back to article Microsoft has crafted a switch OS on Debian Linux. Repeat, a switch OS on Debian Linux

Put down your coffee gently. Microsoft has today released the source code to an open-source operating system, based on Debian GNU/Linux, that runs on network switches. The software is dubbed SONiC, aka Software for Open Networking in the Cloud. It's a toolkit of code and kernel patches to bend switch hardware to your will, so …

  1. wolfetone Silver badge
    Linux

    The Spring of Free Love

    Dear Microsoft fanbois,

    We all have our differences, we will always see things differently. But I'd like to be the first to welcome you in to this brave new world of open source software and Linux. Leave your negativity at the door, leave your misconceptions back on the drawing board. This is a new age, an enlightened age. Embrace it.

    Viva La Penguinista's! For the war has been fought and has been won.

    What a time to be alive!

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Beware the E E E effect

      Embrace, Extend, Extinguish.

      It is the Microsoft Way.

      Granted, extinguishing Open Source is pretty much out of the picture, but Microsoft will stop at nothing to pervert what it touches.

      So let's accept, but verify, ok ?

      1. linicks

        Re: Beware the E E E effect

        Look what they already done to the GNU/Linux skype users.

        1. Nate Amsden Silver badge

          Re: Beware the E E E effect

          which is what exactly, having used skype on linux for the past 5 years I see little has changed(which I am fine with). Does the job for me.

          1. linicks
            1. Sil

              Re: Beware the E E E effect

              Really not sure this was against the Linux community.

              Skype development has been a disgrace for years.

              The Skype client for Windows 8 should be a case study of everything that can go wrong in software design and development.

              I am amazed Microsoft did so little for so long when competitors like WhatsApp, Messenger, SnapChat, Line & Co grew tremendously quickly.

      2. wolfetone Silver badge

        Re: Beware the E E E effect

        "Embrace, Extend, Extinguish.

        It is the Microsoft Way.

        Granted, extinguishing Open Source is pretty much out of the picture, but Microsoft will stop at nothing to pervert what it touches.

        So let's accept, but verify, ok ?"

        In many ways Linux is like herpes. That stuff will never leave or go away.

        1. SineWave242

          Re: Beware the E E E effect

          You surely meant Microsoft, not Linux? Because that terrible, monopolistic, money-grabbing company has been sticking with us for at least 5 years too long. It should go away because an OS that everybody uses shouldn't be owned by one US company. It's as simple as that. And since Microsoft is a company, it can go bust. Open Source canno9t, and it will always exist, one way or another, and that's what all people should use.

      3. Crazy Operations Guy Silver badge

        "Microsoft will stop at nothing to pervert what it touches."

        RedHat has already beaten Microsoft to the "irreparably Pervert Linux" party...

        Why, oh why do I have to edit a frickin' script to change network information, then run a separate script that interprets and runs that one, what was wrong with ifconfig?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "Microsoft will stop at nothing to pervert what it touches."

          Because it wasn't enterprisey enough. RPM and kickstart are abominations before $DEITY too.

        2. Concrete Gannet

          Re: "Microsoft will stop at nothing to pervert what it touches."

          To separate configuration *data* from *code*. The latter, if well-written, should not change, or should not change often. Code can be supplied by a third party.

          You make your own decisions about config data, and may want to change it more frequently. The code re-reads your updated config data.

          Too many systems mash these two together, which means an attempt to modify config data risks breaking code that was working perfectly well and did not need to change.

      4. Avatar of They
        WTF?

        Re: Beware the E E E effect

        Yeah, lets keep the kernel with Torvald and friends, MS will only "buy" their acceptance otherwise, like they did with the .docx standard.

        By buy I mean, 'negotiate quickly in a friendly manner.'

        Still the cynic in me says that windows 10 is all about data stealing, so is this a step to start drilling into the Linux world?

        I can't but feel MS are playing their petty games with this as I have no trust for them, instead of taking this as a positive step.

      5. SMOKEING

        Re: Beware the E E E effect

        If Linux manages to survive after ingesting systemd, coping with Microsoft EEE is a matter of two farts.

      6. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Beware the E E E effect

        "Embrace, Extend, Extinguish."

        In this case I don't think that's the motive. It was likely cheaper to grab this off the shelf solution than customising Windows to do the job in the time scale in which they needed it. For instance, the Arm CPU Windows kernel version wasn't in production back then.

        I wouldn't be surprised if this was replaced with a Windows kernel based version in future though. Windows does have advantageous network stack capabilities like native hardware offload support that Linux currently doesn't.

        "In many ways Linux is like herpes"

        They got rid of Linux hosts from Hotmail eventually. I wouldn't count on it never going...

    2. Bob Vistakin
      Linux

      Linus Torvalds: 'If Microsoft ever does applications for Linux it means I've won.'

      Patience, comrades - we're almost there.

      1. boltar Silver badge

        Re: Linus Torvalds: 'If Microsoft ever does applications for Linux it means I've won.'

        Linus should beware of trojan horses.

