back to article Microsoft submits Linux kernel patches for a 'complete virtualization stack' with Linux and Hyper-V

Microsoft has submitted a series of patches to the Linux kernel with its aim being "to create a complete virtualization stack with Linux and Microsoft Hypervisor." The patches are designated "RFC" (Request for comments) and are a minimal implementation presented for discussion. The key change is that with the patched kernel, …

  1. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge
    Boffin

    "Windows 10 is on a path to becoming a hybrid Windows/Linux system"

    taking it easy, I see.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
      Linux

      Re: "Windows 10 is on a path to becoming a hybrid Windows/Linux system"

      Can't wait for the Windows 10 UI to be an option in Linux Installations (sic)

      I wonder what the takeup would be?

  2. Mike 137 Silver badge

    The way forward?

    If you can't beat them, join them to you at the hip.

    Taking this with the recent Ubuntu Community Council and kernel maintainer recruitment problems, it sadly looks like Linux may have passed its peak as an independent alternative operating system.

    1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
      Linux

      Re: The way forward?

      > ...looks like Linux may have passed its peak...

      I don't see this. The Linux folks would most certainly fight against some "MS-Windoization" of the kernel (anyone mentioning Poetter-ware in response will get killed).

      One could even argue that MS does realize that Windows alone simply doesn't cut it beyond pure gaming and Office-whatever work.

      I also like the thought of Ballmer throwing chairs in futile rage 8^)

      1. oiseau Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: The way forward?

        The Linux folks would most certainly fight against some "MS-Windoization" of the kernel

        No ...

        The Linux folks would will most certainly fight against some any "MS-Windoization" of the kernel.

        There, I fixed it for you.

        I'm volunteering for front line service.

        Mine's the one with the flame-thrower pack and a bottle of napalm in my pocket.

        O.

        1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: The way forward?

          Your correction is ... correct (I am not a native speaker).

      2. Robert Grant Silver badge

        Re: The way forward?

        Maybe we can all soon run Linux, with Windows in a VM for Office :D

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The way forward?

          Clearly you've never had the "pleasure" of working on an IBM outsourcing project.

          Linux base, Windows in a VM for the 95% of client tools you need for the role to support the customers systems and top it all off with Notes and Domino.

        2. phuzz Silver badge

          Re: The way forward?

          Maybe we can all soon run Linux, with Windows in a VM for Office

          Nothing stopping you doing that right now (although legally you'll need a valid Windows license for that VM). Several of the people I work with do that, others have a Windows VM on OSX. I'm the odd one out because I have Linux VMs on Windows.

        3. T. F. M. Reader

          Re: The way forward?

          Maybe we can all soon run Linux, with Windows in a VM for Office :D

          What do you mean by "soon"? At some point I started working at companies where some Windows was at least useful if not mandatory. That happened when I left IBM where you could choose Windows or Linux as your "client for e-business" (c4eb). Not everyone is so enlightened, so Linux host with Windows VM (for Office and for vSphere client - looking at you, VMware!) is my normal work configuration...

      3. CheesyTheClown

        Re: The way forward?

        I'm not sure what you're referring to. While there are vast areas of the Linux kernel in desperate need of being thrashed and trashed, a side effect of it's lack of design is that it's highly versatile (which mind you is what makes it so attractive for some many things).

        Microsoft has managed to play quite nicely and by the rules with regards to making the majority of Windows friendly code self-contained within its own directories similar to other modules. It's really not much different than either the MD stack or the SCSI stack. In fact, the Hyper-V code is much easier to rip and remove than most other systems within the kernel as it's organized in a pretty central place.

        Rather than spamming the kernel with massive amounts of Windows specific integrations for things like DirectX integration, they have done some pretty cool things to abstract the interfaces to allow generic RDP support for redirecting Wayland compositing for a pretty nice alternative to VNC or the X11 protocol and from what I can tell, they're working with the open source to make Wayland finally have a strong solution for headless applications over the wire.

        Microsoft may be all-out embracing and extending Linux, but now their hands are so deep in Linux's pocket that extinguish is no longer an option for them. And they even play nicely enough by the rules that GPL zealots tend to just grunt rather than rampage about them these days.

        Add to that that Microsoft does release massive amounts of actually genuinely useful technologies to the open source and they're almost even likeable now.

        This announcement is pretty interesting to me because it will likely result in a VMM on Linux which is easy to manage and is heavily consumed. Honestly, I adore KVM and use it for almost everything, but the highly generic nature of kvm due to it's qemu roots makes it infinitely configurable and infinitely difficult to configure.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The way forward?

      How much longer do you think the Windows licence fee will justify the cost of running the Windows infrastructure for patching etc and deployment, coding teams, even the website? Seems to me that architecting Windows out of the world would be a shrewd business move so that in 10-15 years nobody will notice when it's all turned off. Azure is the cash cow going forwards and Windows will increasingly become a cost rather than a profit centre

      1. Sil

        Re: The way forward?

