back to article What do WLinux and Benedict Cumberbatch have in common? They're both fond of Pengwin

The team at Whitewater Foundry have waved the rebranding wand at WLinux. Behold – Pengwin. With Microsoft's ongoing embracing of all things Linux and open source, it's a little surprising that the moniker hadn't already been adopted as a codename for an upcoming version of Windows. After all, with Lean, Lite and Core all doing …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft dreams finally come true

    With a single click of a button in Redmond, Pengwin will be the most popular distribution of Linux with 1 billion installs. Champagne, music etc. Now after every other distro will be pushed at the curb, Secure Boot can (and will) finally be enforced as well as Windows Store. You will never need Linux again.

    It took a long time but Microsoft finally found the way to pry end-user digital freedoms from the hands of a few people who were still caring about.

    1. oldcoder

      Re: Microsoft dreams finally come true

      Actually, it is opening the chance that other Windows applications will get ported to Linux.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Microsoft dreams finally come true

        How on earth do you figure, oldcoder?

        If anything, the clusterfuck would mean quite the opposite ...

        1. Mage Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: Microsoft dreams finally come true

          Microsoft's Chris Larson described MS-DOS 2.0's Xenix compatibility as "the second most important feature"

      2. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Linux

        Re: Microsoft dreams finally come true

        The only thing devs need (other than the guts to just do it) to port windows applications to Linux is a decent toolkit and environment to do it with. OK I've been working on that for years...

        Seriously, though, if something implemented Win32 like Wine does, but as a static lib so you could ship it built into your application, then run it on any Linux system as a binary, a LOT of windows application vendors would be VERY very interested. And all it would take to shift the balance away from Win-10-nic would be a bunch of software vendors targeting Linux!

        The alternative would be a version of Wine that is 100% compatible with Win32 in general. Nevermind all of that UWP crap, let Win-10-nic keep that. I'm talking about Win32 API and the things that utilize it, the vast majority of windows applications out there that still run in W7 or earlier.

        (devices are less of a problem since the Linux kernel gets a lot of support for that, and most of the Linux drivers are chip-level or class drivers, so most things should 'just work' when you install, Broadcom notwithstanding, and they need to get their act together better, yeah)

        1. Someone Else Silver badge
          Angel

          Re: Microsoft dreams finally come true

          The only thing devs need (other than the guts to just do it) to port windows applications to Linux is a decent toolkit and environment to do it with.

          Qt, FTW!

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Microsoft dreams finally come true

            Actually, the only thing that the Devs need is a reason to do so. That reason is becoming smaller and smaller as time passes. I know many people who haven't used anything in the Redmond (or Cupertino!) universe in over a decade.

        2. bean520

          Re: Microsoft dreams finally come true

          > Seriously, though, if something implemented Win32 like Wine does, but as a static lib so you could ship it built into your application, then run it on any Linux system as a binary, a LOT of windows application vendors would be VERY very interested.

          Winelib exists for this precise purpose.

          hhttps://wiki.winehq.org/Winelib_User%27s_Guide

    2. Mage Silver badge
      Linux

      Re: Microsoft dreams finally come true

      It will in the end be as groundbreaking as Microsoft Services For Unix, the predecessor for Cygwin.

      Though before that there was Xenix. I remember installing it around 1987 to test a C++ preprocessor that outputted C.

      From Wikipedia

      <quote>Microsoft, which expected that Unix would be its operating system of the future when personal computers became powerful enough,[4] purchased a license for Version 7 Unix from AT&T in 1978,[5] and announced on August 25, 1980, that it would make it available for the 16-bit microcomputer market.[6] Because Microsoft was not able to license the "UNIX" name itself,[7] the company gave it an original name.

      Microsoft called Xenix "a universal operating environment". It did not sell Xenix directly to end users [I think they did eventually], but licensed the software to OEMs such as IBM, Intel, Management Systems Development, Tandy, Altos, SCO, and Siemens (SINIX) who then ported it to their own proprietary computer architectures. [I'm sceptical about how much of that is true, I was doing stuff on computers then for the day job]

      In 1981, Microsoft said the first version of Xenix was "very close to the original UNIX version 7 source" on the PDP-11, and later versions were to incorporate its own fixes and improvements.</quote>

      Really anyone that really wants Unix, BSD, Linux will do what they have always done. A real install. Most companies I know that are locked into Windows but developing on Linux are using VMs, on Windows 7. Many devs considering how to persuade upper management to let them have native Linux installs instead of Win10.

