back to article Windows 10 with Ubuntu now in public preview

Microsoft's latest "Insider" Windows 10 preview Build 14316, includes the Windows Subsystem for Linux along with a flurry of other new features. The addition of a Linux command-line to Windows was announced at Microsoft's Build conference last week. The feature is aimed at developers, allowing them to use Linux utilities …

  1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Hmmmm???

    The kind of scenario Microsoft envisages is when you want to develop and test an application that will be deployed on Linux without leaving the Windows desktop

    Should that not be...

    The kind of scenario Microsoft envisages is when you want to develop and try out an application that will be deployed on Ubuntu Linux without leaving the Windows desktop.

    IMHO, any serious application testing will have to be done within a VM or on a system with the Target Linux OS installed on bare metal/hypervisor.

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Hmmmm???

      It could be useful for us, we do support on Windows, but our server software runs on Linux, so we have to have Cygwin or NX installed at the moment, if the bash shell can save us having to install that, depending on how tightly it is integrated, it might bring some benefits.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hmmmm???

        There are two classes of things here:

        1. basic shell tools like bash, grep, awk etc, which do little other than read and write to stdio. Fair enough - making them work is easy enough.

        2. full blown applications like mysql which depend on proper POSIX semantics. The chances of Microsoft emulating (say) POSIX threads correctly seems pretty remote. It even took Linux itself years to get that right.

        Perhaps what Microsoft is hoping for is:

        * User installs a LAMP stack

        * User finds it is unreliable, locks up and crashes randomly etc

        * User tells boss to install SQL Server and IIS instead

        ... hoping that they don't realise it's the crusty emulation layer which is breaking things.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Hmmmm???

          * User tells boss to install SQL Server and IIS instead

          Or equally likely, user realises that LAMP seems to work fine in its native habitat, so tells boss to install Ubuntu/Debian/Red Hat instead.

          For now, we can forgive its flakiness as it is in beta. WINE was terrible too years ago.

          However, going forward, this is going to test Microsoft's commitment. If they can't make it work right, it'll likely reflect worse on them than it will the open-source community as there's plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest these software packages are stable and reliable on their native platform.

        2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: Hmmmm???

          basic shell tools like bash, grep, awk etc, which do little other than read and write to stdio

          You clearly have no idea what goes into a Unix shell, if you think it does "little other than read and write to stdio". And that's doubly true for bash, a kitchen-sink shell if ever there were one.

        3. Rich Turner

          Re: Hmmmm???

          I understand the skepticism, but no, our goal is not to annoy you into using MS tech instead.

          We absolutely intend to build a sufficiently Linux-compatible environment that you can run the majority of Linux command-line tools.

          We don't currently have any plans to make this a service hosting platform for production workloads, but we do aim to allow you to run most command-line apps that developers use frequently in order to build their projects.

        4. david 12 Silver badge

          Re: Hmmmm???

          >"The chances of Microsoft emulating (say) POSIX threads correctly seems pretty remote. It even took Linux itself years to get that right."

          Yes, it wasn't until Microsoft SFU version 3.5, in 2004, that Windows got POSIX threads.

        5. _DeVNuLL_

          Re: Hmmmm???

          Actually, the Windows NT 3.x kernel was originally designed to support POSIX so it may not be that far-fetched for that support to still be in the code today, albeit embedded deeply within the OS. Even if that capability has been removed it would not be beyond the realms of possibility to resurrect it.

        6. Bitcrazed

          Re: Hmmmm???

          Actually, we run many things rather well. We have several things that are having issues right now (including MySQL, node/npm), but we're actively working on fixes to solve these and many other scenarios.

          Our intent is that you should absolutely be able to run Linux-native Redis, MySQL, Postgres, Mongo, etc., locally for dev/test.

      2. Hans 1 Silver badge

        Re: Hmmmm???

        I would be interested in knowing how expensive it is to create new processes, the performance on cygwin is abyssal ... the hamilton c-shell is way better, the only problem is that the c-shell is useless for scripting.

        1. Bitcrazed

          Re: Hmmmm???

          We have a brand new PicoProcess process infrastructure that we built to allow us to implement real fork() support :)

          https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/wsl/2016/04/22/windows-subsystem-for-linux-overview/

      3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Hmmmm???

        we have to have Cygwin or NX installed at the moment, if the bash shell can save us having to install that

        It doesn't look to me like this is much less effort than installing Cygwin. Particularly not if you're already using Cygwin, and so already have things configured more or less to your liking.

        I'm not hostile to the idea of Win10 with Ubuntu, but while I understand the implementation differences, I don't see the user experience, for most users, as being all that terribly different from that of Cygwin or any of the other UNIX-on-Windows solutions (MinGW, MSYS, SFU, Interix, MKS, U/WIN, ...) that have existed since the early NT days.

        1. Bitcrazed

          Re: Hmmmm???

          The biggest difference between Bash/WSL is that we run unmodified native Linux ELF64 binaries directly on Windows - no recompilation etc. And because we're running /bin/bash, etc., we behave much more like Linux than Cygwin, etc. do.

    2. Rich Turner
      Thumb Up

      Re: Hmmmm???