        IT trends don't last forever.

        Azure won't be a cash cow forever, and assuming Windows was eradicated from earth tomorrow, there's no guarantee Azure total profits over the years will beat those of Windows.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @AC - Re: The way forward?

        Worst nightmare! We'll all be using Linux and still pay the Windows licence fee... Shuddering with horror

    3. overunder Silver badge

      Re: The way forward?

      "...it sadly looks like Linux may have passed its peak as an independent alternative operating system."

      Correct. According to the article, that happened in July 2019 when it moved from alternative to primary MASTER.

      "The Linux usage on our cloud has surpassed Windows." - Sasha Levin

      1. Robert Grant Silver badge

        Re: The way forward?

        That's on the server. Not the desktop.

        1. ckm5

          Re: The way forward?

          Linux has already won that if you include Android since mobile usage surpassed desktop a while ago....

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            @ckm5 - Re: The way forward?

            I'd rather swallow jokes about Year of the Linux Desktop than those about Android being Linux.

  3. Lars Silver badge
    Linux

    Note

    Anybody is free to use Linux, also MS, as Linus pointed out more than twenty years ago. They could also fork the kernel but I doubt they will, they could also start to deliver dual boot Windows/Linux to OEMs, there is no law against becoming smart regardless of how long it took.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Lars - Re: Note

      The advantage of Windows for Microsoft is not about its technical merits, it is about monetizing users. They have to have a lock-in on their users because nobody likes to simply donate money. Anybody is free to pay for Linux but nobody does. What would give them (in terms of profit) in exchange for their work to deliver and support dual boot Windows and Linux ?

      Microsoft is already smart according to the insane amounts of money they make. Trust me on that.

      1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
        Linux

        Re: @Lars - Note

        > Anybody is free to pay for Linux but nobody does.

        No, some companies will *refuse* to use Linux for free. They insist on long-term support contracts such that, for example, allows to get a kernel person to do something on "their" (customized) kernel within one day. This is not only not free, it is not even anywhere near "cheap".

        Visible products of that kind are the "enterprise" editions of Suse and Redhat. Much less known such products may be driving the cell tower near you.

      2. gobaskof

        Re: @Lars - Note

        > Anybody is free to pay for Linux but nobody does.

        Quick someone tell IBM! Maybe they can find a way get a refund on RedHat now that this shocking, new, and totally accurate information came to light!

  4. Lee D Silver badge

    Increasingly, I don't care what the underlying OS is.

    If it's not do-able from a browser, pretty much it's not worth the effort to support the infrastructure to run it yourself.

    If someone said "start up a company (of any size)" to me today, I wouldn't even consider non-web services, whether locally-hosted or not. The problem is once you go down the route of something tied to the OS or machine, you're never going to come back out of that. Start without any OS dependency and you can chop and change as you like.

    Schools, especially, have gone from on-site, to managed services, to everything in the web/cloud... even their internal MIS systems. Thousands of users growing up with no more capability than a filtered, monitored, browser will allow them, while staff increasingly move all their stuff to online services anyway. The end-device hardly matters any more (I actually have more Chromebooks on site than Windows machines, and that's been the case for a while now).

    It's 2020. Being tied to an OS because of some clunky bit of software that isn't cross-platform and wants to draw on your desktop? Very old hat.

    And I work entirely in IT. I'm literally talking myself back from a techy, in-house, specialist, business-critical job to a "keyboard shuffler" where so long as people have a compliant browser, everything else is someone else's problem.

    And dual-boot? Very old hat. Who cares what the underlying OS is, it should be able to run the "other OS" in a VM at pretty much the same speed. Our server infrastructure is entirely like that - I have 50% Linux and 50% Windows VMs on a HyperV setup - so why can't the clients? The servers do far more than the clients ever would, with far more a performance requirement.

    It's about time we just moved up one layer from "That only works on Windows" or even "that's x86 only".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The problem is once you go down the route of something tied to the OS or machine, you're never going to come back out of that. Start without any OS dependency and you can chop and change as you like.

      ...

      It's 2020. Being tied to an OS because of some clunky bit of software that isn't cross-platform and wants to draw on your desktop? Very old hat.

      But you're happy to be tied into all the proprietary cloud services at the backend? Have you ever tried migrating between, say, Office 365 and Google Apps?

      1. rcxb Silver badge

        I'd be more concerned about reliability and licensing.

        Your whole business stops when your internet goes down?

        Your whole business stops when one service provider's network goes down?

        Your whole business becomes unprofitable when your service provider decides the monthly charge is going up next month, and you can pay-up or lose everything?