      This will not affect Linux usage. I found both MSFU and Cygwin totally frustrating. It was easier to install a Linux distro on a "old" box when it was replaced by a new windows box, later only laptops. Then sneaky dual boots when HDDs got bigger. Now have an XP VM on Linux, unused for two years.

      1. JohnnyS777

        Re: Microsoft dreams finally come true

        What Mage said!!!

        (Although I don't find cygwin totally frustrating: My use case was probably less intense than Mage's.)

        When I need a *nix environment, I run a *nix. NOT some silly limited environment shoehorned into a bloated OS. Especially when that bloated OS takes up most of the resources I need to work while being provided with constant "updates" to fix problems that have nothing to do with my work and often break the basic security and functionality of the system.

        What this "pengwin" proves is that users and developers WANT to run *nix, and M$ is terrified of losing market $hare once the world realizes they Don't Need Windows.

        Disclaimer: At work I had a choice between a Mac and "upgrading" to Win 10. I now run an OS X Mac with multiple Linux VMs. Sweet *nix everywhere!!!!

      2. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: Microsoft dreams finally come true

        "Microsoft Services For Unix, the predecessor for Cygwin"

        Interix/SFU/SUA - I honestly tried to make that work, from XP until it was abandoned, and all 3 naming iterations. It had X11R4 libs as I recall, an ancient version of gcc, and LOTS of trouble just trying to compile a newer gcc for it. I finally gave up, even after having made a web page. 'tar' was actually 'pax' and hard to use, even for uncompressed tarballs. Although I was able to use it for a few things (read: mangle settings and jump through hoops) I decided, after an unnecessarily long period of time, that the limited grep command line options and tarball incompatibilities and inability to even compile basic utilities and libraries just made it IMPOSSIBLE to use. And, as I recall, there was NO ssh nor scp available. And the only editor was 'vi'. yeah.

        And of course, I install Cygwin on any windows system I use.for anything more than "just one thing". Downside of Cygwin is it being less convenient than Interix/SFU/SUA for integrating POSIX commands with the windows shell, and running windows programs from within the POSIX shell.

        As for win-10-nic and it's subsystem for Linux, I admittedly have NOT tried it. I might have to if I create something that is intended to build everywhere with autotools, just to test it. not looking forward to THAT - I have a Win-10-nic VM set up for testing, but I haven't booted it in MONTHS... and don't want it to download/boot for 2 days just to "update" either.

        For 99% of things, Cygwin does it right (even if it fights with windows on things like permission flags). 'rsync' does my backups really well (accounting stuff most of the time). For those few things it's not so good at I can just hack it some other way.

        1. druck Silver badge

          Re: Microsoft dreams finally come true

          Cygwin is fine for running useful GNI utilities that have no Windows CMD equivalent, but it really struggles with anything multi-tasking.

          1. druck Silver badge

            Re: Microsoft dreams finally come true

            Multi-threaded rather.

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Microsoft dreams finally come true

      The name 'Pengwin' make me facepalm

      Calling Windows 'win' was bad enough, implications obvious. I think the marketeers need to stop naming things with terms that sound like someone's making fun of them.

      Well, there's this one 'cat video' (sorta) by a guy from Australia that wanted to stop cats from pissing in his back yard. He tried building a "Cat-a-pult" (complete with stuffed animal to demonstrate the concept) but it was a failure, perfect for comedy. And now 'Pengwin' which sounds just like someone is making fun of it, except it's REAL.

  2. jake Silver badge

    I've asked this before, and I'll ask it again ...

    ... Who is this kind of thing aimed at? Why would I want all the headaches that Redmond brings to the table added to a Linux distribution? Shirley running your distro of choice on bare iron is cheaper/easier/faster/cleaner with far, far fewer security and update problems?

    1. eldel

      Re: I've asked this before, and I'll ask it again ...

      People who (like myself) are stuck with a corporate windows box and want something better than Cygwin. A small minority probably but a thankful one. Cygwin is getting awfully old in the tooth.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: I've asked this before, and I'll ask it again ...

        If your job actually requires you to use Linux, why do you not have a dedicated Linux box on your desk? Shirley it would be easier to admin separate Windows and Linux boxen, without having to jump through the hoops that a merged clusterfuck is bound to bestow on the unsuspecting end user?