      [PM for Windows Console and Bash on Ubuntu on Windows here]

      @Steve: "IMHO, any serious application testing will have to be done within a VM or on a system with the Target Linux OS installed on bare metal/hypervisor."

      Yes! We agree with you!

      Bash on Ubuntu on Windows is a developer convenience, enabling you to develop and, perhaps, locally test, your bash scripts and/or code that has dependencies on Linux features and/or behaviors.

      Bash on Ubuntu on Windows is NOT a replacement for full Linux: If you plan to deploy your resulting system to Linux, we still encourage you to test your code on a Linux VM/machine prior to deploying into production (you ARE using a CI/CD workflow, right?). But we hope that Bash on Windows is a sufficiently Linux-compatible environment that it makes you more productive when working on code on Windows 10.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Interesting

    Being Windows 10 - free, I'll never make use of it, but from the technical point of view, I'm impressed.

    It obviously needed collaboration between Cannonical and Microsoft, which makes me wonder about the converse : will we soon see an announcement of Windows 10 Apps and the App Store coming to Ubuntu (running on a Wine-like Ubuntu subsystem, maybe)?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Interesting

      As with Microsoft announcements, you can bet it under delivers, just like everything they have done in the last decade.

      How can a company where all its products are just poor substitutes for the real thing, actually carry on existing???

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Interesting

        I certainly wouldn't expect Microsoft to deliver any more than they're committed to, but I would expect it to satisfy Canonical's needs - else why get so deep into collaboration?

        On the info given, it isn't clear what both parties really expect to get out of this collaboration. But given that the bottom line for both companies is profit there must be a revenue stream in it somewhere.

        Which is why I wouldn't be surprised to see Windows Store Apps running on Ubuntu someday - there's money in that for both parties.

      2. 1Rafayal

        Re: Interesting

        I know, those xboxes sucked major dick and their office suite is used by no one.

        Don't know how they made it out of the 90's

  3. Missing Semicolon
    Happy

    Embrace..........

    ... you know the rest :-)

    1. FuzzyWuzzys

      Re: Embrace..........

      Extend ( the hand of commercial friendship or you'll be the next one to be ) Extinguished?

    2. John Bailey

      Re: Embrace..........

      "... you know the rest :-)"

      Cuddle... snog?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Embrace..........

        > Cuddle... snog?

        Avoid.

      2. Red Bren

        Re: Embrace..........

        @John Bailey

        Cuddle...snog...get completely forked!

        1. Unicornpiss Silver badge
          Happy

          Fundamental differences/Alien DNA

          Unless MS ditches the registry and goes to a config-file-based environment, I can't see a true integration occurring between the two. The way permissions are handled are utterly different too, of course. However, it will be interesting to see what develops from this...

          I suppose it's only fair. We have WINE on Linux, why not Linux on Windows natively? Mix n' match. Perhaps some time when I've lost my last marble I will make an unholy conglomeration of Linux hosting a VM running Windows running Linux running WINE just to see what happens... It couldn't be much less problematic than SharePoint and Office 365 is right now :)

          OS2/Warp/Zoroastrianism anyone?

          1. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
            Childcatcher

            Re: Fundamental differences/Alien DNA

            Unless MS ditches the registry and goes back to a config-file-based environment, I can't see a true integration occurring between the two.

            FTFY. Once upon a time, that's how Microsoft rolled. Now, not so much. I would be much happier if all apps were self contained instead of being tied in to the registry, but that wish is based on sheer laziness on my part. This new ability, if it amounts to anything, would actually feed into that too as I recently have been given scripts to write in both Windows and Linux environments. Being able to do at least the initial draft of both on a single system would speed things up a bit for me.

            1. Number6

              Re: Fundamental differences/Alien DNA

              Now the evil plot behind systemd becomes clear...

    3. Zakhar

      Re: Embrace..........

      Indeed, today they are releasing "LINE" (LINE Is Not an Emulator), which I found quite funny. But we all know, having used WINE, that it is a last resort solution. THE solution would be to run a proper Linux kernel.

      And then I had a nightmare. I was dreaming M$ ditches it's own kernel, starts using a real Linux Kernel, and just turns it's desktop onto one of the myriad of desktops existing out there on top of Linux. Of course, they would open source and help WINE guys to make much more legacy Windows programs run on Linux through WINE.

      After all, 99% of users see only the desktop environment, they couldn't care less which kernel it is running (and they are right not to care as long as it runs fine).

      And then... tadaaa...

      Meet Winux, the first Linux distribution officially approved by Redmond!

      As enterprises like "big company names" (who knows Ubuntu or Canonical amongst the Top 100 CIOs?), people dislike fragmentation (and the Linux Desktop is very fragmented since Unity), it would for sure make big big scores and probably kill all other distros... hence extinguish!

      So, I hope Satya is not reading TheReg to steal this bad idea. ;-)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Zakhar - Re: Embrace..........

        How about Weenix ?

        1. d3vy Silver badge

          Re: @Zakhar - Embrace..........

          "How about Weenix ?"

          Or Lindows...

          Oh.. Wait. :)

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

      3. Col_Panek

        Re: Embrace..........

