back to article Could it be? Really? The Year of Linux on the Desktop is almost here, and it's... Windows-shaped?

Microsoft's Build 2020 appears to mark the long-awaited Year Of Linux on the Desktop thanks to incoming Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) improvements, including GUI support. WSL2 was quite the star of 2019's Build event and brought with it a tweaked Linux kernel, full system compatibility, and considerably snappier file …

  1. tekHedd

    If only!

    Since the only reason to run Windows is because you have an app that only runs on Windows, I'm not sure what the point is.

    But then it's already the year of Linux On The Desktop[TM]. Since systemd has streamlined the Linux experience across systems and made all notebooks and apps work seamlessly together in perfect harmony, Linux has... OK I can't continue with a straight face, Devuan-devotee here to the core.

    1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

      Re: If only!

      Since the only reason to run Windows is because you have an app that only runs on Windows, I'm not sure what the point is.

      Except that's not true. Many are Windows developers because customers are Windows users, because Windows has the overwhelming share of their market. It therefore makes sense for them to be using Windows for development and it is convenient to do their Linux porting within Windows.

      Of course, developers have been able to do that for years by spinning up a Linux VM, but WSL is - and more so with GUI support out of the box - so much easier.

      WSL doesn't prevent developers using Linux to develop Linux apps if they want but it offers a very useful option for those who prefer to use a single workstation for cross-platform development.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Jason Bloomberg - Re: If only!

        I don't follow you!

        Windows developers working for Windows users because Windows has the overwhelming share of the market. What does Linux have to do with it ? What Linux porting are we talking here ?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @Jason Bloomberg - If only!

          "Windows has the overwhelming share of the desktop market."

          FTFY. Linux dominates almost everything else.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            @AC - Re: @Jason Bloomberg - If only!

            And why would Microsoft help Linux server dominance ? What's the purpose of WSL in this context ?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @AC - @Jason Bloomberg - If only!

              Because Satya doesn't care about Windows and would prefer it gone, it's a drain on resources. Right now it's used as a means to an end, Azure, get people using it. Things that are developed for 'the cloud' do not use Windows, they use Linux containers. Most of Azure workloads are Linux, same with other providers.

              Microsofts current cashcow is Azure, large profit margins, with growth potential. Windows has neither of these. And for people to develop effectively for azure they need to use Linux.

              1. P. Lee

                Re: @AC - @Jason Bloomberg - If only!

                "Ya don't know whatcha got 'til its gone."

                Is windows really a net drain on resources? I find that hard to believe. It may not be a growth area but I find it difficult to believe it isn't a strategic asset which is contributing quite a lot directly to the bottom line.

                Web based desktop apps are still rubbish.

                Having said that, I'd expect that if WSL becomes popular, its success could be tamped down by converting it to a cost option. Otherwise, Windows may go they way of OS/2 with its NT compatibility system.

                The traditional MS way around this is to embrace... then extend. Expose Windows services to WSL creating Linux apps which are incompatible with Linux systems.

                If I was a manager, I'd have a difficult time recommending WSL as a strategically important product.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @Jason Bloomberg - If only!

            Technically the most used OS on desktops is Minix, as it’s what is running inside of the Intel CPU’s ME!

            Granted that’s an OS on a desktop and not a desktop OS! :)

      2. jake Silver badge

        Re: If only!

        "WSL doesn't prevent developers using Linux to develop Linux apps if they want"

        Well, THAT's mighty kind of our overlords in Redmond! How magnanimous of them. Makes me want to rush right out and purchase their take on a system that I've already been using for decades for free.

      3. NoneSuch Silver badge

        Re: If only!

        Ahhh, the Linux kernel with telemetry at no extra charge. Whatta bargain.

        1. alain williams Silver badge

          Re: If only!

          You beat me to it with that comment.

          If you want to run MS Windows & Linux on the same machine (plenty of reasons why you might) the only safe way is to run MS Windows under Linux - that way the Linux part remains safe from snooping.

          I wonder who might be sponsoring Microsoft to do this work ? How big is the NSA budget ?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: If only!

            Even that's not certain. What if Windows contains a hidden hypervisor exploit?

            1. Teiwaz

              Re: If only!

              Windows on Linux

              Is the only sane option.

              Even discounting the greedy nosey snooping, it's near impossible to turn off, the erosion of control on all versions but the corporate, and all it's other myriad and numerous flaws.

              Linux is an OS that at least doesn't want to reboot every time you sit down to do something on it.

              Linux on top of Windows is like trying to balance the pyramids on a bouncy castle.

              1. Fred Goldstein

                Re: If only!

                I turned off the telemetry service in my Windows desktop system. To be sure, I stick to the Pro version, which gives more control than the lame Home version. But a lot of hard-core Linux lovers seem to confuse Windows 7 and 10 with, say, Windows ME or Vista, which were unstable messes. The Windows NT kernel is not bad, even if overloaded with things that should have been in userland (also true of Linux).

                1. P. Lee

                  Re: If only!

                  My argument with Windows these days is not stability - those days are gone.

                  1. I find dealing with licensing a royal pain.

                  2. I don't trust big tech to act in my interests - I've seen how Apple and Google use and abuse their app store systems and I see how MS would love to do the same. If MS were willing to kick Gab from Azure, and Apple/Google kick Gab apps from the app/play stores I have no desire to support them. I've seen how Google have acted in youtube and GoogeDrive with censorship. I have seen how the big tech hosting providers act in cartel form. I'm happier running my own stuff, even if its a bit harder to do.

                  3. I like processing my own data. I think maintaining those skills is important.

                  All the vendors are trying to move to the cloud, but these are not stable platforms. If have no confidence that their actions in the Cloud would not be extended to the desktop environment.

                  4. I also simply do not value what MS has to offer. I see no reason to pay and pay and pay for an OS. I don't need their new features or their GUI. It is a simple commercial decision - I don't feel the need to rent what they offer.

              2. Glen 1

                Re: If only!

                "reboot every time"

                Only if you use it once a month or less, or don't let it do its thing to finish updating.

                If it's not your daily driver, a patch tuesday may have elapsed since the last use. Some of those updates might take a conservative approach to the need for a restart ( updates).

                If its been *months*, a feature update may have been distributed.

                TBF, it's much better in the last few years at the update-in-the-background thing than when w10 launched, but if it never gets a chance to update, what do you expect?