        1. eldel

          Re: I've asked this before, and I'll ask it again ...

          I have a number of dedicated Linux VMs at my disposal for dev work. My corporate laptop is windows. I choose to have Unix utilities on there because it makes my life easier. Cygwin in times past. Now Ubuntu. My choice. I'm sorry that it seems to offend you.

        2. Joe W

          Re: I've asked this before, and I'll ask it again ...

          Yeah, right. And in all companies you do get offered your specific wish of a laptop /desktop/raspberry pi rather than a corporate standard machine /OS combo, snowflakes that we all are.

          I, at least, don't. But then they are also slow in letting us use wsl, so not much progress yet. At least I can get Cygwin.

          1. bombastic bob Silver badge
            Devil

            Re: I've asked this before, and I'll ask it again ...

            If you bring your own device in and let the IT guys manage it, how about THAT? And if they don't like you doing that, DOLLARIZE it - "You save $$$ per month letting me do this". I think every one of us has some old dust-collecting box with "acceptable hardware for Linux" on it.

            And once you've PROVED how productive you can be with THAT, you can sell the idea of getting a BETTER one...

            1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

              Re: I've asked this before, and I'll ask it again ...

              That's exactly how I got FreeBSD into our corner of ICL, and through that, HMG Customs and Exercise.. For a good few years, that daemon logo was bouncing around the screen at the customs secure location on the essex coast...

      2. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: I've asked this before, and I'll ask it again ...

        Cygwin 'old in the tooth'? You make that sound like it's a BAD thing... [just fix the bugs, NO need for feature creep]

        1. eldel

          Re: I've asked this before, and I'll ask it again ...

          You have a point. Maybe it's just that I'm familiar with the Debian (and derivatives - all my home machines run Mint) 'style' and that makes it easier. The presence of 'apt' makes getting extra functionality simpler. That's about the only concrete advantage that comes to mind. As I said above it's just my choice - not a definitive statement of superiority.

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: I've asked this before, and I'll ask it again ...

      "Shirley running your distro of choice on bare iron is cheaper/easier/faster/cleaner with far, far fewer security and update problems?"

      Not only are there no licensing headaches, the *kinds* of hardware that can run Linux in a manner that has acceptable performance ('droid development notwithstanding, THAT porcine environment eats RAM and hard drive space and bandwidth worse than ANYTHING Micro-shaft, but I digress...), those kinds of systems can have >10 year old technology and still give you decent performance for Linux.

      At least, that's how _I_ see it. For lots of builds you'll want faster/more cores but for general usability, I think older machines running Linux *EASILY* outperform "modern" machines with "modern" windows. [my fastest windows machine is a 3Ghz dual core; my slowest Linux machine is a 1Ghz Toshiba laptop from 2003. So yeah]

      At a used-to-company everybody had a windows machine. Then us devs also had 1 or 2 extra non-windows machines. In part this started because I brought my FreeBSD laptop in, and was able to use it for development work to do things that the windows computer couldn't do. At that time Frys had inexpensive Linspire boxen available for under $200, so the company purchased several of them, and us devs then put "whatever OS" on them, typically Fedora, Debian, or FreeBSD, as "build machines". This rendered the windows machine virtually unused except for e-mail, certain documents, and occasional tests.

    3. amusedscientist
      Linux

      Re: I've asked this before, and I'll ask it again ...

      Who's Shirley, and how does she run my distro?

  3. PerlyKing
    Coat

    Does this mean it's finally...

    ... the year of Linux on the desktop?

    Thank you, thank you *ow*

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Linux

      Re: Does this mean it's finally...

      If _I_ have anything to do with it, YES. And that's all I can comment at the moment...

  4. Alister Silver badge
    Pint

    "Shoving the ow into Windows"

    I Larfed

    1. Notas Badoff

      Re: "Shoving the ow into Windows"

      Shurly it should've read 'ows'. Going on 25+ years for me. You really think I've suffered only one 'ow'?

  5. ashdav

    Pen gwyn in Welsh literally means top of the white.

    So how the heck did the Welsh come up with that for a bird from Antarctica.

    I've lived in Wales for 50yrs and my partner and daughter are fluent (I consulted them on this) before any pedants get upperty

    1. jake Silver badge

      As was common back then ...