        Bad idea? Look how bad it turned out for Google. It seems a few people actually use their mucked up OS based on Linux And with Microsoft being a Monkey See Monkey Do company, it is likely to happen.

    4. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Embrace..........

      Thanks! As your twenty upvotes shows, no one else thought to resurrect this particular cliché for this story. I'm glad to see that the Reg commentariat's dedication to original thinking has not softened.

      I look forward to the comment threads about the Microsoft antitrust actions, illegal bundling, "Linux is a virus", and other topics that people feel compelled to post about in the comments to every single fucking story about Microsoft. Never forget!

  4. Missing Semicolon
    WTF?

    GPL?

    gimme that windows 10 source!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: GPL?

      Despite you weak attempt at humour. The GPL allows for to you mix prop and OSS and you're free keep the prop bits yourself, so as Win10 code is prop and not licensed under GPL MS is under no obligation you let you get your mucky-mitts on it!

    2. Malcolm 1

      Re: GPL?

      Nope - the Windows Subsystem for Linux is entirely proprietary. Everything running in user space is unmodified from that which ships with Ubuntu.

      1. Eddy Ito Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: GPL?

        Entirely proprietary? Maybe it is now, but I'd wager MS just did a little tweaking followed by

        C:\> kldload linux

    3. Lord_Beavis
      Linux

      Re: GPL?

      Would you like that printed on single or two-ply?

  5. Paul Shirley

    cygwin and others

    Think I'll stick to cygwin for those odd times I need linux tools in Windows - can interact directly with Windows (and 'top' works). For anything more extreme I'll just boot Linux or use a VM. Bit of a strange frankensteined beast more about keeping you in Windows than doing useful stuff.

    1. Aniya
      Happy

      Re: cygwin and others

      Seconded on Cygwin. I've been using Cygwin for well over a decade and it works well enough. It has even become my go-to SSH client over the years. Cygwin's repository has also grown into rather ludicrous proportions with the entire offline download weighing well over 13GB... compressed.

      So you'd be quite hard pressed to not be able to find a package and even if you don't compiling something on Cygwin is always an option.

      My only annoyance is that manually selecting packages can take a while.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: cygwin and others

      I think I'll just stick to Linux...

  6. Bob Vistakin
    Linux

    Which way round are the slashes?

    Industry standard or Microsoft?

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Which way round are the slashes?

      Using an Italian keyboard, Windows slashes are much more comfortable because they don't need to press Shift. Whoever coded Unix should have understood the World doesn't speak (and type) English only. Same is true for C....

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Sean Timarco Baggaley

          Re: Which way round are the slashes?

          " And in 1971 the problem was still to make computers tolerably easy to design, program and pay for. Internationalisation was in the unforeseeable future."

          Balderdash and piffle. Multi-lingual communications have been very much a thing long before computers came along. That some ignorant beard-strokers failed to realise this is entirely down to ignorance on their part. They don't get to rewrite over a century of telecommunications history to excuse their lack of knowledge.

          Contrary to popular belief, international telecoms and data transmission was not an invention of the computer industry. Many bankers and financiers were routinely getting their news and share prices via telegraph ticker-tape systems as far back as the 19th century. Character encoding is therefore a concept that predates the invention of viable electronic computers by some decades, and UNIX itself by almost a century.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Marco Fontani

        Re: Which way round are the slashes?

        Using an Italian keyboard, Windows slashes are much more comfortable because they don't need to press Shift.

        I was a very, very happy young Italian developer when I finally managed to get my hands on a PS2 US keyboard in Italy… and with the US-International layout, I could even type the accents which _should've_ been in the Italian keyboard, but haven't ever been there. How else is one supposed to start a sentence with "È" with? An Office suite?

        1. LDS Silver badge

          Re: Which way round are the slashes?

          So you get used to a keyboard layout the other 99.9% machines you encounter don't have, and makes very hard to buy a laptop and the like? And why.we should be forced to use a foreign layout just to easy access basic characters? Sure, the lack of accented uppercase letter is an issue - but still better than en ex colleague of mine that decided to write in ASCII7 only with an US keyboard and never used proper accented characters... but it felt a "real man".

      3. no-one in particular

        Re: Which way round are the slashes?

        > Whoever coded Unix should have understood the World doesn't speak (and type) English only.

        Don't make the mistake of thinking that Windows uses the other slash because they were trying to be kind to you - it is purely the result of MS using / for command-line options in MS-DOS (borrowed from CP/M via ...) before they even got around to needing a directory separator.

      4. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Which way round are the slashes?

        "Whoever coded Unix should have understood the World doesn't speak (and type) English only. Same is true for C...."

        Unix and C are the way they are because there were designed for two finger typists ie. tech's, by tech's and specifically those who wished to spend the time to undergo the requisite initiations and so join the elite/priesthood...

      5. entfe001

        Re: Which way round are the slashes?

        Spanishfag here.

        Forward slash is Shift+7 for me.

        Backward slash is AltGr+uppermost left key.

        They should use ñ as a path separator item because it's a simple keystroke on my keyboard. Period.

      6. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Which way round are the slashes?

        Using an Italian keyboard, Windows slashes are much more comfortable because they don't need to press Shift. Whoever coded Unix should have understood the World doesn't speak (and type) English only. Same is true for C....