                I'm not some MS fanboy, but a lot of the foamed-mouth negging seems to be by people who haven't touched a windows machine in the last 4 years. *shrug* Whining about stuff that has been mostly fixed just makes you look ignorant. Doubly so for the "Micro$haft" brigade.

          2. Version 1.0 Silver badge

            Re: If only!

            I see malware arriving everyday dressed as NewPurchaseOrder.txt.uue etc, so I expect life is just going to get more interesting.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: If only!

        "but WSL is - and more so with GUI support out of the box - so much easier."

        I'd love to see how the Linux subsystem supports unix specific system functionality such as fork() which the windows kernel simply doesn't and can't support.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: If only!

          Actually, that’s wrong. The NT kernel can obviously do fork() as the old Interix/WSU/SUA subsystem and the older POSIX subsystem could do it fine. WSL is also a subsystem.

          The Win32 subsystem doesn’t have fork() support. Cygwin runs under the Win32 subsystem, which is why it inherits the fork() issues.

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

      5. Libertarian Voice

        Re: If only!

        Our house only develops in 2 flavours now, web based and ncurses; everything stays on the server and you can use whatever you like to access it.

        In reality MS is the bastard child and for business it is getting worse with ever release. I would not even class it as an operating system any more, it is a data acquisition node that happens to run applications.

        The future being terminal service... oops sorry "Cloud based computing" puts MS in a position where sooner or later it is just going to have to accept that it needs to become a desktop that runs on linux in the same manner as KDE; Gnome; et al. in order to evolve and remain relevant.

    2. twellys

      Re: If only!

      +1 I'm also a Devuan devotee too!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: If only!

        As Devuan devotees, this should be right up your street.

        It superficially gives you an experience you are looking for, while actually being completely dependent on an ecosystem to which you loudly object.

        Sound familiar?

    3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: If only!

      >Since the only reason to run Windows is because you have an app that only runs on Windows, I'm not sure what the point is.

      Corporate masters require Outlook or some home made VB app for booking vacation or they only allow corporate supported windows machines on their lan - saves me having to have a separate laptop for 'office stuff'

      1. getHandle

        Re: If only!

        If the price of running Linux is outlook Web Access and a couple of rdesktop sessions then so be it! God OWA is primitive though...

      2. Mage Silver badge

        Re: Corporate masters require Outlook or VB app

        Run Outlook on a Windows VM on Linux. More old VB6 stuff works on WINE 32 on 64 bit Linux than on 64 bit Win7 or Win10. Maybe Outlook of Office 2003 or Office 2007 works under WINE 32, not tried.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Corporate masters require Outlook or VB app

          Unfortunately the sum of corporate IT of America have ways of detecting if you are running windows on a bitlocked drive, with secure boot and all the layers of corporate security, remote wipe, anti-virus etc

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            @Yet Another AC - Re: Corporate masters require Outlook or VB app

            So why do you run it if it's against the corporate security policies ? If they are against Linux, what makes you think they will not disable WSL via GPOs ?

            1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

              Re: @Yet Another AC - Corporate masters require Outlook or VB app

              Corporate security says that only corporate Windows machines (with bitlocker, secure boot, remote wipe etc) but enabling WSL on those machines is OK because it's just another Microsoft app

              Remember logic and corporate security don't always go together. To be fair they are trying to protect the network against idiot salesdroids/managers that would install anything they see advertised in a inflight magazine

        2. don't you hate it when you lose your account

          Re: Corporate masters require Outlook or VB app

          2010 runs OK, just whack autosave up just in case. Although I only occasionally use it for problem files or extraction of mail from outlook files. And if I were to run the 2 OS''s together Windows would be the subsystem, with all shields up to full.

    4. oiseau

      Re: If only!

      Devuan-devotee here to the core.

      Indeed ...



    5. big_D Silver badge

      Re: If only!

      I tried switching to Linux on my desktop last month, but it failed abysmally.

      It didn't like the combination of my Ryzen 7 + nVidia graphic card, it wouldn't always wake up cleanly, would randomly hang. Likewise, the Bluetooth keyboard and mouse would regularly hang, so I couldn't go anything. It is a real shame, I use Linux on my Pis and my old laptop and wanted to go 100% Linux, but the hardware compatibility just wasn't there, for me.

      Luckily, I imaged Windows before I installed Linux, so going back was fairly painless. I'll stick to CentOS and SUSE in Hyper-V VMs and WSL on my Windows desktop for now.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: If only!

        Hardware is the Achilles heel for sure.

        When I built my latest desktop (Ryzen 7 + Nvidia like yours) I decided I wasn't going to pay £90 for a Windows licence, and went linux only. It's mostly fine.

        Except, like you, it doesn't always wake up cleanly, and randomly hangs, needing a hard reboot that is beyond me to investigate. The Wifi USB stick (which was rock-solid on an old BSD system for crying out loud!) drops in and out all the time, and struggles to get a decent data rate. The scanner, which supposedly works just fine under linux if you check the compatibility lists beforehand, simply doesn't work.

        I've stuck with it, as I'm a cheapskate. I don't miss any software, as it's a home PC. Firefox, LibreOffice, GIMP and so on all work great (and Steam means I can play some games on it just fine). But if the hardware doesn't work, and you have an alternative, then noone can blame you for using that instead.

        1. Inkey

          Re: If only!

          What distro are you using?... Some have better driver support than others....

          Most Ubuntu clones have proprietary drivers.. although you both seem to have an edge case scenario amd and nvidia cards side by side...

          The latest amd drivers work well from what I've read so check the webs

          The recent cups update did put a whole bunch of printers (hp) down as unsupported.. Very cheeky

          as other printers in the same vintage are still supported. It's a bit of a faff getting it to work the way it should but is doable...

          Angain driver support is a vendor issue

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: If only!

            AC again: I'm using Mint - it just works (for a given value of works - see above!) and it's fine. No problems with the window manager, to the extent I'm not even 100% sure which one it is.

            I was unclear about the video card - it's Nvidia (the official binary - I'm not a masochist), and, unless it's causing some of the crashes, works with no trouble. I went with Nvidia, as I couldn't get a straight answer about AMD cards. Everywhere I looked was a confusing babble of combinations of different drivers. I don't care about getting the highest possible frame-rate, or points of principle, all I cared about was: does it work out of the box? I'm still not sure of the answer!