      ... the penguin was named after a familiar critter from back home. In this case penguin is an obsolete English name for the Great Auk, Pinguinus impennis, from the Latin pinguis meaning 'plump', and the lack of flight feathers, or pennae.

      The Welsh story I heard as a schoolboy in Yorkshire is that loosely translated, Peng Wyn would actually mean "White Head", and referred to the bird's winter plumage. Sadly, it's a myth.

      1. Martin an gof Silver badge

        Re: As was common back then ...

        "pen" can be translated as top, end (of) or head in a similar manner to the English word "head", used for both end and head - "ow my head hurts" or "at the head of the valley."

        "gwyn" is usually white, but can also mean pure. Due to the peculiar Welsh grammar of mutations (Wikipedia has some reasonable articles) the leading "g" can sometimes be dropped, depending on context, but in this particular case it wouldn't be, and as far as I'm aware there's no such word as "peng", so "pen gwyn" would be the correct breakdown.

        Noting that in Welsh, the word "pen" sounds exactly as an English English speaker would say it and the word "gwyn" sounds like "g-win" said by an English English speaker (but "gwin" means something else altogether in Welsh), then if I've read the article correctly, the Japanese say it rather as we would over 'ere. I presume those Anglophones who say "pin" live elsewhere on the planet.

        But as for the urban legend, I doubt it, even if the OED seems to agree!

        Speaking as someone educated solely through the medium of Welsh up to A-level (still managed only a "D" at O-level Welsh Lang and Welsh Lit) and currently working with Welsh-speakers every day, though we don't use it as much at home as perhaps we could.

        M.

        1. Mage Silver badge

          Re: "gwyn" is usually white

          As in Guinevere, which might mean "White Enchantress"?

          I call them Pen-gwins. But I certainly don't have an English accent. The nearest sea is the Eastern Atlantic.

      2. JudeKay (Written by Reg staff)

        Re: As was common back then ...

        You may be right, Jake.

        It's worth noting that Sir Francis Drake's admiral, Francis Fletcher, jotted into his log of Drake's voyage on the Golden Hind on 20 August, 1577, as he sailed through the Magellan Strait:

        "In these Islands we found great reliefe and plenty of good victualls, for infinite were the number of fowle, which the Welsh men named Pengwin … [The birds] breed and lodge at land, and in the day tyme goe downe to the sea to feed, being soe fatt that they can but goe, and their skins cannot be taken from their bodyes without tearing off the flesh, because of their exceeding fatnes."

        On the other hand, as you've remarked, the penguin may have derived its name (or vice versa) from the now extinct great auk, last sighted in 1852, also called "penguin" by early northern explorers. The auk's scientific name, as you point out, is Pinguinus impennis (aka fatty no-flight-feathers).

        That said, the great auk was given its name by Carl Linnaeus himself in 1758... centuries after Fletcher wrote his notes. So on the matter of whether both groups of species – auks and penguins (the latter of which stretch across six separate genera, never mind the species) – were named for the Latin word for fatso or Welsh for whitehead, IMHO the real question is which came first... Was Linnaeus being playful about the Welsh name when he sought to give a term for the great auk – that same great auk that was already called pengwin by other, contemporaneous sailors (at least according to Dutch explorer Willem/Guillame Lodewycksz in 1598, writing in Premier livre de l'histoire de le navigation aux Indes Orientales, par les Hollandois) – or were the sailors quoted in the Golden Hind using plain old Latin and/or Early Modern English/Welsh slang derived from the Romance and Latinate sources that are spattered throughout the English and Welsh languages?

        Whichever way it went, people were calling the bird by that name before it was given its scientific classification.

        If you're right of course, the better pronunciation is ping-gwin. Either way, it's interesting stuff.

        1. JudeKay (Written by Reg staff)

          Re: Re: As was common back then ...

          FWIW, I see gwyn listed in Bing and Google's Welsh dictionaries as "fat" as well as "white" - but since it's not listed in the better Welsh dictionaries, such as the one maintained and updated at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, I don't see that as lexical evidence of a Latin-inspired pinguis remnant in 16th century Welsh. Welsh speakers, if you know better, and you think Google/Bing inclusion wasn't a data burp emitted by Google's RNN, please chime in!

          1. Martin an gof Silver badge

            Re: As was common back then ...