        I see / used in lots of places long before \ turned up. In fact, I recall typewriters that did not have a \ key. Quite often it was used to denote fractions. Wikipedia traces the (forward-)slash back to the 19th century. Amongst other things, it was also used to denote routes or paths, and so its use to denote a separator in a file path is sensible.

        Backslash on the other hand, according to the same source was a 1960's invention.

        So don't blame Unix for deficiencies in your beloved Italian keyboard or Microsoft's desire to do everything backwards.

        They should use ñ as a path separator item because it's a simple keystroke on my keyboard. Period.

        Hmm, how would that look? ñetcñfstab? C:ñWindowsñSystem32? No, not that good from a readability standpoint. ;-)

        1. TheDarkFreak

          Re: Which way round are the slashes?

          > So don't blame Unix for deficiencies in your beloved Italian keyboard or Microsoft's desire to do everything backwards.

          s/Microsoft/Digital Research, Inc.

          '/' for command line switches came from CP/M.

          Don't blame Microsoft for wanting to stay compatible with one of the larger systems in their market at the time.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Headmaster

            Re: Which way round are the slashes?

            s/Microsoft/Digital Research, Inc.

            '/' for command line switches came from CP/M.

            1. your s/// command is unterminated ;-)

            2. we weren't discussing command line switches, we were discussing directory separators, which CP/M didn't have.

    2. Displacement Activity

      Re: Which way round are the slashes?

      > Industry standard or Microsoft?

      Or VMS... DEC... RiscOS... etc. RiscOS was a PITA - deleting *.c could wipe your disk. And MS has actually always supported '/', though I'm not sure to what extent.

      Seriously, though, Cygwin and MSYS have file path conversion issues which make it difficult to do Makefiles, scripts, and so on. If MS have managed to sort this out so that the machine looks like it has native *nix file paths then it's probably worth trying out.

  7. Andy Non Silver badge
    Meh

    meh

    I'll stick with running Linux Mint exclusively thanks.

    1. Not That Andrew
      Joke

      Re: meh

      Damn, I was about to post a comedy Mint post, but someone beat me to it.

  8. captain veg

    almost worth it

    At last, a sensible ssh client on Windows.

    But Windows 10? No thanks.

    -A.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    Wowzers!

    There's about 5,000,000 Windows Insiders so that's a bazillion % increase in Linux On The Desktop in 24 hours.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wowzers!

      Not quite a bazillion.

  10. Dan 55 Silver badge

    So problems with pocesses and filesystems

    ... nothing important then.

    Is this a problem with userland or the Linux 'kernel'?

    I.e. does it need a specially written version of top or would anything that wants a list of processes not work properly?

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: So problems with pocesses and filesystems

      Here you need to access and show some very system-specific details about processes. Some data needs to be "translated" to keep meaningful information across systems, especially if it has to show Windows processes also. Some commands need also to be translated - take "kill", for example, Windows doesn't use *nix signals, and different types of applications may need different handling (i.e. stopping a service needs to go trough the SCM).

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: So problems with pocesses and filesystems

        I don't see why it's so specialised, top is just an interactive ps. Hence the question as to if it's just top or if everything's affected, including, say, ps.

        1. david 12 Silver badge

          Re: So problems with pocesses and filesystems

          "Top" is in the previous versions of SFU (2.4, 3.0, 3.5) , so either the problem is specific to Linux, or to Win10, or they just haven't got around to it yet.

    2. sed gawk Silver badge

      Re: So problems with pocesses and filesystems

      Top is walking the proc filesystem at a guess.

      providing a libc with compatible entrypoints is actually not that big a deal, making it actually work like real unix is more work.

      Basically windows is at heart a thread scheduler, unix was at its design single threaded.

      That's not something a little LD_PRELOAD magic is going to paper over.

      TL;DR use linux if you want linux.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It would appear the microsoft are reverting to the days of win NT. They had sections in that that allowed you to run OS/2 programs and read the OS/2 HPFS file system.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      This is an old MS strategy. Go after the programmers. Think of all those programmers in small shops. They are the ones who make the decisions. MS knows that it is better to get LOTS of low hanging fruit on board. Not only does that give them numbers, but also helps give leverage for bigger shops. Don't forget, "DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS".

  12. Neil Barnes Silver badge
    WTF?

    It is like a dog's walking on its hind legs.

    It is not done well, but one is surprised to find it done at all.

    Samuel Johnson: critic, dictionary compiler, and apparently futurologist also!

    Seriously: what's the point, other than huge fun for the guys trying to do it? As pointed out by others above, if you wanted a Linux environment, it's best on the bare metal. If you want to test an occasional program, then a VM is your thing. But why on earth would anyone want to have a system that doesn't work, sat on top of all the potential nastiness of Windows? What were they thinking?

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: It is like a dog's walking on its hind legs.

      I can see a lot of uses for where I work - although we are currently mainly CentOS and SUSE based for server side.

      But most of our devs are Linux server devs and don't like being forced to use Windows (the client software is Windows based and our telephone system is Windows based). They spend 90% of their time working in bash. If they have the bash command line in Windows, it is one less thing for them to moan about.

