !

    2. nematoad Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: They didn't have much choice.

      "... redeveloping everything themselves from scratch based on reverse engineering the Linux software..."

      You must be new here.

      MS have no need to reverse engineer anything, see with FLOSS the source code is freely available and all the MS devs need to do is read it to find out how it does stuff.

      That's one of the reasons it's called "free software".

      1. Dazed and Confused Silver badge

        Re: They didn't have much choice.

        > That's one of the reasons it's called "free software".

        Except it isn't really free, it has a license and the license doesn't allow you to just borrow the interesting bits of code, see http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/03/05/vmware_sued_for_gpl_violation_by_linux_kernel_developer/ . Sure they can reverse engineer from the source code, which makes it much easier but they'd still need to work out how it all worked and then code their own design while being careful to ensure that what they wrote didn't fall foul of the license. Microsoft are very keen on SW licenses.

        1. nematoad Silver badge

          Re: They didn't have much choice.

          "... it has a license and the license doesn't allow you to just borrow the interesting bits of code..."

          Yes it does. The GPL is only applicable if you take something under the license and then re-distribute anything that you develop incorporating GPL'd components. As far as I can tell MS is proposing to use this internally so the GPL does not come in to play. How do you think that the like of Google and Facebook manage?

          Redistribute and you play by the GPL. Internal use only, you're good to go.

          1. Dazed and Confused Silver badge

            Re: They didn't have much choice.

            > Redistribute and you play by the GPL. Internal use only, you're good to go.

            But they'll be intending to sell this, it won't just be an internal use thing.

            1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

              Re: They didn't have much choice.

              > But they'll be intending to sell this, it won't just be an internal use thing.

              That is merely speculation on your part - unsupported by any evidence.

        2. GrahamsTenPenneth
          Facepalm

          Re: They didn't have much choice.

          "..Sure they can reverse engineer from the source code.."

          Seriously!

    3. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: They didn't have much choice. @thames

      Agree, it seems many here have missed the key phrase: "built on Linux", ie. ACS is a package that goes on top of Linux (and hence it is not subject to the Linux license agreement). The only real question isn't what Linux distributions are supported but which open source SDN projects did they raid...

  38. Joe Harrison Silver badge

    It's everywhere

    They will even SELL you Linux

    https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/pricing/details/virtual-machines/#Linux

    1. Hans 1 Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: It's everywhere

      They have been selling Linux for years, remember, Suse^H^H^H^HNovell signing the deal with Microsoft iow their demise and that of Suse.

      Novell head-shot of the finest!

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Novell#Agreement_with_Microsoft

    2. sysconfig
      Facepalm

      Re: It's everywhere

      "They will even SELL you Linux"

      Interesting though, that all instance types in Azure (except A0) are cheaper with Linux than they are with Windows... You'd think they could get licences cheaper... (The icon is for this fact, not for what you said.)

      As to why they offer Linux: The big clouds are after big customers. And they want them to move everything to the cloud - ideally. You'd struggle to find any enterprise size customer who runs a Windows-only server landscape these days. If Azure didn't offer Linux, they'd make themselves even less attractive for large scale customers than they already are.

      1. Hans 1 Silver badge

        Re: It's everywhere

        >Interesting though, that all instance types in Azure (except A0) are cheaper with Linux than they are with Windows... You'd think they could get licences cheaper... (The icon is for this fact, not for what you said.)

        Two sides to this:

        1. TCO of Linux is way lower than Windows, even when administered for MS admins, who cannot even manage certificates in a timely manner

        2. An account that currently runs Linux outside of Azure is not making MS anything, getting them to run Linux on Azure means they get a least something

    3. Richard Plinston Silver badge

      Re: It's everywhere

      > They will even SELL you Linux

      No. They are _not_ selling Linux. They are selling Azure, which happens to be able to run Linux as distributed by others (who thus fulfil the GPL by distributing the code).

  39. Naselus Silver badge

    COMMUNISM!!!!!!

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ASIC v FPGA

    "[...] that offers an API to program ASICs inside network devices."

    Do the devices have ASICs - or the more flexible FPGAs?

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So, what happens to SCO?