            I'd love for driver support to be a vendor issue. But the vendors don't supply. So you either take the risk, and fall down like me, or switch to an OS with working drivers for your kit. As I found with the scanner and wifi stick, you can't even rely on lists of "supported" kit.

            1. big_D Silver badge

              Re: If only!

              I agree. Another problem I had was when opening a window, all video stopped.

              If I was playing a video in Firefox and opened a new window, the whole thing paused for 5 seconds! This is 2020, this is a Ryzen 7 with 8 cores & 16 threads, 32GB RAM, LVM over 3 SSDs and an nVidia GTX 1050ti graphics card, how the frack is that being so overloaded opening a window that it freezes video for 5 seconds?

              1. bombastic bob Silver badge

                Re: If only!

                It's probably some kind of locked resource being owned while libraries and other stuff all load up in the new window (not Firefox?). It probably related to FF's javascript engine. It's where I'd look first.

                3rd party libs are also likely to blame for this, or just simply javascript (in general). It's also one reason why I don't play video in browsers, other than I don't like the stuttering due to bandwidth issues. 'youtube-dl' is your friend.

                One of the things I've discovered about Linux applications (in general) and the HEAVY dependency on 3rd party shared libs, is that it takes TIME to load those shared libs whenever you load an application. I have been working on an X11 toolkit for years, when I have spare time between gigs [and am not SO ANGRY AT THE REASON WHY I AM NOT WORKING THAT I CAN BARELY THINK... like *NOW*]. The one thing I've discovered is just HOW much time a typical Linux application spends loading up all of those things. GTK applications with Bonobo and Cairo and all of those *kinds* of things are the 'bloatiest' and seem to take FOREVER to load all of that up. Firefox is NO exception.

                I actually added a splash screen and a 1/2 second delay, to initialize the clipboard ahead of time instead of in parallel with startup, AND not "just pop up super fast" as it had initially. it was a shock typing the command and then *poof* it was THERE... it actually was a bit un-nerving seeing it run TOO fast!

                But it was also clear what "everything else" is doing WRONG. And it's wrapped around the use of ALL of those SHARED LIBS, and how SLOWLY they all load up!

                (so it's not Linux, it's most likely the applications that run on it, and the libs they use, that cause this problem)

      2. Lunatic Looking For Asylum

        Re: If only!

        What flavour did you try ?

        I've found Mint to pretty good with drivers and usability etc.

        1. big_D Silver badge

          Re: If only!

          Mint and openSUSE Tumbleweed.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: If only!

        That's very surprising to me, big_D. More details are needed: Which distro did you use? Which model CPU/GPU do you have? And which keyboard and mouse were you having problems with?

        I also use Ryzen CPUs and both AMD and nVidia GPUs without any problems, regardless of whether the open source or proprietary drivers are selected. I don't use Bluetooth much, though it always worked whenever I needed it. My Logitech wireless keyboard and mouse worked perfectly well on Linux too.

        I always found Linux hardware support to be far superior when compared to Windows. It all tends to 'just work' out of the box on Linux. It seems much easier than on Windows where you have to either go hunting around for driver discs or searching the internet, which might be alright for newer devices but can be a nightmare for older ones.

        1. big_D Silver badge

          Re: If only!

          Ryzen 1700, 32GB RAM, 3 x 500GB SSDs using LVM, 2TB spinning rust, nVidia GTX1050ti, Dell 34" UW monitor, Amazon Bluetooth dongle, Microsoft Surface Ergonomic keyboard and Logitech MX Master 2 BT mouse. Running openSUSE with KDE.

          The first problem was that Bluetooth wouldn't start automatically at boot time or after waking from sleep. That took some deep-fiddling in /etc, but it did work. Not a real problem, after some research.

          Then Bluetooth would regularly pause mid-sentence. I never found a cure for that problem.

          I had to install the proprietary nVidia drivers to get the PC to wake from sleep at all. It would just start back up, but the screen remained black, I had to then SSH in from another device and force a reboot. With the nVidia driver, it would wake up reliably 9 from 10 attempt, but the failed attempt needed a hard reset.

          The display was very slow and if I was playing YouTube in a Firefox tab, opening LibreOffice, a game of Aisleriot (patience), Mahjong (or after winning, starting a new game or closing the app), the video / all window activity was paused for several seconds, whilst the window opened / closed / changed. Not what you expect from an 8 core / 16 thread processor with 32GB RAM and a gaming video card.

      4. bombastic bob Silver badge

        Re: If only!

        I'm using Ryzen+nVidia (though my CPU is AMD Ryzen 5 2600 6 core), built it just under a year ago. I'm running FreeBSD though. I don't expect Linux would give me any trouble.

        Most likely in your case you simply did NOT install the correct kernel driver for your nVidia adaptor. That much is likely to give you some grief, yeah.

        Hint: don't boot into a GUI. Boot into a console. THEN figure out how to get the GUI to work.

        1. big_D Silver badge

          Re: If only!

          I wasn't expecting any problems either, which is why I was really annoyed. I've been using Linux for nearly 2 decades and this is only the second time I've had real problems getting Linux to run.

          My old laptop (2004 Acer) had a rare ATi Radeon X800m chipset, it took 18 months before a Linux driver appeared for it - it couldn't even install in VESA mode on that thing!

          This time, I was using the open source drivers for the GTX card, but that didn't work well with waking from sleep, so I added the official nVidia drivers for the card. The sleep worked fairly reliably (needed a hard reset 1 in 10 wake-ups), but still unacceptable. But the long pauses every time I opened a window finally drove me back to Windows on the PC. :-(

    6. Lunatic Looking For Asylum

      Re: If only!

      Have beer for Devuan :-)

    7. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: If only!

      "the only reason to run Windows is because you have an app that only runs on Windows"

      Following NT4 and Win '98, this has been so, at least from MY perspective... [though i did not mind 2k and XP, later versions of windows have given us NO real reasons to WANT it other than to run the things we want to run]

      History: Back in the early 90's, IBM and Micros~1 came up with a 3D Skeuomorphic look for a computer desktop for OS/2 PM 1.2 . Unfortunately, it only worked on a PS/2. *KNOWING* that this was the future of computing, Micros~1 updated Windows 3.0 to include the Win386 stuff as well as this 3D skeuomorphic look, all in a SINGLE package. This *MADE* *THEM*. Literally. People WANTED the Solitaire game, if nothing else.