        Most non-hosted software has the benefit of being a one-time charge that is always available, and can continue running for decades at no extra charge.

        1. phuzz Silver badge

          Most non-hosted software has the benefit of being a one-time charge that is always available, and can continue running for decades at no extra charge.

          Not had the 'pleasure' of having to deal with Oracle then? Or SAP. Or Sage, or any one of the many bits of enterprise software that insist on annual license fees (which never seem to get cheaper).

          Also, these days "Your whole business stops when your internet goes down" is a problem that doesn't happen if you're using cloudy stuff (because everyone is at home), but is a problem with on-prem. We just keep shifting out single point of failure around.

        2. Ladis

          Our company uses Microsoft cloud software running on our own servers (on-premise) and it keeps working even after you stop paying (we are moving from one of their product to an in-house solution, so stopped paying for that one product). I don't how how other players, but Microsoft is among those knowing how not to make their customers afraid of cloud solutions.

        3. Lee D Silver badge

          Host in-house.

          I say nothing that precludes hosting in-house. As many schools etc. do for their MIS, even if it's web-based.

          The trouble is you read web-based and immediately think that you have to rent a service from a third-party with no control.

      2. Lee D Silver badge

        Ah, now you jumped from "We'll use a web service" to "We'll use a proprietary, external, contracted web service with a third party who has no migration facility".

        That's a very different matter.

        I don't know if you noticed, but desktop apps without Internet dependency are increasingly rare. So you're already tied in like that, the only difference is where the data resides.

        And yes, I've done several similar things. And there's nothing stopping you getting data out of Google Apps. It's actually quite easy, made even easier if you're willing to pay money. The other way - I wouldn't know. Microsoft being awkward again?

  5. HildyJ Silver badge
    Linux

    Forking their business

    Microsoft is essentially forking their business. Azure's future is Linux and these submissions confirm that. So applaud them for that

    Windows, OTOH, still has a lock on the corporate desktop (and the PC gaming world) and they aren't trying to mess with that yet. So don't get those hopes up.

    1. Robert Grant Silver badge

      Re: Forking their business

      I wonder how far Steam's got with converting games to OpenGL.

      1. Ladis

        Re: Forking their business

        They created a tool called Proton which automatically emulates Windows for running Windows-only games (it's technically a fork of WINE with additional libraries to e.g. emulate DirectX via high performance Vulkan instead of obsolete OpenGL).

  6. Greg 38

    Still don't trust them

    I'm not trusting M$oft not to *fork* up linux. Didn't trust IBM either.

  7. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    X server

    "GUI support has been promised."

    I mean, a viable plan B* would be to run an X server (rooted or rootless) and configure the linux disto to use it. rootless, you run your individual GUI-using applications and windows would be providing the window border, the x app the contents of the window; rooted mode, you have a window with the whole desktop in it (gdm, xdm, and the like can provide a graphical login/password prompt and launch a desktop to a remote X terminal just as it does to the local linux console.)

    *I assume "plan A" will be adding some KMS/xorg driver support... it'd be nice if they supported one of the existing drivers but just as likely adding a new driver.

    1. damiandixon

      Re: X server

      Been running an X server on windows for decades. Having one capable of being run from wsl just makes life a lot easier for the less technically capable admin's.

    2. MyVoiceIsMyPassport

      Re: X server

      According to https://fossbytes.com/linux-gui-app-on-windows-10-wsl2/, "Linux GUI apps integrate with Windows 10 using Wayland display server protocol running inside of WSL. Wayland communicates with a Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) client on the Windows host to run the GUI app."

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Then it was Netscape -- now Linux is in the cross-hairs......

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embrace,_extend,_and_extinguish

    *

    http://techrights.org/2008/01/30/evangelism-is-war-memo/

    *

    Nothing has changed.....as another comment here notes -- "Follow the money" -- it's all about licencing, and "Linux only" means death for M$. "Linux only" sounds like an excellent plan!

  9. markmaxwell

    Hm, kernel module?

    Have they ever heard of these neat things? But I am guessing that since we're talking VMs, we don't want to introduce delays in loading these subroutines via modprobe

  10. shade82000

    "Linux already runs well on Hyper-V"

    Maybe CLI-only Linux server installations run well, but for me running a Linux GUI in Hyper-V has never been a good experience.

    I've had multiple machines over the years. Every time, any version of Linux I tried has extermely poor GUI performance, the mouse is always jerky making it unusable.

    I've tried everything from the top three pages of search results. Pick a distro with the hv... modules pre-installed, or get one without and install them myself. Configuring various boot options. There was a post with about 15-20 different suggestions, but nothing works.

    There is so much info on the web with ways to make it more usable so I know it's not just me. Sadly none of the info I found makes the VMs GUI as smooth as VirtualBox, but of course that can't reliably coexist with Hyper-V.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020