    Just curious, of course, but I would have expected El Reg to ask that question.

    I'd be rather interested in seeing just how they squirm out of that one.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Clearly...

    Queeg is in charge of Microsoft.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lindows coming to you'

    What they will do with the desktop is give you the Linux OS, but still charge a license for a flakey Windows like GUI addon, that still phones home. They make too much money selling data about us.

    1. dogged
      Stop

      Re: Lindows coming to you'

      According to their published accounts, they make a loss on data and advertising services (and sold that bit to AOL of all people earlier in the year).

      Paranoia is all very well but accuracy is important.

      I suppose you must be thinking of Google.

  44. 080
    Linux

    New Dawn

    So that's why there will not be another release of Windows after 10, it will a much better product called Winux

    1. Peter Simpson 1
      Happy

      Re: New Dawn

      Is thewe somthing humowous about my pwoduct's name?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: New Dawn

      So that's why there will not be another release of Windows after 10, it will a much better product called Winux

      If it would finally work properly and not mirror every byte in storage to some black box at the NSA I wouldn't mind. The only problem I can see is there will be loud wailing from the whole ecosystem that has grown up around managing those deficiencies - they won't go quietly.

  45. kmac499

    Engineering vs Sales & Marketing

    Could be a sign of engineers ruling the roost rather than the S&M gurus..

    Which in my eyes is always a plus.

  46. John Sanders
    Holmes

    This being Microsoft

    This being Microsoft it will require a Windows server with some very expensive and proprietary software just to manage it, and the server will require AD, and so on.

  47. J J Carter Silver badge
    Big Brother

    They know all Cisco kit has been back-doored by the PLA

    1. Hans 1 Silver badge
      Pint

      >They know all Cisco kit has been back-doored by the PLA

      They know all proprietary kit has been back-doored by the PLA

      Fixed that for you, may I have a pint ?

  48. 5wat53ll

    What...We're a Tech. Company?

    Microsoft didn't realize the had become an "also ran" sort of company. When you're in tech. You can't just sit on your arse and think you've got a product nobody else can touch. MSFT stock made a nice leap in price just by announcing their CEO was leaving the company to "pursue other interests". Since Nadella took over, there have actually been real teams put together to work on new tech. It was sad seeing a company with the resources they have doing absolutely nothing. I'm happy MSFT is willing to do what it takes to try and take a leading role in tech.

  49. Howard Hanek Bronze badge
    Happy

    Cloudy With More Than A Chance Of Meatballs

    I wonder if they included all the old exploits as well for backward compatibility?

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anyone remembers SCO?

    Will Darl McBride sue Microsoft for not paying him $1500 "license" per CPU?

  51. James Loughner
    Linux

    Fork it

    Where is the source code they must provide to be in compliance with the license. I want to fork it :)

    1. John Savard Silver badge

      Re: Fork it

      That's only true if they distribute their version of Linux to others. If it's strictly for their own in-house use, the GPL no longer makes that demand of them.

  52. J J Carter Silver badge
    Linux

    They've debauched something that was beautiful.

    Poor Linus will be spending the weekend poring over the 4.3 kernel source code, seeing who has booked in an delta update for 'telemetry services'.

  53. JustNiz

    "what the cloud and enterprise networks find challenging is integrating the radically different software running on each different type of switch into a cloud-wide network management platform."

    Translation: Instead of just staying standards compliant and making good itneroperable products, Microsoft keeps inventing their own (usually technically worse) secret versions of existing industry protocols just so they can lock their customers into paying through the nose for licences and crappy Microsoft apps. That has caused so many customers to switch away from using Microsoft infrastructure that even Microsoft finally can't keep sticking its head in the sand any more.

  54. Fitz_

    Not a distro, but sounds like they have used Linux for a software switch. Probably because Linux is frankly amazingly solid at networking and Windows has a tendency to crumble under real pressure like a rich tea biscuit under a bicycle wheel.

    Back in 2003 I observed a Blaster/Nachi infection; the ISA servers just went unresponsive where the Linux iptables based firewalls just suffered a slight slowdown under unending ICMP type 8.