      Now we're STUCK with "take it or I shove it into your body via an unpleasant method without lubrication" Win-10-nic, with a new 'lipstick on the boar' feature - it will RUN Linux GUI APPLICATIONS!

      Still, I welcome that last feature, and hope Redmond doesn't realize what they're doing: They're making it possible for DEVELOPERS TO TARGET LINUX and STILL have their creation be "runnable" on Windows!

      What I'd REALLY like to see, and would PAY MONEY for: a subsystem for Linux that lets Windows (primarily Win32) application binaries run like a "blessed version" of Wine, with both 32-bit AND 64-bit simultaneously supported in that they can work together (Last I checked Wine only supports one or the other).

      (That is what I was hoping this article was about, but I knew it would be the other way 'round)

      And, for developers, a LIBRARY that would LET Win32 APPLICATIONS RUN NATIVELY for X11 would be even BETTER! Then "compile for Linux" would be a LOT easier, and no more excuses!

    8. Alan Bourke

      Ah, Git ...

      Except that it isn't the only reason to run Windows, blinkered fanboy.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Ah, Git ...

        "Except that it isn't the only reason to run Windows"

        So tell us all, Alan Bourke, why else would you run Windows, if you had no intention of running an(y) application(s)? Inquiring minds and all that ... Are you a manager whose computer only runs the screensaver? Because even that is an application ...

        "blinkered fanboy."


  2. Palpy

    Is there a fly on the Windows?

    The Microsoft user-monitoring capabilities of Windows is thus expanded to suck in those edge cases who need Linux-on-Windows (for dev work mostly, I assume, since the Windows ecosystem encompasses more user-land applications than Linux).

    Don't mean to be overly paranoid, but MS really is out to get you. Er, your data, anyway.

    Main boxes are Linux (Manjaro) and Mac here. Old laptops, various.

    1. oiseau

      Re: Is there a fly on the Windows?

      ... user-monitoring capabilities of Windows is thus expanded ...

      ... Don't mean to be overly paranoid, but ...

      You are not overly paranoid.

      Your fears are fully justified.

      MS is out to get both you and your data.


      1. Long John Silver

        Re: Is there a fly on the Windows?

        Indeed, MS is well positioned to check upon all Internet connected Windows devices for unapproved activity and to curtail it. Installing 'security updates' and 'new features' is pretty much compulsory. These easily could be made to scan for copyright infringement, much as when Windows Defender roots out malware, with a fee collected from rights holders'; least controversial would be simply disabling/deleting offending software and files; most controversial would be scanning for user information additional to ISP connection so that holders of rights may initiate civil/criminal action for 'infringement'.

        The there is MS's relationship with law enforcement and security services to add to the mix.

        That said, I don't grasp what's in it for MS by incorporating Linux.

        1. Claverhouse Silver badge

          Re: Is there a fly on the Windows?

          Microsoft has detected a different OS on your system and has deleted it for your safety.

  3. Chewi
    Thumb Up

    My corporate environment has meant that I've had to run a CentOS development environment under VirtualBox on Windows 10. Unlike most in the company, I prefer to do nearly everything under Linux, not just building software. I am a distribution maintainer, after all. A few have broken ranks and booted straight into Linux but it isn't feasible for me as there are a couple of Windows-only applications that I need for my role. My new working arrangements at home made VirtualBox awkward to use and it's buggy as hell anyway so I switched to my own build of QEMU. It's still not the smooth experience that I'd like though. I know others have switched to WSL, which I've been curious about, but I wanted to hold out at least until WSL2, and even then I had my doubts. The mention here of graphical applications and Wayland is seriously encouraging though so I'm going to give it a really good look.

  4. karlkarl Silver badge

    I do think it was funny that pretty much the day after the network aware X11 system was seen as legacy in a number of Linux distros, Microsoft created WSL that effectively relied on it for graphical apps XD

    1. bazza Silver badge

      And this may remain essential for those who have impaired or no vision at all. It seems that Wayland has made it nearly impossible to have a “screen reader” that read out the text in an application window. I’m not sure how commonplace such tech was with XServer, which was at least architecturally capable of supporting such things, but Wayland isn’t suitable at all.

      Basically an XServer, which does all the text rendering for applications, is in a position to support screen reading; it could easily pass the text over to the reader for text-to-speech conversion. Wayland forced all applications to do their own text rendering, so the assistive technology has to be built into each and every application. Ooops

      Gnome are building something into their desktop, presumably through the GTK libraries. But if you run a non GTK app, you’re screwed.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The last Tasmanian tiger

    died in captivity as a result of neglect. The same fate awaits the Linux Desktop, captive and neglected at the hands of Windows users. It will be for sure the (last) year of Linux on the Desktop. Sad story!

  6. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    coming soon

    The road map ahead

    1. All your favourite linux apps run on windows 10

    2. games platforms... run Linux on the windows platform.. full access to GPU , network etc etc

    3. Outlook ported to the windows/linux system, run under windows or linux

    4. Office ported to the Linux/windows system, no more faffing about with libreoffice

    5. Windows subsystem for linux, run your legacy apps here

    6. Introducing m$ Linux, subscribe and get the best OS experience ever.

    7. Windows... binned forever into history.....and there was much rejoicing....

    (well I can dream cant I? )

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: coming soon

      You had me until you said 'Subscribe'.

      Boo hiss.

      Seriously, it is the way the MS is going to go and I decided a long time ago that I was not going to play their game (subscribe or don't get patches) and left the MS shell game behind.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        I'm glad you had the luxury of being able to do that.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          "6. Introducing m$ Linux, subscribe and get the best OS experience ever."

          If this is "the dream", then please wake me up! "M$ forks Linux in latest extend/embrace/exterminate play"

        2. Tom 7

          You probably do.You may not have a choice over what your customers or employers wants but there's no reason for you not to enjoy the luxury of Linux other than masochism.

          1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge


            I never realised I'd get this much hate for a semi-satirical piece about m$ dumping windows in preference to building a linux of its own.

            As to the 'subscribe' thing... how do you lot think red hat et al made money from linux in the first place when you could download it for free.....

            hey ho time to go drown my hurt feeling in a vat of alcohol

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Boris the Cockroach - Re: coming soon

      Your dream is a little bit inconsistent.