        With Ballmer it was very much a partisan company. Our way or the highway. Under Nadella its very much more focused purely on the bottom line. ie MS does whats best for MS's profits. End of. Hurt pride is no longer relevant. If releasing a Linux distro would earn them a fortune they'd do it. If using Linux on a switch instead of embedded Windows saves them development costs they'll do it. If EOL'ing Windows 7 before its time gets everyone onto Win10 and saves support costs even though Win10 isn't popular - they'll do it.

        Don't make the mistake of assuming that just because MS and Linux intersect in a good way occasionally its some sort of victory - its not. Balmer might have been a muppet, but you knew where you stood with him (and you had to stand, he'd thrown away all the chairs). MS under Nadella however is much more mecurial and unpredictable and they are NOT your friend.

        1. Concrete Gannet

          Re: Linus Torvalds: 'If Microsoft ever does applications for Linux it means I've won.'

          What you are saying is that Microsoft have changed from being an irrational profit-making company to a rational profit-making company.

          In what way is the new Microsoft different from every other profit-making company you do business with?

    3. yossarianuk

      Re: The Spring of Free Love

      I wonder if it will end up like the Arab spring ?

      1. Anonymous Cow Herder

        Re: The Spring of Free Love

        Jeez, a bit nihilistic, even for this site. Have an upvote.

    4. Scorchio!!
      Trollface

      Re: The Spring of Free Love

      "Viva La Penguinista's! For the war has been fought and has been won."

      Welcome to the Borg. Soon you will not recognise yourself.

    5. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: The Spring of Free Love

      Leave your negativity at the door, leave your misconceptions back on the drawing board.

      That's a good idea, but it's actually a two way street.

      Those devout of Linux piety should fear; the reaper in the form of Microsoft has arrived at the door with the intention of corrupting from within.

      Become a major part of the Linux world, to bend and twist it to their own ends. Then pick it up in its jaws as a dog with a rabbit and shake it violently until it is lifeless. Beware, there is a strategy.

      I think Microsoft were one of the major kernel contributors back in 2012.

      (disc: I am an OS agnostic, most of my work is on Linux but I don't do the counter-productive sanctimony crap).

      1. sabroni Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: Then pick it up in its jaws as a dog with a rabbit and shake it violently until it is lifeless

        Yeah, that's leaving your negativity at the door.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Yeah, that's leaving your negativity at the door.

          I don't understand your comment. I just said that negativity goes both ways.

    6. phuzz Silver badge
      Gimp

      Re: The Spring of Free Love

      Microsoft have been releasing open sourced software since at least 2009, not that anyone noticed.

    7. KeithR

      Re: The Spring of Free Love

      "Viva La Penguinistas! For the war has been fought and has been won."

      Aw bless - were we in a fight?

      Never noticed...

    8. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Spring of Free Love

      You're so stupidly smug

      and Patronizing

      making Penguinistas look bad...

  2. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. CAPS LOCK Silver badge

    Embracing Linux Microsoft?...

    ... whatever next?

    1. TechnicalBen Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Embracing Linux Microsoft?...

      "Windows as a service" which equates to Microsoft Software running from anything anywhere.

      I'll get my coat, as the only running I'll be doing is in the other direction! :D

  4. nkuk

    I think hell has just frozen over.

    1. Montreal Sean

      @nkuk

      The pigs haven't started flying yet though.

  5. hplasm Silver badge
    Pirate

    Well,

    That explains systemd...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well,

      Linus Torvalds: 'If Microsoft ever does applications for Linux it means I've won.'

      Pyrrhic victory :(

      1. asdf Silver badge

        Re: Well,

        systemd, svchost.exe, brothers don't shake hands, brothers gotta hug.

    2. Fatman Silver badge

      Re: Well,.. That explains systemd...

      I have always wondered if Poettering wasn't a Microsoft "wolf in sheep's clothing" with the systemd mess.

      1. asdf Silver badge

        Re: Well,.. That explains systemd...

        Not just Poettering but Red Hat (his employer) in general. Look at what they did to Gnome too. At least you have to say about Microsoft they wrote the majority of their ecosystem from the ground up, the fools.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Well,.. That explains systemd...

          "Microsoft [...] wrote the majority of their ecosystem from the ground up"

          I think a history lesson is called for, but I don't have the time right now.

          NT was acquired when Dave Cutler and team joined from DEC.

          SQL Server wasn't written by Microsoft.

          And if you go further back, where did DOS come from?

          Plenty of those around.

          1. asdf Silver badge

            Re: Well,.. That explains systemd...

            Why I said majority and not all. They are famous for stealing quite a bit (see Lotus 123) but the kind of shit Red Hat has pulled to get around at least the spirit of the GPL is at least that level of asshatery.

  6. linicks
    Pirate

    Right, here's the catch

    "This underlying hardware must therefore implement the SAI, an API that Microsoft contributed to the Open Compute Project (OCP) in 2015. The OCP, launched by Facebook in 2011, encourages hardware manufacturers to produce generic gear to the project's open standards and specifications so large organizations can buy the machines cheaply in bulk and use software to customize and control the gear as they wish."

    Now get everybody to use it, and slowly change the API/hardware over a few years until you have to use the MS version otherwise it all goes tits-up.

    Come on people, this is typical MS history.

    Hope we are all not fools.

    1. Keith Glass

      Re: Right, here's the catch

      . . . history says otherwise.