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Albeit based on Linux instead of UNIX.

    Is Microsoft taking the first steps in working towards introducing a complete system version upgrade based on the iOS and OSX method for future versions?

    Endorsed advertising written within the OS code to bombard the end user..who knows?

    Wouldn't this remove the need for service packs with only critical patches pushed to the users?

    Next thing you'll know is, Microsoft will be giving away their OS..oh, they already have.

  56. Richard Altmann

    Are we

    talking about this certain company that bought Skype and then announced that it will no longer support third party hardware? AverComm had this fantastic Skype Bridge video conferencing box that enabled the Boss to partake on conferences while being chauffeured to whereever. Open source my ass, Microsoft. And 1k€ of my money right into the bin.

    http://de.aver.com/press-release/VCBridge%20Termination

    1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

      Re: Are we

      > this certain company that bought Skype

      It has been alleged that the first thing MS did was replace the 'supernode' servers with 10,000 Linux boxes to run Skype so that they could keep it all in-house.

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Val

    Microsoft, if you really care about linux, do something about Skype.

    The screen-sharing is awful since the last upgrade two years ago.

  58. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    What they said

    What Jack of Shadows and Frank Rysanek said.... it would have been a good show that Microsoft's serious about their "Windows IoT" or whatever if they'd used it as a base for this. But Linux (as well as a few BSD variants and QNX to name a few) ALREADY run on all sorts of CPUs (x86, ARM, MIPS, PowerPC... Linux even supports MMUless variants in case any of these switches have one.) Linux and BSD at least already support some switch ASICs (and since you'll have source, if you're ASIC isn't supported you'll have a driver to reference when writing your driver.) Linux and BSD also have all sorts of networking functionality (QoS, throttling, switching, bridging, all types of packet filtering and mangling.. all hardware accelerated if possible.)

    I'm surprised and duly impressed that Microsoft has gotten over NIH ("Not Invented Here") syndrome enough to admit to doing this. (Actually doing it is one thing, they've probably had the odd Linux system there for 10 years... but publicizing it is quite another.)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What they said

      Indeed but I would have picked one of the *BSD (such as nanoBSD).

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Spousal issues?

    And yet another multi-billion dollar company makes money off of Linux while the developers won't see a dime from them for it.

    I wonder if Linus' wife ever chides him, "..and how come you can't charge for this?".

    Maybe that's why he's so salty.

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Spousal issues?

      "Maybe that's why he's so salty."

      Linus is a multimillionaire - he was given shares worth $20m when Red Hat and VA Linux went public and gets paid a lot by the Linux Foundation.

      C.

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Overlooking the obvious....

    Apple famously painted themselves into a corner with the unmaintainable spaghetti code that was OS9. They went - cap in hand - to Berkeley University and asked if they could use BSD as the underpinning of OSX.....

    MS have finally realised that they don't have a viable OS product (and never really have) and are going to build their next generation of rubbish on Linux foundations.......

    1. John Savard Silver badge

      Re: Overlooking the obvious....

      Isn't BSD distributed under the BSD license? If so, why did Apple have to beg Berkeley to be able to use it inside of their proprietary operating system?

  61. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    "Apple famously painted themselves into a corner with the unmaintainable spaghetti code that was OS9. They went - cap in hand - to Berkeley University and asked if they could use BSD as the underpinning of OSX....."

    "Classic" MacOS was awful. I won't defend it. I thought the worst "feature" was their insistence on claiming cooperative task switching was "multitasking". (Multitasking, the OS gives each program a timeslice, when it's done it's done... cooperative task switching, which is NOT multitasking, it's up to the app to yield it's time, making a call saying "OK I'm done"... if it never yields, the ENTIRE system locks solid. Which, along with having no memory protection, is why these systems locked up so damned often.)

    What actually happened here was... Apple "deposed" Steve Jobs. Jobs went and started Next computers (NeXT always seemed to be capitolized differently every single time, even on the NeXt computers and literature themselves.) *They* took Mach microkernel + BSD and developed Objective C programming language, as well as a very modern (for 1985) object-oriented GUI. Jobs was convinced if the OS and computer were nice enough, people would pay like $10,000 for them. So, fast forward a few years -- next was on the ropes, but so was Apple due to the crapulence of OS9. Apple actually went cap in hand to buy up NExt and reinstall Jobs as CEO of Apple, OSX is a direct decendent of NextStep. This is why so many functions on it start with "NS".

