WSL is MSFT's attempt to "enclose" Linux entirely within Windows. This is MSFT's only option due to Linux's GPL v2 license. But, to be frank, WSL is the worst of both worlds - Linux, but constrained by the arbitrary limitations of Windows. Yes, MSFT trying to control the platform.
If you want to use Linux... why not just use Linux? There's literally nothing standing in your way. Using WSL is voluntarily making yourself a pawn for MSFT's proprietary interests.
If Microsoft really "loves" Linux, like its PR team shouts (at least in the US, but not elsewhere), why don't they make Linux better (rather than "how Linux integrates with proprietary Windows technologies")?
The answer is simple: they don't want people adopting Linux. They want them stuck on Windows.
Microsoft "loves" Linux the way a tapeworm loves a healthy gut.
Reminded me of this,
@lightweight Microsoft: "We love Linux so much, we contributed code* to it!"
* Code strictly to enable running a Linux client on Azure.
@kithop @kithop bingo. It's possible to write open source code that's of no use to anyone but you, if you're a proprietary software monopolist. It'd be good if the rest of world "got" this. And keep in mind, it's probably less than 0.01% of all MSFT source code. They're a proprietary software company that's losing the desktop, and is trying to exploit #FOSS to lock its former desktop users into its new proprietary "cloud" (which, in my experience, is vastly overpriced and under-featured).
@lightweight I still remember the Open Document Format vs.Open OfficeXML or whatever format for 'open standard' documents, and MS' contribution was just a lot of 'parse this exactly like MS Office does'.
I get it - people change, the company can (slowly) change and adapt, but we have a right to mistrust them after decades of outright abuse. It's going to be an uphill battle for them.
@kithop I don't think they *can* change. It's far far cheaper to pay a PR company - and even a few high-profile hires from the #FOSS community - to make it look like you've changed. But their incentives ensure they won't change - they're a proprietary monopolist, whose entire fortune is based on exploiting their users with proprietary lock-in. See https://davelane.nz/megacorps
@kithop their current priority is to transition people away from "the Desktop" altogether, to a new form of lockin, at the Cloud level (where only Azure will give them the proprietary tools on which they've got a complete, pathological dependence, like MS' Active Directory).
@lightweight Yup. Everyone's doing that, to some degree, with social media networks, instant messaging/voice networks. Google did it with their whole unified Suite thing, and MS wants in on that.
Instead of being a 'Windows' or 'Office' customer, they want you paying a monthly subscription for a whole suite of interlocked applications.
Everyone's fine with paying Netflix every month, or their favourite MMO, or Xbox Live/PSN+, or Adobe Cloud... why not get a slice of that pie? ;/
@kithop yup. Except, being Microsoft, they'll do it badly, and exploit their users in many nasty ways. I've already seen some of it.
I see where you are coming from and agree (mostly), there is a reason why for a limited group of people WSL makes sense.
These people work in large companies that use Microsoft based IT infrastructure. For better or worse they are tied to Windows due to regulatory and security concerns and they want to remain competitive in a world where like you rightly point out the best devs and the innovative work is being done on Linux architecture.
WSL presents a way forward for them.
@technikhil any business "tied" to Windows tech... has already consigned itself to being overtaken by smarter competitors that aren't haven't already made that strategic blunder. The freedom and flexibility of Linux constrained by the world's worst, most restrictive proprietary OS, is not a useful thing in the big picture.
@technikhil WSL is a solution to a problem no one should have unless they're trying to mitigate horrible past decisions.
The *right* solution, is for corporations with a Windows dependence to take the hit of abandoning Windows for *real* (unencumbered) Linux for their own future's sake.
Perhaps, but all the idealism in the world is not going to make a Fortune 50 public company take a "hit" that could run into double digit percentages of revenue and potentially put them out of business in the short term.
Should they have embraced Linux 20 years ago - perhaps... Hindsight is 20/20. The fact is though they made the choice and now they need a way out that is pragmatic. WSL gives them a potential. The smart ones will use it to get out completely, the others will remain trapped in the Windows honeytrap.
One thing is true though - WSL for those who use it with foresight provides a path to moving out of the Microsoft dependence.
Again, like I pointed out if the IT teams in those govt. so choose they can use WSL to build container based solutions that allow them to transition out of using Microsoft.
It is true the MS has a lot of control with govt. and large corporates. But I argue that WSL is actually a sign that Windows and Microsoft is realising that they will be pushed out entirely by the next generation of tech and they are using WSL to keep Windows relevant.
@technikhil then let them lose fair and square to more nimble competitors who are smarter, and have selected Linux as their platform. I can completely assure you that they will win in any fair fight.