      I, for one, WELCOME our new Switching Overlords. . . .

      1. Nifty

        Re: Right, here's the catch

        ...@Welcoming our new Switching Overlords...

        That was ironic, right? The downvoters I assume had an irony amputation.

    2. Will Godfrey Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Right, here's the catch

      @ linicks

      So I'm not the only one to immediately spot that.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Right, here's the catch

      "Hope we are all not fools."

      We're not. But it won't usually be us making the decisions. It'll usually be the PHBs and MBAs and other Certified Microsoft Dependent types.

      Still, interesting times.

      1. sabroni Silver badge

        Re: Hope we are all not fools.

        Well surely some of us must be. Did you mean "Hope we are not all fools"?

    4. Sammy Smalls

      Re: Right, here's the catch

      Fork or get forked is what I think you mean.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That must hurt

    Confirming publically that Windows in any flavour can't do what they need.

    Windows Datacentre edition .. Nope

    Windows Enterprise .. Nope

    Windows standard .. Nope

    Windows Core.. Nope.

    Windows IoT .. Nope.

    Don't all of these environments have switches and users ?

    Whereas a more open operating system that can be modified, expanded or paired down to suit the specific need can be.. How odd. Perhaps there is a learning opportunity here ..

    Perhaps it's time to Open the windows and smell the fresh air outside the matrix ?

  8. J J Carter Silver badge
    Linux

    OMG!

    Could it be the year of the Microsoft distro on the desktop?

    1. Lars Silver badge
      Linux

      Re: OMG!

      "the Microsoft distro on the desktop?". No not really, that is called Windows. But there could be Windows on a Linux kernel. Something Linus wrote about positively some twenty years ago. But then Microsoft was strong and expanding towards servers with the NT, Open Source and Linux was a threat and a pain in the arse. So the FUD began, dirty tricks so well rehearsed in their past.

      But to day there is no way to kill Open Source or Linux and, last but not least, creating proprietary standards has become more and more difficult.

      To day more or less each and every IT company in this world is using Open Source and Linux or BSD. Only Microsoft has tried to fend it off. The first company who made a billion on Linux was IBM and that was a long time ago. With Ballmer gone, perhaps MS has come to the conclusion that there is more to gain than to loose, The next interesting question, in that case, is, if they will join or fork Linux, And that is all up to them. Interesting times (as always).

      .

      1. Captain DaFt

        Re: OMG!

        -creating proprietary standards has become more and more difficult.-

        Ahem... Red Hat - systemd... Google - Android.

        Unfortunately, it's not impossible.

        1. MacroRodent Silver badge

          Re: OMG!

          -creating proprietary standards has become more and more difficult.-

          Ahem... Red Hat - systemd... Google - Android.

          What is proprietary about systemd? The source is there, anyone can use it, or modify it for free, or just not use it. The very definition of non-proprietary.

          The more I use systemd-based Linuxes (at work, I should add), the more I see systemd-bashing as nonsensical. It does the job, and faster than SysV init, which wastes much of its time spawning processes to perform trivial things.

          1. Denarius Silver badge
            Flame

            Re: OMG!

            systemd. <rant> so your vm containers like it. Fine. As for a few processes being created at boot, fine. The unix philosophy meant start and stop and run levels were defined and controllable. Run Debian for decades at home. No more. Upgrade barfed, screen of systemd errors and I am too old and cranky to spend more than a week trying to work thru the pile of errors and fix them. </rant.

            Tried PCBSD. Fast, understandable, just worked. No software black boxes unlike most linuxies which have been getting slower every iteration. Will have to learn another packaging system, but after integrating installp and the abomination known as rpm that wont be hard.

            1. MacroRodent Silver badge

              Re: OMG!

              systemd is probably not something you can take into use with just an upgrade, so I'm not surprised you had bad experiences. (Personally, I gave up on distro upgrades even earlier, except for tiny steps like CentOS N.0 -> CentOS N.1. Keep the home partition, nuke and reinstall everything else.)

              In principle, I love the BSD:s, and given them a try now and then, but then always find they cannot keep up with hardware and software support. If Linux is niche, *BSD is doubly so.

  9. Michael Habel Silver badge

    So....

    So does this new flavor of Debian (Courtesy of MicroSoft), come with MicroSoft's usual bouquet of Trojens, and Spyware, and Ads for Tomb Raider, as well as a free ome time update toWindows 10?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So....

      Are you like this in real life as well?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So....

      "ome time update toWindows 10?"

      Could people please stop referring to Windows 10 as an upgrade / update?

      1. Michael Habel Silver badge

        Re: So....

        Fist of all I ment One, (So my apologies for my bad typing on this Fondleslab). But if Windows 10, is not (at least), in the eyes of MicroSoft, a 'Upgrade' to both Windows 7, and 8.x. Then what would you call it? A downgrade? I would be prone to agree with you, but our opinions really dont count. If the consensus, concur that its (i.e. Win10), an Upgrade. Then its an Upgrade.

        1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

          Re: So....

          It's just a new Windows release. Whether it's an upgrade or not is up to the end user's opinion of the product. It's not for Microsoft to decide what the user thinks.