      1. Can you show us examples of (preferably corporate) Linux applications without Windows counterparts ?

      2. Games platforms ? WTF! In my 25+ year long IT career my corporate PC has never been a game platform. Even if we speak of game development, more than 99% of games are Windows so where does Linux fit in here ?

      3 and 4. Right now Office runs perfectly fine on Windows, why port it to Linux when after all this time the market share for non Windows PC is still in one digit numbers (no decimals, please)? Besides, nothing would stop Microsoft from porting Office on Linux, but again the question is why bother ?

      5. I grant this to you, no objection here

      6. Why Linux ? So far the subscription and user experience are more than feasible (and extremely profitable) on Windows. I doubt Microsoft cares that much about user experience to venture the Penguin way.

      7. Here I'll have to make some corrections for you. Windows stays forever, Linux finally binned into oblivion, not much rejoicing. At least not from me.

      1. DrBed

        Re: @Boris the Cockroach - coming soon

        FTFY: "7. Here I'll have to make some corrections for you. Windows stays forever on desktop, Linux finally binned into oblivion for desktop, not much rejoicing - just as whole desktop concept. At least not from me."

        I believe you. At some time, whole civilization and IT industry will be driven by cloud, ultra mobile, foldable devices, even using neuro-implants (hint: Musk efforts right now)... all of it will be driven by some unixoid, probably Linux. Still, you'll have plenty of old farts using archaic "desktops" with "Windows", like dinosaurs.

  7. Mage Silver badge

    Nothing to do with Linux, all to do with Windows.

    Over 20 years ago MS or Windows Services For Unix. Bought in at first.

    "Although SFU includes X Window System client libraries and applications, it does not contain a native X server. Administrators may configure any of the numerous third-party Windows X servers. Fully featured free options include Cygwin/X, Xming and WeirdX. "

    When you had a suitable X-Server many Linux GUI applications ran seamlessly integrated to Explorer Desktop. So 20+ years later MS finally makes it simpler.

    Except running Windows in VM, if you really need it, or old 32 bit on Wine-32 on a 64 bit Linux. Or older stuff in DosBox is simpler.

    Actual native Linux runs better now on more PCs and laptops and netbooks than Win10. Updates are painless.

    So anyone with more than passing interest is going to boot Linux, or dual boot. This is for badly treated developers in a corporate world that wants a Linux application developed and won't allow Native Linux, Dual boot or even a VM with Linux.

    This is twenty two years too late. In 1998 when MS did the "halloween" papers users of the Web encountered about 5% Linux servers. Now they encounter over 90%.

    The domestic and even some small businesses are using iOS and Android on phones and tablets. PC desktop / laptop sales have stagnated. The take up of Win 10 is part inertia of corporations locked to a handful of windows programs, part most retail laptops have Windows pre-installed. Apple laptops & desktops are expensive and for the faithful.

    Linux desktop/laptop is still below the Retail radar. Because it has little marketing and retail are scared of it. Android with it's Linux Kernel has more phones and tablets than anything else ever had. Now also on many so called Smart TVs (with poor GUI design compared to earlier non-Google TV GUIs, I guess mostly tested at desk with apps, not 2.5m away with dozens of terrestrial channels and hundreds to thousands of Satellite channels.

    Anyone developing or running Linux is better off with a Native Linux.

    1. getHandle

      Re: Nothing to do with Linux, all to do with Windows.

      Spot on!

    2. Long John Silver

      Re: Nothing to do with Linux, all to do with Windows.

      In the early days of Linux, when it was distributed as free disks with computer magazines, I experimented with several distributions. It was revelation of things to come and potential nightmare at the same time i.e. fun to play with but not productive for most routine purposes when MS-DOS and Windows software already existed.

      My recollection is that absence of device drivers for proprietary equipment retarded progress. Home-brew drivers made by the Linux community rarely fulfilled expectations arising from using the device, e.g. graphics card, under Windows. That problem has almost entirely gone away.

      Nowadays it seemingly is game players who resort to Windows because they perceive no other option; for all others it is choice, habit, or availability (e.g. from employer). This puzzles me. Some players spend a small fortune on high end graphics cards yet have to be content with a bloated base system chugging away more slowly than would be enabled by a tuned Linux system.

      I presume this is so because makers of games not targeted at specialised consoles believe the Linux-based potential market too small. Now if MS incorporates sufficiently fast and reliable Linux then market rules may change. Players would have the option of running Linux coded games on native Linux devices configured for an edge in speed and also suitable for other uses.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Nothing to do with Linux, all to do with Windows.

        "In the early days of Linux, when it was distributed as free disks with computer magazines"

        Haven't browsed a dead-tree magazine rack recently? Linux disks still get distributed with computer magazines.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Long John Silver - Re: Nothing to do with Linux, all to do with Windows.

        I don't mean to pour cold water on your dream but nowadays gaming on PC (Windows PC that is) has seen its market share eroded by consoles and mobile, not to speak about the latest trend that is streaming games from the cloud. Who in his right mind would take the risk to move game development to Linux ? Please don't tell me that somebody is going to write graphic card drivers for WSL so the bloated base system will still be there (at least for telemetry and DRM purposes). Windows gaming belongs entirely to Windows so why would Microsoft work hard to chase it away from its lucrative platform ?

        As a lot of people posting here, me too I'm trying to find a reason to this MS endeavor into Linux land. Embrace, extend & extinguish seem to be a handy excuse but it's too easy. The fight for the desktop ended a long time ago and Windows victory is complete so why would Microsoft do all this when it has nothing more to prove ? I don't see an army of Linux developers pressuring Microsoft into this, there are no commercial Linux desktop applications at this moment except for those running in a browser which are server based (heck, they could even be developed to run on Windows servers). Could it be the short (and beautiful) Linux adventure that happened in Munich that causes Microsoft to preempt any future attempt somewhere else ? Could it be the fact that all cloud clients and tools are Linux based and Microsoft wants to prevent developers to fall into temptation ? This argument also doesn't hold water, Microsoft has found an easy solution by withholding Office from Linux Desktop.

        So far I haven't seen an intelligent, cold fact-based analysis on possible motives for this love affair. And I'm still waiting.

        1. Teiwaz

          Re: @Long John Silver - Nothing to do with Linux, all to do with Windows.

          market share eroded by consoles and mobile,

          I expect mobile has opened up a little more audience to the gaming market.

          And Desktop PC gaming has always required a little more of a learning curve, so consoles, would have brought more audience to gaming than desktop.