I don't know where you get this idea that business and competition is fair :-)
I don't agree that Linux is necessarily the "fair" answer. To my mind Linux is not the "best" or "fairest" alternatives - one only need to go and ask Stallman his viewpoint on Linux to get alternative opinions.
@technikhil Heh, true (re Stallman's opinions) - but Linux is Free Software, and it's better for most purposes than any alternative I'm aware of (trust me, been doing this a LONG time - 26 years).
The lack of fairness in business is another problem that needs fixing.
If you have been in software that long you must remember that the Windows Subsystem for Linux used to exist in the 90s (Windows NT/2000 era) before they got rid of it. At that time it was there to give Windows sales reps a way to tell customers they could migrate their Unix solutions to Windows. They got rid of it as soon as they could because it represented a way to escape Windows back to Unix/Posix systems that they wanted to plug.
IMO WSL is a sign that MS has realised that the Cloud and Mobile is dominated by Linux systems. If they want to stay competitive they need to provide a way for devs to build for these systems or they are going to get replaced entirely.
MS has already realised that the paid OS business model is obsolete and that the next generation of tech. will be built on top of Posix systems. They are trying everything to make sure they are still participants in that world. Other than WSL they have -
1. Worked to bring Windows containers to the market
2. Upgraded their dev platform to run multi-platform so it runs well on Linux
3. Bought Github largest Open Source repo in the world and made a lot of their code open source
They are in the "embrace" phase of the game. They are trying to participate. If they try to "extend/extinguish" the problem they face is that they will have competitors that simply fork their code and compete with them.
Let's see how they play the game but I don't think they will be able to use that strategy again successfully.
To be clear - I am not saying that all innovation should be done on WSL. I see WSL simply as a way for those who are stuck with Windows to transition smoothly to Posix based solutions and play in the open source eco-system.
I think the capitalist, public company model is responsible for this kind of behavior. Look at every large tech company - GOOG, FB, AAPL, AMZN. Look at the type of behavior they are engaged in - they are all so "evil" - they have to be - that's how their incentives are aligned. Growth and profits are what they are measured by - above all else.
Unless those incentives are changed all the ranting in the world will do jack shit! And that's all I have to say on this subject.
@technikhil MSFT have opened at most 0.01% of their code. They're a proprietary software company, through and through.
@technikhil yes - they've pretended they're excited about it, but really, they've come kicking and screaming. When they have to capitulate on something due to strategic or executive failure (e.g. canning Silverlight in favour of HTML5) they pretend it was their idea from the start (like the time MS claimed it'd "invented" file and directory aliases, despite UNIX & Linux having had links (hard & symbolic) for 20+ years).
We should interpret this as MSFT losing ground and re-trenching.
To be clear at that time it was called Windows Services for Unix - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Services_for_UNIX
@technikhil I've tended to ignore Windows since I left Seattle, but I was vaguely aware of it. I certainly know of Cygwin, although I never had the need to use it.
@SimonCHulse look back a few posts :) - it's the Windows Subsystem for Linux, which lets Windows users taste the brilliance of Linux without leaving their familiar Windows cage. :)
@SimonCHulse It also protects them from experiencing the full freedom of an unencumbered platform, and ensures they're still under the exploitative protection of comrade Microsoft.
@lightweight ah. Mac just makes everything easier. All the positives of Linux with none of the drawbacks ;)
@SimonCHulse well, I think you're heroically glossing over a whole class of exceptions in making that assertion ;) - you're just as pwned as a Windows user, but your cage is somewhat nicer.
@lightweight Funnily enough, as I understand there's no Linux kernel in WSL. So it's more GNU/Windows.
@lightweight I don't really think this is the main goal (though might be a nice side benefit).
What Microsoft wants is for developers to use Windows desktops (what they sell) to develop for Linux servers (what they use). They don't want Linux desktops at all, but they had to give up about Linux for servers (and embedded and etc).
@eldaking yes - they want to control the platform people interact with (if they don't, they can't exploit them)... so I think we're on the same page there.
@lightweight I actually still use cygwin because the WSL just doesn't cut it. And it isn't for lack of trying.
The only advantage of WSL was that we could use our same Ubuntu provisioning scripts to provision a WSL system. That made it better than Vagrant, but not better than Cygwin. The hype is a load of hot air.
@mjc I have no need to use it. I've already been Windows-free for 26 years. There's zero to be gained by voluntarily subjecting myself to Microsoft subjugation. WSL is merely a tiny fleeting tantalizing glimpse for poor Windows users of the freedom and control I enjoy every single day.
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