          And it certainly isn't an update. Updates to Windows 7, for example, don't suddenly turn it into a different OS. At least not in a sane world.

  10. rmstock

    As long MS keeps Open Source rules

    As long Microsoft keeps Open Source rules, like GPL GPL2 GPL3 or

    LGPL etc. If the source is not available its No Dice. i.e.

    `apt-get source MSpackage' should work and result in a source which

    can reproduce the binaries which one installs with `apt-get install MSpackage'

    1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: As long MS keeps Open Source rules

      Just watch the slow hardware+software creep until only their variation of Linux will work on their promoted hardware - then a binary blob appears 'as if by magic' and MS has the financial muscle to fight a long and expensive licensing lawsuit.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: As long MS keeps Open Source rules

      "As long Microsoft keeps Open Source rules, like GPL GPL2 GPL3 or LGPL etc. If the source is not available its No Dice"

      I thought that only applied if you are distributing it? From the article it appears MS are keeping this in-house.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cant think of one

    Memo to Self

    Before installation

    Wireshark on the WAN

  12. frank ly Silver badge

    I'll wait patiently ....

    .... for a clever and relevant hedgehog joke.

  13. rmstock
    Unhappy

    Please resend all of todays newsletters

    Please resend all of todays newsletter as my

    American hosted email address at Yahoo! has somehow

    thrown away all of todays TheReg Newsletters ...

    Today is Wed Mar 9 20:16:21 CET 2016 btw.

  14. Nate Amsden Silver badge

    MS has come a long way

    I was pretty hard core anti MS back in the 90s, though they have come a long way in the past 20 years. For me personally anyway I don't have a problem with their software (except windows 8 and newer, and the UI on windows 2012). I've even bought several licenses of windows 7 and visio over the past several years(though 98%+ of my work is on Linux Mint still, having used Linux on the desktop for about 20 years now).

    In the past 6 years amazon has taken the #1 place on my life of worst tech companies. Fortunately my management in the past 5 years has been very supportive and I do not have to worry about using their shit. Their influence in the seattle area was one of the biggest reasons I moved back to California almost 6 years ago. The cult of amazon makes me sick. I still have cloud PTSD from when I used them.

    Though this crap they pull with trying to trick people into upgrading to windows 10 is just puzzling to me. I'm ok if you ask me once or twice, but give me a button that says never ask me again at least until my extended support runs out in 2020 and leave me alone. If others want to upgrade to 10 fine go for it. For what little windows work I do 7 does the job fine (and would be happy with the interface from XP more so), and there is nothing that 10 does that I want (same goes for upgrading from Android 4.4.4 to 5.x or newer - leave me alone stop asking me to upgrade AT&T I have to keep wifi off on my phone most of the time so it doesn't automatically download the android update, and once it does there's no turning back which is worse than windows 10 upgrade in that respect).

    1. TechnicalBen Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: MS has come a long way

      A million upvotes for the Android reference.

      Now where did I put my USB cable, I need to reflash a factory restore ROM...

    2. Michael Habel Silver badge

      Re: MS has come a long way

      The only problem hee is that:

      1) MicroSoft have ruined any trust I might have had with 7, when they backported all their Spyware BS, from W10 back to 7, and 8, or 8.x.

      2) The fact that they binned Patch Tuesday, and moved to a 24h 7d a-week as needed cycle. So much for a Hay LOOK OUT BELOW! The fact that their also not further disclosing exactly what their "Patches" do, or more to the point whatever might be piggybacking on said "Patches" (i.e. more Spyware / Adware)...

      The only sane thing to do is tell the big M to go fourth, and multiply.

    3. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: #1 place on my life of worst tech companies

      No contest there, Faecebook by several light years is the abyss.

    4. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      Re: MS has come a long way

      After many years of training Microsoft has reached the highest levels of scumbaggery.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft are preparing

    for life after Windows Phone 10 hits the public

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
      Trollface

      WinPhone 10 will miss the public.

      By at least a farthing.

  16. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    so long Debian, it has been nice knowing you

    A sad day indeed. I might have expected Ubuntu to sell out but Debian? Who'd a thought it.

    Then there were the rumours last week of MS getting into bed with RedHat.

    As has been said, 'hell has indeed frozen over'.

    As a long term Debian user (desktop) and CentOS (Server) I may have to return to Slackware if Debian gets infected by MS.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: so long Debian, it has been nice knowing you

      What? Debian code is all available under a licence that permits Microsoft to use it just as readily as you do. All they (Microsoft) have to ensure is that they distribute the source as demanded. Debian are selling nothing, just being a normal open source organisation.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: so long Debian, it has been nice knowing you

        On second thoughts, maybe you were thinking about systemd.

    2. Lars Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: so long Debian, it has been nice knowing you

      Please, Steve Davies 3. learn more about Open Source and the basics of the licences.

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Re: so long Debian, it has been nice knowing you

        FOSS Licenses?

        Having been an advocate of Linux since the daya of Slackware 1.1 I do have some track record of using and writing software for the Penguin.

        However, having been a professional software developer since 1975 and grown up with MS I have the scars of experience from seeing MS take over a promising product and basically nuke it or make it so unusable that it crashes and burns. Skype on Linux is just one of them.