      It might also make rolling out new installs easier, as it is one less 3rd party package to install (E.g. Cygwin or NX).

      1. nijam

        Re: It is like a dog's walking on its hind legs.

        > If they have the bash command line in Windows, it is one less thing for them to moan about.

        No, it's one more thing to moan about. They already don't want Windows, obviously, so giving you a way to force them to have WIndows...

        1. big_D Silver badge

          Re: It is like a dog's walking on its hind legs.

          @nijam they work on Linux Servers exclusively with command line tools. They need a web browser, an Exchange client and the telephone client - the latter of which only runs on Windows (there is an OS X version in Beta, but it isn't very stable).

          Up to last year, they were running on thin clients, but with the event of the new telephone system, the thin clients had to make way for real PCs running Windows.

          1. Striped Lungi

            Re: It is like a dog's walking on its hind legs.

            Not hindlegs but doing a headstand to get *nix guys like us on to their crappy system. I would never use microsoft for anything at all.. thankfully don't have to.

      2. Hans 1 Silver badge

        Re: It is like a dog's walking on its hind legs.

        CMD.exe sucks golf balls through garden hoses, unless they improve that piece of sh1t, this is all useless. CenEmu is better, but also has its quirks - like you cannot select+copy text to clipboard when in vi ... or at least, I have not figured out how to do it/enable it - that basically killed it for me.

        I would like to know which terminal they use, if they have an Xorg server, it might be worth looking into, but then again .... Windows 10 ...Windows 10 ? Errr, no!

    2. LDS Silver badge

      Re: It is like a dog's walking on its hind legs.

      When you're developing cross-platform applications - especially when using scripting languages like PHP or Python -, it may be handy to make a quick check it also works on a *nix system locally without running a full separate VM. Of course full tests will need to be performed on the true destination systems also.

      It may be more aimed at Windows developers needing to work on Linux also (like me), that the other way around. This still a beta - the aim of MS is to make it work well enough, I guess. Of course not for those who believe "Windows is full of nastiness"...

    3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: It is like a dog's walking on its hind legs.

      The support for things like gcc are great. Anyone who wants to development work often struggles if what they're working on has dependencies that may need compiling (lxml in Python springs to mind but I'm sure there are many others). It means maintaining separate instructions and possibly even packages for the windows world. The sub-system support means that the docs for installing and running command line stuff are pretty much the same whatever platform. This a big deal for a lot of people both those using Windows, for whatever reason, and library developers.

    4. Tabor

      Re: It is like a dog's walking on its hind legs.

      "what's the point, other than huge fun for the guys trying to do it?"

      I don't really understand the question. Is huge fun not sufficient ? I've been a sysadmin for close to 20 years now, and bash on Windows made me feel like a young'un again. Bash was the first shell I used in college years. Shiny new toy to fiddle with, which I can try to break or just see how far it goes. The frankenwine scenario seems really interesting and I'll try it. Why ? Because.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It is like a dog's walking on its hind legs.

      Seriously: what's the point, other than huge fun for the guys trying to do it?

      I think it's positive: more people exposed to Linux, but without making their managers nervous by leaving Windows (yet).

      I would be more worried about a repeat of the scam Microsoft pulled in the days of Windows 3.1 where they simulated failure when started up from the competing version DR-DOS - in case you have any Linux problems, I'd check things first in a non-Microsoft environment. Just in case.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: It is like a dog's walking on its hind legs.

        I think it's positive: more people exposed to Linux, but without making their managers nervous by leaving Windows (yet).

        That's just wishful thinking. Lots of people are happy with Windows but doing stuff on the command line can be a challenge.

    6. oiseau Silver badge

      Re: It is like a dog's walking on its hind legs.

      Hello:

      > What were they thinking?

      Hmmm ....

      You'd be surprised .... Not.

      I don't like the looks of this.

      No, not at all.

      Better keep all that crap away from Linux.

      Just my $0.02

  13. frank ly

    Well?

    "When I typed "notepad", the system invited me to install Wine, a means of running Windows applications on Linux."

    Did you? Did it work? Amazed minds want to know.

  14. Denarius Silver badge
    Meh

    I will stick to UWIN

    for exercises where I have to munge data when stuck with Windows PCs in workplace. UWIN is a bit more like using HPUX or AIX shell utilities than Cygwin. Nothing against Cygwin, flame throwers down please, mere user preference. However, still trying to work out the point of M$ latest effort. What problem is it solving? At last count I had knowledge of these unix tools on Microsoft OS and used them all.

    Berkely Unix Utilities for DOS (dodgy on current windows cmd)

    Cygwin

    Various enthusiasts ports of tools

    UWIN

    MKS, since snaffled by M$ into Unix services for Windows.

    Now Ubuntu on Windows using what appears to be the UWIn approach of a system call translator dll.

  15. LDS Silver badge

    Maybe it will be easier to run Git under Windows...

    Actually the Git "client" for Windows is one of the worst house of cards I've seen...

  16. mscha

    Or just use Cygwin already.

    Works just fine, you can start Windows applications from the command-line, df and top work, etcetera.

  17. theOtherJT

    It's very clever but...