          Overall, I suspect both new platforms would have increased the market more than eroded the desktop.

          1. cdegroot

            Re: @Long John Silver - Nothing to do with Linux, all to do with Windows.

            Indeed. Smaller slice of a bigger cake.

            I run Linux everywhere, even on my old MacBook, but win10 is pretty much a requirement for gaming. Hate dual boot but virtualbox under win10 works just fine. I toyed with WSL, even bought Xming, it worked all fine but I’m either gaming or hacking code, no need for some seamless experience there and the Win10/WSL/Xming desktop fell much short of my full Linux desktop experience.

            1. DrBed

              Re: @Long John Silver - Nothing to do with Linux, all to do with Windows.

              You see how lockdown changed everything instantly? "Work from home" is now a new standard. Everything is in the cloud, already.

              Now imagine 5G, heck - 6G worldwide, new hardware adapted just for that + fast WebAssembly interfaces all around, on top of any OS. New standard for gaming will be Stadia alike, most probably. It does not need Windows for that; beside, whole those cloud gaming software will be made in some Linuxoid, probably.

    3. Tom 7

      Re: Nothing to do with Linux, all to do with Windows.

      I was using Cygwin XWindows to run Linux stuff in the office on company PCs 25 years ago. The 'desktop' was shit but I could install and run software to test certain things faster than I could get permission to buy or use a license for some MS product from the PHB at the time. It was the only way I could debug some things on SQLServer 4,5 without grinding the whole system to a halt which is what happened using the MS way to do it. Never worked out why. Even building MS stuff was faster without the overhead of Visual Studio which at the time was designed to make things easier for the programmer but by no means the underlying OS.

  8. jonha

    It's long been a pet theory of mine that Windows 2030 will be a Desktop Environment/Window Manager based on a Linux kernel. They will do with Linux (the kernel) what they did with Chromium.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @jonha - Why do you believe this ?

      Irrespective of which is better, Windows kernel achieved supremacy and brought MS insane amounts of money. Microsoft should have a serious reason to abandon it and start from scratch. Let's face it, even if Windows would be a thousand times worse (which, by the way, is not ), corporations and everybody would still buy it. If you don't believe me take a look at Windows 8.

      Chromium is a totally different story. Microsoft was in danger to lose a second time the browser war so by using Chromium they just annihilated Google's competitive advantage. But that's not the case on the desktop front. Perhaps they would be tempted to try this for Windows server but the headache of maintaining a dual code base is a deterrent. In any case, they seem to be trying other ways to combat Linux dominance on the server. In my opinion the big obstacle here is not the Linux kernel, it's the Linux server licensing costs and Microsoft doesn't have a suitable weapon for this.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: @jonha - Why do you believe this ?

        Just remember that when it comes to servers, the choice between Linux and Windows is obvious: Run BSD.

      2. hmv

        Re: @jonha - Why do you believe this ?

        "Windows kernel achieved supremacy"

        Desktop supremacy (except for us weirdos). Actually anyone who knows the word "kernel" is a weirdo - most people don't care. And there might just be a business case for moving Microsoft's gooey and apps over to a Linux kernel - rather than continue to maintain the Windows kernel, they can get others to help with that maintenance. And that would be quite a cost saving.

        Enough to pay for the work to be done? Probably not. But neither of us has seen those calculations.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          Re: @jonha - Why do you believe this ?

          > Actually anyone who knows the word "kernel" is a weirdo

          and people outside of IT who know the word "kernel" are nut jobs.

      3. Graham Cobb Silver badge

        Re: @jonha - Why do you believe this ?

        Microsoft have made it clear that Cloud is their future concern. They are no longer at all interested in PCs except as access platforms to cloud-based services. If they could, tomorrow, kill the Windows desktop OS and switch to using something else which is (i) supported by someone else, and/or (ii) the same as they are using on their strategic platform (cloud) they would do it.

        It looks like they are busy executing on a plan to replace all their important desktop apps with cloud software so that they can leave the "desktop" business to Apple/Google for mainstream users, Sony for gamers and Linux for developers/power users (and tiny markets like industrial control). The only value they see in the desktop market is enabling controls by IT (security, cost, etc) - if they could make those tools work on a linux kernel they would move off their historic platform asap.

  9. Andy Landy

    DirectX is coming

    curiously, an initial patchset at supporting DirectX in linux has just been posted to the lists:

    make of that what you will...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Andy Landy - Re: DirectX is coming

      Injection in a prosthetic limb ?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: DirectX is coming

      DirectX is only supported on WSL, not bare metal. So folks can write Linux apps to use DirectX APIs, but anyone running such apps is then forced to use WSL. Sadly that is literally the very definition of EEE. It seems nothing has changed after all.

  10. david 136

    "Torture people with EMACS", ha ha.

    You'll pry my emacs from my cold, dead fingers.

    1. Mage Silver badge

      re: You'll pry my emacs from my cold, dead fingers.

      I used emacs and vi occasionally over the years. Maybe one of them first on Cromix.

      I did so much dev work using embedded Linux based systems I drifted to Nano. I've gone to the dark side (GUI based): Notepad++ on windows (if I have use Windows) and KATE on Linux.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: re: You'll pry my emacs from my cold, dead fingers.

        I use one varietal or another of vi on the various un*xen that I admin (because it's near universal and works nicely, even over dial-up). That would be elvis or vim specifically almost everywhere, with the odd stevie in strange places. All work well enough. On Apple kit I use vim. I almost never need to edit anything on Windows anymore, but when I do I use stevie. Basically, vi works on everything, what's not to like?

        I admit that I still use EMACS occasionally, usually when I need psychotherapy or to play tetris or anything else that obviously belongs in a text editor that is lacking elsewhere.

    2. David 132 Silver badge

      Can’t figure out how to use Vi, eh?

      Trollface icon —->

      1. cantankerous swineherd


      2. jake Silver badge

        $ Vi

        bash: Vi: command not found


        1. David 132 Silver badge

          Oops. Muphry's (sic) law strikes again. I blame my phone's autocorrect and having a relative named Vi!

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    About ten years ago I predicted

    "In twenty years, Windows will be a compatibility layer running on top of a Linux system"

    We are midway now, let's see what happens in 2030.