        My fear is that MS will do their EEE and extend their version of Linux making it incompatible with other distros. Thus creating a lockin that we all know and hate. Do we want that hanging around the necks of FOSS?

        I will treat this with extreme caution and wait and see how long MS dabbles with Linux. I give it a couple of years at most.

    3. PNGuinn
      FAIL

      Re: so long Debian, it has been nice knowing you

      As far as Debian is concerned it's not micros**t you need to worry about - it's systemd and all it contains and will contain.

      That crock of excess seems to be well on the way to almost becoming an os in its own right swallowing up one service after another.

      Fine(ish) for very small values of ish, but when it goes wrong and all that comingled s**t hits some very large fast rotating....

      A potential Single Point of Failure (TM) that'll make the registry seem a teddy bears' picnic.

      The potential security implications terrify me.

  17. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    Moonlight

    What happened to that collaboration?

    1. d3vy

      Re: Moonlight

      Well, silverlight got scrapped and that pretty much ended the need for moonlight.

  18. tskears

    Hmmm... Sounds like Microsoft just re-invented FreeSco.

    1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

      > Hmmm... Sounds like Microsoft just re-invented FreeSco.

      Freesco (a play on Cisco) booted off a 1.44MB floppy and ran on a 16MB 20MHz 80386 (no HD). As well as being a router/switch/print server/time server, it could even run a database server and much else.

      The Microsoft distro and software will require 100 times that or more.

      1. toughluck

        100 times more?

        So, it will take 144 MB, and require 1.6 GB memory with 2 GHz single-core CPU? Sounds about par for the course in terms of what a regular switch OS incorporates today. Running just a single browser in Linux tends to eat up 4+ GB of memory, plus whatever services, X and the window manager all use.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: 100 times more?

          "Running just a single browser in Linux tends to eat up 4+ GB of memory, plus whatever services, X and the window manager all use."

          Come back QNX and their demo disk. "Each disk boots and loads completely from a 1.44 meg floppy disk. No hard disk is required! Each disk contains the OS, GUI, PPP or networking, Web browser, file browser, and several demo applications." What more do you want?

          Again: boots and runs from a 1.44MB floppy disk, not a 600MB compact disk.

          More: http://toastytech.com/guis/qnxdemo.html (includes link to YouTube video).

        2. Chemist

          Re: 100 times more?

          "Running just a single browser in Linux tends to eat up 4+ GB of memory, plus whatever services, X and the window manager all use.""

          What !!

          Well I'm running 3 (KDE) desktop users , Firefox, Thunderbird a Virtualbox inst, VLC to a webcam server, VNC to a pi, 5 filemanagers, and several terminals on this i7 laptop that only has 8GB and only 3.4 GB is in actual use - the remainder is cache/buffers - swap is ~80MB

          Firefox with 11 tabs open is using ~0.45GB and ~380 processes are showing in the task manager

        3. Richard Plinston Silver badge

          Re: 100 times more?

          > Running just a single browser in Linux tends to eat up 4+ GB of memory,

          You are mistaken, uninformed, or fudding. I am running a browser (Konqueror) and it is reported as 'eating up' 157MB. Opera takes 86MB. Firefox is currently using 1.2GB with many tabs open.

          1. toughluck

            Re: 100 times more?

            Oh yes, because your usage pattern is exactly the same as mine!

            I use Opera (12.16) or Firefox. I have about 20 tabs open. Opera takes 3.7 GB. Firefox takes 4.2 GB with the same tabs.

            Note that several of those tabs have flash open, of course that takes its toll. However, flash only takes up about 600 MB, and less CPU cycles*.

            Distribution is Mint 17 upgraded to the current version with Cinnamon.

            --

            *) Of course, embedded flash is also a big problem with the browser and tends to cause the browser to use up cycles. I also use Windows from time to time, and with the same or similar set of tabs, it's much more responsive. However, even with a fairly recent GPU (Radeon 5850) and GPU acceleration enabled, HTML5 video is excruciatingly slow. I don't know what I'm doing wrong, but there's nothing in the manuals about it.

            1. Chemist

              Re: 100 times more?

              "I use Opera (12.16) or Firefox. I have about 20 tabs open. Opera takes 3.7 GB. Firefox takes 4.2 GB with the same tabs."

              Suggest you look at the output of free and see how much total memory is actually being used. On this 8GB i7 with lots going on it shows 7.6GB (3.4GB used ignoring buffers and caches) and only 80MB swap used.

              The value you are quoting for Firefox sounds like the virtual memory size. If I look at the amount used size for the just top 18 memory 'hogs' using the virtual size it runs to 40GB - showing how useless a measure it is.

            2. Richard Plinston Silver badge

              Re: 100 times more?

              > Oh yes, because your usage pattern is exactly the same as mine!

              Your claim was that: """Running just a single browser in Linux tends to eat up 4+ GB of memory,""" as if that was a universal criticism of Linux. It is apparent from many responders that 'single browsers' in Linux could, and do, use considerably less than that.

              I would think that if I 'browsed' a 25Mb PDF then the memory usage would go up by at least that much or perhaps twice that or more for rendering. If I went to a site with lots of scripts and photos then it would also use sufficient memory to contain those.