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Where's the source?

    Went looking on GitHub quickly, but didn't see the source there.

    Is this "ACS" not GPL'd?

  63. Mark 4913

    Good! They can join us in misery

    Microsoft will also have to suffer with or replace systemd too. >:(

  64. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Find the bugs quicker...

    That's the bit that amused me. Naturally, M$ wants something that is easier to debug than it's own rat's nest, but the notion of designing something properly hadn't sunk in.

    Why should it? After all, the software is only an irksome detail in the job of flogging licenses.

  65. your handle is already taken

    G+ button

    Er off-topic, El Reg...

    Either your G+ button is not working or literally nobody is using it. Currently for this article we have,

    Twitter: 3666

    Facebook:3320

    G+: 0 !!

    linkedin:1009

    Seriously, linkedin (why is that not capitaised?) a thousand and nine, G+ a big fat zero. Same for most (all?) articles I've checked. Question is, why do you keep it around? Observation is, I knew G+ was little used but not used at all? Wow.

    Slightly on-topic, say what you like about Microsoft's past stupidity they've never really tried to do "social", or have they?

  66. rtb61

    Well, it is about time. Originally the whole idea of keeping M$ out of Linux was to prevent them from destroying it prior to it being strong enough to prevent that from happening. This plan was done with intent and IBM was the biggest corporate supporter of the misinformation campaign that kept M$ out of Linux and ruthlessly attacking it to their own detriment ;D.

  67. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The next thing you know: MS will hire Linus

    ..I..HOPE..NOT..

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The next thing you know: MS will hire Linus

      Maybe they can hire Lennart instead?

  68. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    Meh

    The beauty of Linux..

    ..is that it's (mostly) free, open, unencumbered with ads, cutesy features that don't work right, and freedom from idiotic messages that only confuse and do little to enhance security: "Do you trust this printer?" "This action contains an unspecified security flaw." In a lot of ways Linux distributions like Mint, Debian, etc. are the last bastion of freedom in the computing world and very much in the spirit of what the pioneers in the early days of computing envisioned.

    If MS develops a distro, if they try to approach it with the same mentality that has given us Vista, Windows 8, etc., not only should it fail, but besides MS's extensive support network, what is the value in paying for something you can likely get better for free elsewhere? Linux isn't perfect, but in many ways it "just works" far better than anything else out there due it being a "labor of love" and not a rushed development schedule with customers that have paid for a finished product being more or less beta testers. The Linux devs create and debug features they want and that people use for the most part, and not something designed by a marketing committee or because of a rogue administrative assistant wielding their power. Maybe because of its intended market this will be different, I don't know.

    As a side note, when I see a title like this one on The Register, I almost feel like the Reg is trolling us. Present an article like this to a bunch of tired, frustrated IT folk and it's like a mainstream news site announcing that a paedophile is opening a day care. I fully expected the comments to be in the triple digits and I wasn't disappointed :)

    1. GrahamsTenPenneth

      Re: The beauty of Linux..

      Hah cool.

      Microsoft Linux: "like ... announcing that a paedophile is opening a day care"

      I'm still chuckling at that :)

  69. Ropewash

    I for one welcome our new Redmond overlords...

    I've been a rabid Linux desktop user since the 90's and it's always been just shy of something I could recommend to those friends who aren't fond of logging into a command line to fix some of the inevitable issues that crop up. So close on occassion, but still so far away.

    Too many backends for sound? Arcane sorcery for printers? Programs that are developed exactly to the point where they almost, but not quite, fully useable and then put in a bin and left there forever? New projects that offer the same function but decide to re-invent the wheel rather than look in the bin and then base their work on the assumption that 4 is enough vertices for a wheel?

    Perhaps looking at things 'the Redmond way' could help a few of these issues.

    Perhaps not.

    I'd be willing to give an MS Linux distro a look though.