    ...I'm not sure it really does anything I need. Maybe it does things you need - and if so, that's great - but from where I'm sat (which incidentally is in front of a Windows 7 desktop with half a dozen PuTTY sessions open to various Linux machines) what I'd really want from this is a way to use my extensive bash experience to control Windows machines as easily as I control Linux ones.

    That doesn't seem to be what Microsoft are aiming for here. They talk about "developers" but really, when I have my developer hat on I would never rely on this to test Linux code because it's not actually representative of what that code would do on a real Linux machine.

  18. Tom 38 Silver badge

    ...full of interest, especially for developers working on Windows but deploying applications to Linux

    AKA idiots. Please don't deploy stuff developed on linux on windows to my servers.

    1. Tabor

      @Tom 38

      Why ? Do your developers now deploy directly to production servers ? If so you have bigger issues than the tools they use.

      1. Adam 52 Silver badge

        Re: @Tom 38

        One of the things I like about Go is that I can just change a compile flag and build for linux-64 on a Windows box after testing locally and then deploy to int/prod with scp.

      2. 1Rafayal

        Re: @Tom 38

        Tabor, he is just speaking in general terms.

        Obviously the fear of random "Windows" developers deploying things to a box he has in the cupboard under the stairs keeps him awake at night.

        1. Tom 38 Silver badge

          Re: @Tom 38

          Ad hominem == winning I see.

          If you deploy software to a linux stack, develop on a linux stack. Linux syscalls translated in to windows syscalls is not linux. I really don't care what UI you or text editor they use, but develop and test things on the platform that you are going to run it on.

          I don't want to debug failed jenkins builds from my junior devs that are a result of something they should have caught before they even committed it because they aren't developing on the platform that they should be.

          Put another way, would you write an app for windows using Linux and WINE as your primary development environment? If you would, thanks for coming, next CV please.

          1. 1Rafayal

            Re: @Tom 38

            winning? really?

            If you are concerned that people are developing against the "wrong" environment, then you have a lot more worries to contend with than a linux subsystem for windows.. Which I think pretty much echoes a previous comment.

          2. sed gawk Silver badge

            Re: @Tom 38

            `Put another way, would you write an app for windows using Linux and WINE as your primary development environment? If you would, thanks for coming, next CV please.`

            We develop using a sane buildsystem(autotools), and sane language (C++).

            We use boost and write extensive tests which are run automatically.

            The software is exclusively developed on linux, and deployed on windows 7 & 10.

            The flow is from git to cross-compiled release-tarball to msi is all linux.

            It hits windows only as a msi on a fresh vm.

            Write to the standard, and it doesn't really make any difference provided you work with a sane toolchain.

  19. wheelybird

    Like WINE in reverse.

    But can you use it to play Linux games on Windows?

  20. GavinC

    Windows Subsystem for Linux

    Shouldn't it be "Linux Subsystem for Windows" ?

  21. TeacherMARK

    How about a version of Windows 10 with NO features that simply runs my programs (not apps.)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      you can re-roll your own with NTLite.

  22. prowla

    Will it be possible to run the Ubuntu GUI instead of the Windows one?

    1. theOtherJT
      Coat

      re: Will it be possible to run the Ubuntu GUI instead of the Windows one?

      I doubt it, but then why would you want to? All the Ubuntu GUI's are really horrible compared to the Windows...

      ...oh, wait. Windows 10. Gotcha.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bonus points for anyone going live with this stack...

    SQL Server -> Wine -> Linux for Windows -> Windows -> VM -> VM Manager -> Linux.

    What could possibly go wrong.

  24. azaks

    its a trap!

    the Linux mob have realized that the only way to get onto people's desktop is to piggyback on windows. They have infiltrated the Redmond goliath, and via means so devious that they cannot be shared with the public, have coerced them into this unholy alliance. Via telemetry sent directly to Linus's nan, they will soon release irrefutable proof to show that the year of Linux on the desktop has finally arrived!

    Sounds crazy huh? Now you know what you tin-foil hat wearers sound like to us ;-)

  25. Alistair Silver badge
    Windows

    just a small point

    Although we have quite a bit of cygwin installed, it *does* have its limitations in a properly secured server class AD environment - further it can present security issues in several cases. At the *desktop* user level these aren't much of an issue, but running in some windows server versions cygwin can be rather more than a bit of a problem (several of our cygwin instances are wrapped in security exemptions due to these -- possibly more due to our security standards than anything else).

    I'm certainly old enough to comprehend the embrace, extend.... history of MS, but if and when the SSHD component makes it into Server I'll be *all* over that - and if they can give me grep/awk/sed/find on the command line, I'm quite happy, these are things that MS just *does not* do by default. It will finally make windows more flexible in a manner that *I* find intriguing.

    Is MS planning on pulling the linux server market back to windows? Of course they are - but it will take them *years* of work to do that, and the open source software world for *server* class software tends to move remarkably fast compared to the desktop software world. I suspect they'll be playing catchup for a *long* time on that front.

    <grumpy SA just discovered an understudy has been giving Devs root password.>

  26. Ilmarinen
    Happy

    Woo Hoo !

    That's great !

    Now, how easy is it to get rid of the windows bit after you've got Ubuntu installed?