    The reason why I came to that conclusion was because of the move away from desktop computing to "phones" (that was around the time when smartphones became a thing) and "the cloud". As an IT giant wanting to make as much money as possible from whatever the latest consumer fad is, it doesn't really make sense to spend lots of resources on a system that no longer captures, I don't know, 80 or 90 percent of the computing market as it did in the 90 and 00s; this and the ever increasing commoditisation of software and hardware is what gave me that idea.

    1. Warm Braw

      Re: About ten years ago I predicted

      That's pretty much the only way it makes sense. I can understand Microsoft's reluctance to be the optional layered component, but this is essentially an extremely convoluted way of making it somewhat less inconvenient to use Visual Studio for development on Linux. It could be a lot better if Microsoft, however unwillingly, embrace their desktop fate.

    2. Long John Silver

      Re: About ten years ago I predicted

      The bullet Microsoft has yet to bite may be complete re-write of its Windows code. Windows 10 requires frequent bug fixes and security updates. These could reflect increasing vulnerability to error consequent upon maintaining the expanding set of code necessary to support 'legacy' applications and ways of doing things.

      It is not clear, perhaps others could confirm, that the notion of a Windows kernel bears easy comparison with a Linux kernel. My suspicion is of the core of Windows being less detached from that which runs on it than is the case for Linux. Complexity increases because so many features are integrated within Windows and not optional. Users of Linux who are not developers have many choices available for configuring their system ranging from lean to a near Windows style multi-uses system with 'office' software and recreational uses easily to hand; the sheer range of Linux GUI's exemplifies this but my main point relates to what goes on at deeper levels.

      Perhaps MS has a project running in parallel with desktop Windows maintenance and development. If so, this may be based upon the manner in which Linux separates levels of functionality and thereby eases maintenance of software running on the system. In that case, a logical approach might entail adopting the Linux kernel and rebuilding Windows features around it. Perhaps it will mean relegating desktop computing to running a kernel suitable for accessing cloud-based (subscription) software; if the kernel is mainstream Linux then 'power users', these not of major interest to MS at desktop level, would be kept happy too and they could ignore the MS cloud.

      In that context, expression of interest in open source software by MS could indicate realisation of future profit lying with added value services rather than with vending a base operating system.

      1. DrBed

        Re: About ten years ago I predicted

        When Apple switched from PowerPC to x86, do you remember that, anybody? It is quite possible that Micros~1 is porting Win10 "desktop environment" to Linux already. Windows is in transiton to WaaS ("Windows as a service") already, officially.

  12. theOtherJT Silver badge

    It's just so backwards...

    I don't want to run my Linux applications on Windows. I want to run my *Windows* applications on *Linux*. It's not the applications I have a problem with. They're not the pain in my ass that I'm trying to get rid of. Windows is the problem!

    Windows "Oh, by the way I updated and broke a couple of your programs again without warning." is the problem.

    Windows "We're using your bandwidth to apply windows updates to other users nearby - sorry, no, you can't turn that off." is the problem.

    Windows "Hey look, all these great new apps came with the last 'Security' update, let me stick them in your start menu!" is the problem.

    Windows "I know you had working drivers yesterday, but that was yesterday and we've got this fantastic new feature out that you *might* try some day, so we changed them without asking you" is the problem.

    Windows "I'm afraid I can't shut down right now, because I've got a hung process that doesn't belong to your session for some reason." is the problem.

    Windows "You're gonna have to buy a CAL for every user who *might* access the system regardless of if they actually do" is the problem.

    WINDOWS is the problem.

    If I could run the MS office suite entirely on Linux with 100% feature parity, that would be the end of Windows in my org, and if I could run my entire steam library without the cursed thing that would be the end of it at home too.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: It's just so backwards...

      "If I could run the MS office suite entirely on Linux with 100% feature parity"

      Step back and ask yourself a simple question: "Why should I want to use MS Office on Linux when there are Linux-native alternatives?".

      You use office suites to do a job, you don't do a job so you can use a particular office suite.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: It's just so backwards...

        Tried the Linux native office suites. In Fact I still use one, but I still have to keep MS Office running somewhere.

      2. tsf

        Re: It's just so backwards...

        And the simple answer to that simple question is there are no Linux alternatives with 100% feature parity, get over it!

        Office file sharing in the corporate world relies on compatibility between applications that will show the same information in the same way, and there are too many non esoteric features that one way or another aren't shared across cross platform office suites, ergo: while that is the case forget the pipe dream of a Linux dominated world, particularly in business, it ain't going to happen.

        "You use office suites to do a job, you don't do a job so you can use a particular office suite"

        Which translates to if you want to work with businesses you need to use Microsoft Office, you might not like that, but nobody gives a rats arse about your opinion, live with it.

      3. theOtherJT Silver badge

        Re: It's just so backwards...

        Yes, but this is betamax vs VHS. It doesn't matter which is better, it matters what people actually bought. The simple fact is that MS Office won the office productivity suite format wars. Lotus is dead. Word Perfect is dead. MS Office is what we're stuck with. It doesn't matter if you or if I think it's any good (I personally don't) because it is a defacto standard and we just have no choice but to use the damn thing.

        1. druck Silver badge

          Re: It's just so backwards...

          But you are forgetting that VHS was replaced with DVD, and DVD should have evolved in to HD-DVD but was replaced with Blu-Ray. Blu-Ray has been replaced by streaming. The Office monopoly won't last forever, not even in its 365 form.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: It's just so backwards...

            Yes it will because, unlike home videos that can come and go, there may be a legal reason to keep that 20-year-old Word document. Worse, there may be a legal reason not to convert it to another format. Office formats have more inertia to them.

    2. conscience

      Re: It's just so backwards...

      @ theOtherJT

      As well as having perfectly competent office software on Linux, you *can* run your Steam library with Linux. I know I do. Steam Play is pretty damn good these days, not 100% of games work, but most do just work. You can check compatibility for individual games here: You'll need to make sure that Steam Play is switched on in the Steam Settings (Steam-Settings-SteamPlay- then tick both boxes to enable Steam Play for both whitelisted games and all other games). Once SteamPlay is enabled, most Windows games run on Linux as well as they do on Windows. It's that easy. Any games that have trouble starting - and there are not many - can usually be fixed with a launch option to use a particular version of Proton, D3D9, etc. You'll find everything you need on the protondb website to copy and paste into the Steam launch options.