    1. Chemist

      Re: I for one welcome our new Redmond overlords...

      "Perhaps looking at things 'the Redmond way' could help a few of these issues."

      I really don't think so as they really don't exist !

      " user since the mid 90s"

  70. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wonder how much RAM a Windows SDN would require and extra bandwidth for phone home or telemetry as spying on your customers is now called.

  71. Slx

    Microsoft has been showing serious signs of beginning that drift into senility that all IT companies seem to hit after a period of dominance.

    If Windows' dominance in terms of raw numbers on the desktop ever fades, they are in deep, deep trouble.

    Windows mobile's been a total flop.

    Android (and iOS) now basically completely dominate the mobile devices market.

    A competent version of Linux or some version of Chrome or Android that is competent and well marketed enough to eat into Windows' market, could be enough to push them over the edge.

    Apple's also proving that the laptop market is increasingly about consumer products i.e. high spec, well packaged, well marketed machines and is now the world's 5th largest PC maker (at least according to IDC in 2014), despite having a non-Windows based OS.

    I'm not being an Apple fanboi, but it proves that a well packaged machine doesn't have to run Windows for customers to buy into it. That's leaving a *huge* door open for Google in particular, if it ever polishes up Chrome OS or something similar to OS X levels of functionality and it does not bode well for MS.

    Meanwhile, Linux (and other Unix and *nix OSs) dominate cloud computing and servers. The number of Windows deployments for cloud computing seems to be decreasing, in recent years as a % of new gear being rolled out.

    Microsoft is kind of coasting on inertia at this stage.

  72. Frank N. Stein

    Lindows 10? Wouldn't it be a hoot if Windows 10 was really a Linux Distro? Meanwhile, they are tinkering with Linux on switches. That's definitely progress.

  73. 101

    MS and Trust

    MS can't be trusted with Linux (or anything else anymore).

    True, their variation is in-house now, but with their clout they may be able to shove it to non-MS apps.

    1. nematoad Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: MS and Trust

      "MS can't be trusted with Linux..."

      MS's proxy SCO tried it on and came a very nasty cropper.

      So fret not, Gnu/Linux is safely out of reach of companies like Microsoft.

      RMS made sure of that with the GPL.

      If anything MS should be wary, any violation of the GPL could have serious consequences, just ask anyone who has monkeyed about with Busybox for example. MS always say that they take these things seriously and so they should, just remember it's the GNU General Public License. It's been tested, and it has teeth.

  74. Simon Brown

    if you can't beat 'em join 'em?

    This could just be a one-off tool to address a particular problem. But it could also be a change of direction for Microsoft. The Apple approach works - in as much as create a pretty windowing system that runs on top of a Unix-like OS = stability and scalability. What Microsoft always did well was the "other" stuff - the Office system that's still ubiquitous across billions (probably) of machines. They've now gone partly down the Apple road of having an OS upgrade that has negligible financial cost. Why not go the whole hog and run windows over an underlying Linux-based OS? They can massively reduce development costs by using open source while benefiting from all the usual open source benefits - contribute financially to bits they want developed fast...

    Sure it means dropping some windows executables or porting them over to work on top of a linux subsystem... but maybe the gains are greater than the considerable cost of continuing to develop and support multiple buggy legacy OSes with flawed security.

    They can still make their money from having Windows X and selling Office and whatever - while not having to pay to develop an OS that an awful lot of people just copy illegally anyway.

    The forced upgrade to Win 10 has been (mostly) a success I imagine. But MS traditionally has

  75. ecofeco Silver badge

    2006

    In 2006, Microsoft and Novell partnered to work on their own version of Linux. In 2008 they renewed that partnership.

    http://www.infoworld.com/article/2654097/linux/the-microsoft-novell-linux-deal--two-years-later.html

  76. Rick Giles
    Linux

    I've said it before...

    and I'll say it again.

    M$ needs to quit dicking around and just make a GUI for Linux.Then maybe I'll take them seriously.

    1. GrahamsTenPenneth

      Re: I've said it before...

      "M$ needs to quit dicking around and just make a GUI for Linux."

      Fork off!

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