    (I've got W10 at work, & it's a bit pants c/w Mint at home)

  27. x 7

    so what was wrong with Cygwin?

    1. 1Rafayal

      Cygwin isn't Linux.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: what was wrong with Cygwin

      I'll tell you what I remember, and then maybe someone can tell me whether it ever got fixed.

      Several years ago, I got involved in doing a bit of software development for an ARM target. The IT people were Certified Microsoft Dependent, so I started by using gcc and Cygwin etc.

      But there was some kind of issue with using lots of stuff under Cygwin when any of the entries in your Windows PATH have a space in them. If I remember rightly it broke command line handling in many cases. Anyone else remember this (It semed to be something that was assumed to be widely understood, but wasn't widely documented).

      Y'know, a PATH entry such as "Program Files". What are the odds?

      Anyway, this was back in the days when VMware Player was still a reasonable choice, so I gave up on cygwin and installed a real Linux which did what a proper Linux should.

      Does that problem still exist? Is there a workaround/fix? That was a showstopper for me.

      There were also serious performance problems for anything that relied on a lot of file system operations (er, source code management operations?).

      Those are the two things I remember being well wrong with Cygwin.

  28. martinusher Silver badge

    I think I've figure it out!

    It might be an 'embrace, envelop, extinguish' maneuver but not in an obvious sense.

    First of all, a lot of tools that you get forced to run on Windows aren't -- they're Linux parked uneasily on Cygwin or similar. These are big ticket items like FPGA development environments and major code development environments (although MSFT has been positioning its System Builder as the IDE of choice its really not going to make much of a dent in established environments for the foreseeable future.....but I wouldn't count it out).

    Second, the weak link in Unbuntu is Unity. Its an attempt to out GUI Microsoft and as Canonical have found out building a decent user environment burns through a lot of programming effort (and, sorry, its really not there yet....). This little setup allows us to have the advantages of a Linux base with a reasonably decent front end, the sort of thing you do sort-of with VNC or X. What it means for MSFT is that I get to run my apps on 'free' Ubuntu but pay the Windows tax to have a decent front end. There are plenty of serious apps that would jump at that -- when you're a professional 'free' isn't as cheap as 'works'.

    This may go down in history as a masterstroke -- albeit one of Dr. Evil's masterstrokes....

    1. 1Rafayal

      Re: I think I've figure it out!

      So your revelation is that Ubuntu is trying to use Microsoft to provide a superior gui to present it's distro.

      Really?

  29. Doug 3

    First there was Wine, now there is Line

    Line (originally an acronym for "Line Is Not an Emulator"). But a huge difference between the two is Microsoft doesn't want it to run as good as it can, and surely not better than Windows. Crippled in strategic ways is what you'll probably get so why bother.

    I can imagine they are doing this to try to get a count of who is using Linux on Windows and what they are doing. Remember, in a virtual machine, no one can hear your scream. ie the host OS doesn't know what you are doing in the virtual machine. Can you imagine what the push back would be like if Microsoft throttled virtual machines which ran Linux? They'd never throw a bunch of NOP's in there just for Linux, never.

    I still remember how Microsoft insisted they get $1 for each copy of SCO Linux for some Xenix code which wasn't even included any more. When the lawyers were starting to form groups Microsoft finally gave up that fight. It wasn't about the money, it was about knowing how many copies of the software was selling. Something to think about.

  30. Dwarf Silver badge

    A weak attempt

    This is just a weak attempt to try and stop developers from going outside of Windows, where they invariably see it's a nicer place to be and then they don't come back.

    The trouble is that everyone working in real world IT already knows that there are better alternatives. Much of real world server farms these days is Linux based, then There is the yoof playing with their raspberry PI's; web devs all working on macs on neutral HTML5 and non MS JavaScript. Jo public has a tablet of one flavour or another for browsing, e-mail and social (all non MS)

    PC sales are down due to the above and awful Windows 8/10 we know what's best for you edition / let's try and force subscription to services c**p

    It's a bit late for panic MS, you screwed up by not listening to your existing customer base and instead went off hunting unicorns of one a Microsoft only world which will never exist

  31. BenR

    Can someone explain the point?

    I mean, sure - it seems quite technically clever and impressive and such-like, but I struggle to see the point.

    In this day and age, with the amount of computing power available in even the most bog-standard of basic office-desktop-boxen, is spinning up a VM to run proper Linux really that tricky? I have VirtualBox on every machine that runs the x86 Android build, and a flavour of Linux, just to play around with. Hell, MS themselves released Windows 7 with XP-Mode, and that made getting a VM up as easy as you like.

    So proper-techy-people (one of whom I am not) - is there in fact a genuine use-case for this?

    1. 1Rafayal

      Re: Can someone explain the point?

      The same question has been asked do answered a number of times already.

      The point is that it makes it easier for developers working in a Microsoft environment to integrate with non Microsoft environments. You know, like not needing to leave Visual Studio at all.

      Again, as so many people have pointed out already, the concept isn't new. Microsoft had Windows services for unix for example. Also, there is the andLinux project which goes a lot further, but imo is very shakey.

      Also, the most popular OS running on Azure is Linux I believe, thus defining the use case as potentially being. Net developers who are working with a Linux on Azure from a Windows desktop.