      For non-Steam games and other launchers, such as the Epic Store, UPlay, Origin, and anything you have the installer files for, I recommend Lutris - Once installed, it is as easy as clicking the install button and it's automatically installed and configured. Enjoy. :)

      1. theOtherJT Silver badge

        Re: It's just so backwards...

        And I actually do both of those things. They work remarkably well, given the insane hoops they're jumping through, but they aren't 100% and until they are I'm stuck with Windows - at least on my gaming box if not my daily driver.

    3. Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's just so backwards...

      "WINDOWS is the problem."

      This. 100% this. If I could upvote x100 I would.


    Windows graphics in Linux running on Windows

    Microsoft continues to add layers to complicated OS/driver/subsystem/app stacks. Now we have WoLoW (Windows on Linux on Windows), more mess and slower steps in the thicker mud.

    1. Mike 137 Silver badge


      Windows on Linux on Windows. I believe it's called recursion.

      Funny that nobody's talking about licensing though. Open source inside closed source? How does that work?

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: WoLoW

        No different to running Linux under ESXi or other closed-source hypervisor.

  14. Ray Foulkes

    Actually, it can be quite convenient

    Some of us have to develop Windows applications because customers are married to Windows. I mostly use Linux and now and again run Windows 10 under VMWare on a Linux host. It is real convenient to have Linux available in Windows; I can use Native Linux software to satisfy the customer without insisting on divorce proceedings against MS. In fact it runs rather well and fast. At a push you can run an X server on Windows and some graphics applications already albeit with a few glitches and unsupported by MS. Cygwin is nothing like as good.

    I run git command line under Linux but, being lazy, switch to git desktop in Windows when I fancy. All works conveniently. Just go with the flow guys and gals.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Actually, it can be quite convenient

      "Just go with the flow guys and gals."

      No thank you.

      Didn't your DearOldMum teach you that the flow is always downhill? Personally, I'd rather not wind up in the pool of shit at the bottom.

      Onwards & upwards!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Actually, it can be quite convenient

        No, because we once lived up in the mountains. One common thing about the mountains where we were: there isn't a lot up there. So, along with "go with the flow", we were also taught, "you have to take the crap with the carnations". Besides, crap makes a good fertilizer.

  15. Mike 137 Silver badge

    "Just go with the flow ..."

    Going with the flow would be fine if the flow wasn't entirely under the sole control of an unchallengeable commercial entity with its own vested interests. Choice is a fraud if you can only choose what you're thrown.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: "Just go with the flow ..."

      I’ll go against the flow then. I might lose my home and starve to death but at least I’ll have earned the right to sanctimony.

      1. Ray Foulkes

        Re: "Just go with the flow ..."

        Hey, don't get me wrong, I am a Linux enthusiast. If I can use Linux, I do. There really have to be people like you who are willing to make sacrifices to remain pure and MS Virgins and keep the flag flying. Unfortunately some of us have to compromise for various reasons.


    Linux is hard because so many versions.

    Linux desktop fans need a clear Linux desktop winner. Microsoft can pick that winner.

    If one distro comes pre-installed in Windows, it becomes de facto the standard, and a serious competitor to Windows.

    It is the "IBM compatible" effect. IBM unified the market and did themselves out of a job.To a large extent, it does not matter which distro one wins. By winning the race, there will be less duplication, and the winner will just get better.

    That does not stop you and me running a different Linux in a Pi or a server or our home machine. It's open source, we can take back what we like.

    The trick to not allow "a Google". They started with an open source product - Android - forked from Linux - hence open source. Then they in effect closed it by adding bits - like the store, Maps etc. I assume Microsoft will try the same. It is a risk, but at present Linux has close to zero of the desktop market.

    1. Adair Silver badge

      Re: Linux is hard because so many versions.

      No, no, no and lots more 'No' - part of the essence of 'Linux' as a concept and philosophy is its capacity to branch - even to fork.

      We really do not want, or need 'Linux' to become the new 'Windows' - we've already got one of those, and one is quite enough!

  17. Bob9911

    The year of the Linux desktop? Dreamers..... I've lost track of how many years this is trumpeted and yet, still not able to cohesively break windows dominance.

    1. Adair Silver badge

      And long may that day never come, while Linux, and FOSS in general, gets on doing what it does best - being the tools that anybody can make their own, and pass them on to someone else who is free to adapt them as they see fit, etc.

    2. Tom 7

      As far as I can tell the only problem with Linux desktop is it doesnt run Windows games and a couple of office thingies. The kids I've been working with can do pretty much anything on a RaspberryPi standard desktop without batting an eyelid. Its the older people who lack computer skills seems to be the problem!

  18. Poncey McPonceface

    Machine Learning

    As pointed out in the comment section of this announcement on HackerNews,

    > This also enables third party APIs, such as the popular NVIDIA Cuda compute API, to be hardware accelerated within a WSL environment.

    Dollars to donuts this is why Microsoft is implementing this. GPU acceleration is becoming a critical feature for many users (but especially developers) and this will continue. If WSL is to be a serious competitor, this is necessary and I'm glad to see it showing up. This is true of cloud compute, too, and Microsoft is betting big on cloud as its future growth area.

    > Only the rendering/compute aspect of the GPU are projected to the virtual machine, no display functionality is exposed.

    The Linux gaming folks will be pretty sad about this one. Anyway, this isn't really a Linux port of DirectX. This is GPU compute via DirectX APIs.

    1. Tom 7

      Re: Machine Learning

      One thing about this is it wont be long before the game writers realise CUDA is generally available or Linux and there's a bit of a market there for little effort.

  19. poohbear


    This kinda reminds me of running Linux programs on OS/2 back in the early naughties....

  20. Anonymous Coward

    This is arse about face

    Who in their right minds would want to run a Linux app on Windows?

    Running the occasional Windows app (i.e. Excel) on Linux, fair enough.

  21. Law

    "While its predecessor, effectively a translation layer, was the technological tour de force, WSL2 did the previously unthinkable and dropped a Linux kernel into Windows."

    No they didn't, they dropped the Linux kernel into hyperv... They basically made it a full VM because subsystems are hard. Sure, they've integrated it a bit to make it seem part of windows, but it's just a VM. Because it's hyperv based, that also stops you using their competitors virtualisation software like virtual box or VMware. It's very clever from a marketing point of view.

    Fyi I had seemingly integrated desktop applications from Windows running on a Mac on 2008 thanks to VMWare Fusion using unity mode.

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