              So the multi-GB is not the fault of Linux or of the browser but is only the result of your particular usage. A browser on Windows would use the same, or more, for your 'usage pattern'.

        4. SineWave242

          Re: 100 times more?

          If your browser in Linux takes up 4+GB of RAM, you're doing something wrong, or just purposefully making it use so much RAM.

          I'm Starting System Monitor on Debian 8.3... it says Iceweasel is using 348MB of RAM. That's with 9 open tabs. I don't use crappy Flash, but I have 4 tabs with [stopped] videos in it.

          1. toughluck

            Re: 100 times more?

            If your browser in Linux takes up 4+GB of RAM, you're doing something wrong, or just purposefully making it use so much RAM.

            I'm not sure, perhaps you'll be able to tell me -- just what exactly am I doing wrong? And why would I want it to use so much RAM?

            --

            To me it appears that neither Opera nor Firefox do good garbage collection under Linux and apparently both do much better under Windows.

            $·free

            ·············total·······used·······free·····shared····buffers·····cached

            Mem:·······2064280····1863740·····200540······13328······75868·····432020

            -/+·buffers/cache:····1355852·····708428

            Swap:······1637372······76488····1560884

            (Sigh, oh well, that's as good as it gets, since the form here doesn't allow non-backing spaces in pre tags, and line spacing is all wrong.)

            That's in a VM with 2 GB of RAM I'm currently using on a work laptop. Opening a couple of tabs to read news expectedly ups memory usage. Closing these tabs makes no difference. Opening new tabs should then reuse memory already allocated to the browser? No. It starts swapping like crazy.

            This gets obvious with flash videos. They get slower and start stuttering, and flash eventually crashes (I can kill it and let it restart itself, but it doesn't help in the long run).

            Worse still is that simply restarting the browser isn't enough. If flash crashed, it's not going to work for videos on restarting the browser. For some reason, a lot of memory is assigned to X. Restarting X with Ctrl+Alt+Backspace helps with regards to X memory usage, but it still swaps like crazy. Flushing the buffers doesn't do anything. In the end, restarting the VM fixes the problem, but restarting anything is not a fix if Windows, of all things, doesn't need it -- one of the cited advantages of Linux was supposed to be that you don't need to restart your computer if you run into problems, you were supposed to be able to fix almost everything without rebooting except kernel panics and hardware failures. So what happened?

            It's different under Windows. For some reason, memory usage goes up as expected. When closing tabs, it doesn't go down, but opening new tabs then doesn't result in memory usage constantly increasing. As though the browser tends to make better use of memory allocated to it.

            --

            I stood against a lot of pressure to go to a corporate Windows install on my work laptop. I installed and maintained Linux (Mint 13 with MATE) according to all good practices. And I still had to restart Firefox at least three times a day to free up memory that it just didn't want to let go.

            Begrudgingly, I had to install Windows (on the same hardware). My biggest gripe is that I don't have anything serious to complain about, so I can't make a compelling case to go back to Linux.

            Serious question: What was I doing wrong? This is a bog-standard Sandy Bridge laptop with 8 GB of memory. I use a lot more extensions now, and yet memory usage is down and I no longer have to restart Firefox (or watch it crash) just because it's running out of memory.

            Power usage is down, as are temperatures. I hardly ever hear the fan running these days.

            And it's Windows 7, I don't know if Windows 8+ with its optimizations would help or hinder (I can't try it, since my laptop is too old and doesn't qualify). Some colleagues with new laptops are running Windows 8.1 on them after trying 7 and finding it's worse.

            --

            Disclaimer: FWIW, I am (was?) a Unix/Linux fan. I never saw a reason to buy Windows for my home PC and I run it on Mint 17. Under Windows I vastly prefer Cygwin with bash to Powershell, which I haven't installed or ever intend to learn. And yet after being forced to use Windows, I'm finding it's better in some regards than Linux. There are certainly some things which drive me up the wall, but there's less of them than I have brought up in the past to stay with Linux on the corporate laptop, after using it for three years, going through a lot of trouble for using it instead of what everybody else used.

            --

            Oh yes, and thanks a lot for using cloudflare and forcing us to go through CAPTCHA after doing several previews in a row (I was trying to get that pre to work). Oh yeah, and seriously? A layered drink is juice?

            1. Chemist

              Re: 100 times more?

              @ toughluck

              I'm not sure what the problem is - I've never seen it unless I wildly over commit with multiple user desktops, VMs video and RAW processors. Firefox stays within ~0.3GB-1GB.

              But your VM (2GB) usage suggests that you're not using anything like 4+GB for Firefox and very little swap usage too. Free suggests that In fact you still have ~~700MB available . In one of my machines (real) with 2GB memory I'd see something similar with some applications open including FF

            2. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

              Re: 100 times more?

              "To me it appears that neither Opera nor Firefox do good garbage collection under Linux and apparently both do much better under Windows."

              The Firefox developers read in a book, or online, somewhere that unused RAM is wasted RAM.

              What they didn't understand was that this meant RAM unused by the OS. Not RAM unused by friggin Firefox. Hence, Firefox grabs shedloads of RAM and won't give it back. Only good if all you want to do is run Firefox.