  32. dermots
    Facepalm

    Amazing breakthrough features

    "...so your PC can inform you, for example, of low battery on your phone"

    Is that because you're more likely to have your PC with you than, you know, the phone itself?

  33. I am the liquor

    I wonder if this will turn out to be as successful and widely used as the POSIX subsystem in Windows NT.

  34. Striped Lungi

    No thanks MS.. I will not touch microcrap if it means it will cost me my life.

  35. JBowler

    Is this really the POSIX subsystem brought back from the dead?

    If it really is a subsystem, in the sense of the POSIX subsystem that was killed off at the end of the last millennium, it certainly isn't Linux (no kernel; Linux is the kernel) and it certainly doesn't map the Linux system interface to Windows; it would be implementing it in the NT Kernel, just as Windows is implemented by the NT kernel.

    It's easy to test (using NTFS of course):

    $ echo "test" >foo

    $ ln foo bar

    $ echo "more test" >>foo

    $ rm foo

    $ cat bar

    If the last command outputs "test\nmore test\n" then it is the good old POSIX subsystem. Oh, BTW, I was able to crash MS Office back in the late 90s by doing this:

    $ ln test1.doc test2.doc

    Then try to open test2.doc from Word. Word, or maybe Windows, had some deep, deep issues with hard links; they simply cannot be created from Windows but are fully supported by NTFS.

    John Bowler

    1. Bitcrazed

      Re: Is this really the POSIX subsystem brought back from the dead?

      it certainly isn't Linux (no kernel; Linux is the kernel)

      Which is precisely why we don't call it Winux - there is not Linux code in WSL.

      and it certainly doesn't map the Linux system interface to Windows; it would be implementing it in the NT Kernel, just as Windows is implemented by the NT kernel.

      Actually, yes, we DO implement the POSIX+Linux compatible syscalls layer running within a new PicoProcess infrastructure which calls into the syscalls implementation within the Windows kernel, calling into Windows kernel internals. You can read this to learn more!

      And, no, this is not the old POSIX/Interix/SFU subsystem - this is brand new code which allows Windows to run unmodified native Linux ELF64 binaries directly on Windows.

  36. W. Anderson

    woe is Microsoft!

    Microsoft has not clearly and intelligently explained what are the technical advantages of porting Ubuntu Linux into Windows VM infrastructure.

    Fortunately most seasoned and competent developers targeting the Linux application ecosystem are not going to resort to such down-graded convoluted processes as envisioned by Microsoft for few developers who still worship Microsoft Windows as holy grail.

    These developments of many Microsoft Windows applications being ported to Linux, or bringing Linux with applications into Windows is the most delusional policies and practices of Microsoft in it's history, as publicly commented by senior technology professionals and experts from 9 of 10 other largest technology corporations in USA and Internationally.

    A sad sight to see, especially for Microsoft dupes.

    1. 1Rafayal

      Re: woe is Microsoft!

      I was going to give a serious response to this, then I read it out loud.

      1. W. Anderson

        Re: woe is Microsoft!

        Commenter 1Rafayal indicates that my comment is not worth responding to. Is it notation that senior technology professionals and experts from many of the largest (and larger than Microsoft) technology companies are"publicly" bewildered at the confused Microsoft practices, with Ubuntu Linux integrated into Windows 10? The same Linux that Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer denigrated as communist, a farce, used by geeks and high school students - and that now has gone on to "control" Super Computing and Scientific Computing, most all Social Media - Facebook, Google, Twitter, Android, ChromeOS Mobile Computing, enterprise infrastructure and Data Center/Virtualization/Cloud Computing with Docker?

        When ever someone points out major technological short comings on Microsoft, or facts of the company's diminished position in Mobile, enterprise computing and Web technologies, the Microsoft diehards rush to give factual information thumbs down, but never give technically verified responses to the contrary.

        Such idealogical positions have become tiresome and stupid, much like the idiotic support of political candidates that have no capability of telling the truth, or supporting with facts the outrageous claims they constantly make.

        So much for reduced intelligence in the technology using public in USA

        1. 1Rafayal
          FAIL

          Re: woe is Microsoft!

          do you read things aloud before you click that submit button?

          This has nothing to do with "ideology" and everything to do with the fact you dont understand.

    2. Bitcrazed

      Re: woe is Microsoft!

      Microsoft has not clearly and intelligently explained what are the technical advantages of porting Ubuntu Linux into Windows VM infrastructure.

      Did you watch our overview video. Or read & watch our architectural overview?

      In both, we articulate that we're building this to make it easier for developers to build code for all platforms and all devices, on Windows. The WSL underlying Bash on Ubuntu on Windows allows unmodified Linux ELF64 binaries to run directly on Windows, within a new, secure, lightweight process PicoProcess infrastructure.

      The net result being that Linux tools and tech that would normally fail to run on Windows will run well (once we've ironed out some initial kinks) and enable you to build, test and run your *NIX tools & code locally.

  37. x 7

    at the moment the most useful windows / linux crossover possible would be to make a version of MS Office (including Outlook) which runs natively on Linux. Thats the one thing stopping wider use of Linux in business.

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