            Better late than never ;-)

            Personally I've never, ever heard "gwyn" used to mean "fat", unless perhaps it's in a phrase such as "the white of the meat", which could refer to fat on a joint I suppose. The usual word for "fat" as in "he's fat" is "tew" ("tehoo" - said as one syllable), hence the Welsh for hamster is "bochdew", i.e. "fat cheeks".

            The usual word for fat, meaning the fat on meat, is "braster" (or brasder), "saim" ("saheem" - one syllable again) is used for "grease". Sorry about my transliterations; it's difficult!

            There may well be some very local dialect which has different words, but this is what I heard in school (South East Wales) and what I hear at work (South West Wales).

            M.

    2. Version 1.0 Silver badge
      Happy

      "So how the heck did the Welsh come up with that for a bird from Antarctica." - there were Welsh communities in southern Argentina in the mid 1800's and Welsh seamen on ships around the world for much longer - and Welsh is a very old (and beautiful) language.

      1. Mage Silver badge
        Linux

        Re: Welsh is a very old (and beautiful) language

        Great Auks were in Northern waters, I think last in the Baltic and only became extinct in 19th C. A little penguin like and also flightless. They had formerly been on Irish and Welsh coasts. It's believable the penguin is named after them. I think most surviving members of the Auk family survive because they can still fly?

  6. NoneSuch
    Devil

    Anyone who loves Linux should NEVER use this abomination.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Since it is the Gnu tools running on the NT kernel it isn't really Linux - if anything it's GNU/Windows

      1. bazza Silver badge

        Since it is the Gnu tools running on the NT kernel it isn't really Linux - if anything it's GNU/Windows

        Kinda goes to show that it’s not really the Linux kernel itself that people depend on, it’s the Linux system call interface specification that actually matters. Because that’s what all their favourite tools (from glibc upwards) target.

        MS aren’t the first to do this of course. Solaris, FreeBSD, QNX have all been there before. MS have simply made it very easy...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        However, it is /binary compatible/ with Linux. You can take your same Linux executables and run them.

        This is a shift from the old unix idea of cross-platform programs -- that you could recompile them for any compatible platform -- and demonstrates a shift in the kind of people who run Linux: you are now in the eternal September of unix.

        1. jake Silver badge

          "you are now in the eternal September of unix."

          Don't be silly. Not even Apple could do that. Gotta give 'em props for trying, though.

    2. oiseau Silver badge
      WTF?

      Use?

      Use it?

      I'll make sure to steer clear of anything that has it inside and keep it far away from my Linux box.

      First we got the registry-class systemd virus and now this ...

      I tell you, this crap will slowly but steadily creep in and rot the Linux whole eco-system from the inside.

      O.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Use?

        There's always FreeBSD...

      2. druck Silver badge

        Re: Use?

        I actually see less creep and rot in WSL than Poettering's abominations. Only time will tell which does more damage to Linux.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Use?

          So? Who in their right mind uses PotHead's bullshit?

          without-systemd.org

  7. KSM-AZ
    WTF?

    Seamless?

    The author's and my definition of 'Seamless' are somewhat divergent. I found it to be a curiosity, interesting, and not very practical. It worked like awful in many respects. I think I'll keep my kubuntu desktop a bit longer. :0

  8. Joe Gurman

    Anglophones....

    ....on the west side of the Atlantic say "peng-win."

    1. Andy Mac

      Re: Anglophones....

      More importantly, how did Morgan Freeman say it?

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Linux

      Re: Anglophones....

      or peng-gwin

  9. GrapeBunch Bronze badge

    The Henge of Fate

    Hengian A state of mind and the accompanying actions when attempting retrospectively to wall a garden.

    For example, "Microsoft provides Hengian support for *nix."

    The neologism is inspired not by stone, but by this very thread, as I attempted to imagine a penge-win.

    1. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge
      Linux

      Re: The Henge of Fate

      Or more likely the Penge Bungalow Murders :)

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

  10. SNAFUology
    Paris Hilton

    ho hum

    Unless you are using Linux to play Linux games on Windows you may as well run Linux - just pick a distro that does not trash your hardware.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: ho hum

      That would be any distro, right?

      Unless you can name a distro that will trash my hardware, of course.

  11. jelabarre59 Silver badge

    PenPen

    Instead of calling it "Pengwin", how about "PenPen"? https://evangelion.fandom.com/wiki/Pen_Pen?file=Pen_Pen.png

    (was it intentional that he's sitting the same way as Tux)?

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