              They are a bit moronic in that way. And they don't have good hearing. Know best self.

  19. Adrian Midgley 1

    Embrace

    Extend

    And brand it.

    I wonder if MS salesdroids even notice they are selling what they used to say was no good, more expensive, illegal and cancerous now.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    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.

    The end is nigh!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Pretty much describes TV these days from what I've seen.

    2. Col_Panek

      "Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies,....etc"

      The righteous have already been raptured, and so enjoy the beatific vision of Linux. The rest will follow after the Purgatorial suffering of Windows. The evildoers will be cast into the pit of Hell, located just east of Seattle.

  21. Duncan Macdonald Silver badge
    Linux

    What did Cisco do to piss off M$

    The one company that will really suffer if this software works well is Cisco. If generic hardware and open source software comes close to Cisco kit in terms of performance then Cisco as a company will be heading for the drain. Like Apple, Cisco relies on much higher margins than the rest of the industry - when it can no longer get those margins its profits will tank.

  22. Sonoble

    The article is a bit misleading, SONiC runs on Linux based networking operating systems such as Open Network Linux https://opennetlinux.org (and other) Linux distributions, but is not a distribution.

  23. DCLXV

    Of course MS loves Linux, now that they've learned how to monetize it. All those Azure instances running Linux are money for MS. I was amongst those lured in by the 30-day trial, Azure cut a swath in the emergent cloud market by loss-leading and offering a high quality of service. Now the price has gone up but fundamentally the service is still solid so I guess they have figured out where to offer value.

  24. rtb61

    The reality is experienced and knowledgeable users are tensing up a lot and Windows anal probe 10 is causing a huge amount of discomfort. The is pushing a growth in Linux and Apple so M$ is seeking to sticks it probe in both other major operating system.

    The huge public attack on Apple engineered through lobbyists, main stream media and even the FBI (M$ gave them a gaping security hole and are demanding a favour in return) and now pushing into deeper open source. So targeting network hardware all of a sudden, why, easy because network hardware can be configured to shut out all Windows anal probe IPs and be regularly updated to keep them out permanently, so M$ is launching an end run around this to ensure the data rape continues.

    1. PNGuinn
      Thumb Up

      "Windows anal probe 10"

      +1. That is all.

  25. asdf Silver badge

    didn't get memo

    *BSD is often better for network gear (on x86 anyway) and Microsoft has always liked their licensing model more. Must have needed the better hardware support Linux generally offers.

  26. tempemeaty

    Perhaps the first step in a corporate stratagy?

    From a Linux point of view, another distro isn't going to make one bit of difference.

    From a corporate point of view, Microsoft might use their corporate presence to draw other corporate interests off of supporting mainline Linux distros at some point.

    1. TheVogon Silver badge

      Re: Perhaps the first step in a corporate stratagy?

      They have now moved the controlling logic to Windows:

      https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-server-docs/networking/sdn/technologies/network-controller/network-controller

      The switch underneath can be running anything - including Windows or Hyper-V Server - or Linux...

  27. crediblywitless

    If we can have Office on MacOS, and SQL Server on Linux, and Microsoft is doing embedded Linux now, can we have Office on Linux?

    1. Michael Habel Silver badge

      Re: Can we have Office on Linux...

      But, surly anyone that wants Orifice that badly on Linux, could just pony-up the monthly charge for Orifice365, and use the HTML5 Cloud version, surely?

      *Note full disclosure I've never actually used O365, but I can't see what if anything beyond a Firefox plug-in needing to ever be installed. Its all in the Cloud now, and its all HTML5 compatible. Therefore I would be dumbfounded to learn that O365 was somehow incompatible with Linux.

    2. Col_Panek

      MS Office on Linux? Shit, we can't have Skype that works right.

  28. PeteA
    Windows

    Lazy and inaccurate journalism again

    From the FAQ on github:

    Q. Is SONiC a Linux distribution?

    A. No, SONiC is a collection of networking software components required to have a fully functional L3 device that can be agnostic of any particular Linux distribution. Today SONiC runs on Debian

    So no - Microsoft has *not* released a Debian Linux switch OS. They've released some more software that runs on Linux (though only one particular distro)

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Lazy and inaccurate journalism again

      I think calling this just a bunch of tools is not telling the full story: it's a collection of components – userspace and kernelspace – that when combined forms a switch OS.

      It's more than just a toolkit: when it's all built, you'll have an operating system that manages a switch. It doesn't matter what Microsoft calls it.

      C.

  29. Hans 1 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Linux in a switch ????

    >OCP Summit Put down your coffee gently. Microsoft has today released a homegrown open-source operating system, based on Debian GNU/Linux, that runs on network switches.

    Crikey are they dumb, should have used FreeBSD or OpenBSD, have a better performing TCP/IP stack AND a BSD license ... I am a Linux fanboy, don't get me wrong, but for pure networking, you want a BSD over Linux .... Yet again, MS show they do not have a FF'ing clue.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Linux in a switch ????

      for pure networking, you want a BSD over Linux .... Yet again, MS show they do not have a FF'ing clue.

      But does BSD offer any threat to Microsoft? Do Microsoft need to get involved in the world of BSD in order to protect itself strategically?

      1. Michael Habel Silver badge

        Re: Linux in a switch ????

        Probably not, it's not like BSD (yauc) is some third rail. At the end of the day it's just another Unix Clone, just like Linux. The only major difference would be its licensing BSD vs GPL, and the fact that its also likely devloped a bit slower then Linux is. Plus its 1000x more likely that even the most idiotic have at least heard about this Linux thing. BSD? Probably not so much.

        1. Hans 1 Silver badge

          Re: Linux in a switch ????

          >Probably not, it's not like BSD (yauc) is some third rail. At the end of the day it's just another Unix Clone, just like Linux.

          The BSD's have the best performing TCP stack, period, it is a fact that has been brought up many times, last I heard Facebook was complaining about it.

          NetFlix are quite happy with FreeBSD, serving close to 33% of internet traffic from those boxes ... to them, EVERY SINGLE IOTA OF PERFORMANCE is worth $$$$$$$.

          Now, how is providing a few GNU/LINUX binaries for routers/swicthes gonna hurt GNU/Linux ? From what I see, they are open source, worst case, they will be forked. Then again, looking at the TCP stack on Windows, who needs their "expertise"? ROFL

          I guess they are trying to trick ppl into using that shit, then the ppl complain their TCP stack is slower than Windows' and switch (pun NOT intended) to Windows ????... I dunno, BRAIN DEAD, I cannot make sense out of it.

          Bottom line, they are clueless, period!

  30. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

    Isn't Sonic a brand of firewall?

    1. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge

      firewall?

      No, hedgehogs :)

  31. Sir Alien

    For those that remember.....

    Two words >> Microsoft, Java

    If you can understand those two words and what happened in the past you will realize that this is likely to happen again with Microsoft coming to the Linux world. Only time will tell but don't be surprised if it happens again.

    - S.A

    1. Bob Vistakin
      Unhappy

      Re: For those that remember.....

      I'd add another: Nokia.

  32. Col_Panek

    Next: MS Linux for everyone

    Including an NSA backdoor, and ad revenue for MS.

    It's the Google way. And MS's corporate philosophy has become Monkey See Monkey Do.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The very gratuitous Microsoft

    Microsoft is doing it's best to exploit consumers by refusing to support any new CPUS from AMD, Intel and Qualcomm except on Win10. That means current Win7-8 users will not be able to run the new AMD Zen based CPUs/APUs coming out this Fall and AMD, Intel and Qualcomm processors being released in '17 even though Microsoft extended support (sic) for Win 7 runs thru Jan. 2020. This action by Microsoft to force people to move to a more insecure version of Windows that has serious spying code and privacy issues, is unacceptable to most Win 7-8 users who paid for Win 7-8 and expect to be able to use any new Windows based hardware or software release before Jan. 2020. Anything less is consumer fraud. No one should be coerced into using an inferior and unsavory version of Windows just because Microsoft wants to force everyone to move to Win10. It's time for consumers and enterprise to voice their opposition to Microsoft's unscrupulous exploitation of consumers.

    1. BitDr

      Re: The very gratuitous Microsoft

      What was that about Windows 10 and Microsoft ending support for Win 7-8 for the new CPU's? I wasn't paying attention... was installing Linux on two laptops; a new acer with Win 10 (Buh-Bye Windows 10), an IBM T-60 running Win 7 that got hit with Crypto Locker, and an elderly couples Compaq-Presario that was running Windows Vista once again has a spring in it's step. All three of them now run Mint 17.3 Cinnamon.

  34. AskOllie.com
    Joke

    RFC1925

    Well, I never - a flying pig.

    RFC 1925.

    (3) With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine. However, this is

    not necessarily a good idea. It is hard to be sure where they

    are going to land, and it could be dangerous sitting under them

    as they fly overhead.

  35. Concrete Gannet

    Embrace, extend, ...

    It's hard to extinguish a hundred-headed hydra.

  36. Paul Woodhouse

    well, I notice Mark Russinovich of sysinternals fame seems to be having a hand in this, I'll have an optimistic outlook that MS (first time in ages I've not typed M$) aren't trying anything underhand...

    its not a full blown OS by any stretch anyway, looks like its a useful bit of code for specific uses where Windows wouldn't be a good choice for anyway... can anyone in the know tell me how or why this is different from for example pfsense? or is it nothing to do with routing/firewalls at all, just switches?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Mark Russinovich of sysinternals fame

      Interesting observation. Apparently he's CTO of the Azure business nowadays.

      MS have bought loads of other businesses.

      Have they ever sold any? None spring to mind, but I could easily have missed or forgotten.

  37. Col_Panek

    Is it on Distrowatch??

    ....and has the Cancer spread like Ballmer feared? How long does Windows have to live?

  38. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    From the heading I assumed it was some "Switch to Windows 10" Trojan version of Linux...

    I don't think this is astonishing though. It's not on the desktop, so invisible to normal users. It's not in a market they could ever make money. It's a way to gain some influence (meaning trying to control things to go their way). I'm sure they have looked at the success of Android. Having software on switches could be good thing in the general spy-on-the-user campaign.

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