Friday, May 10, 2019

Windows to Include a Full Linux Kernel

Microsoft (via Miguel de Icaza):

We will be shipping a real Linux kernel with Windows that will make full system call compatibility possible. This isn’t the first time Microsoft has shipped a Linux kernel, as we have already shipped one in 2018 when we announced Azure Sphere. However, this will be the first time a Linux kernel is shipped with Windows, which is a true testament to how much Microsoft loves Linux! We’ll be building the kernel in house from the latest stable branch, based on the source available at


WSL 2 uses the latest and greatest in virtualization technology to run its Linux kernel inside of a lightweight utility virtual machine (VM). However, WSL 2 will NOT be a traditional VM experience. When you think of a VM, you probably think of something that is slow to boot up, exists in a very isolated environment, consumes lots of computer resources and requires your time to manage it. WSL 2 does not have these attributes. It will still give the remarkable benefits of WSL 1: High levels of integration between Windows and Linux, extremely fast boot times, small resource footprint, and best of all will require no VM configuration or management.

What a time to be alive. Does this mean that Microsoft will now ship more up-to-date Unix tools than Apple?

Owen Williams:

Including a Linux kernel in Windows changes the game. Instead of a Linux environment that has barriers and known edge cases, this is a full-on, no-limitation, macOS-esque Linux environment—with a notable improvement: it’s containerized so you can dispose of it and get a fresh environment in a second, then just keep working.


The master stroke here is that including a Linux kernel in Windows also dramatically changes the cloud story for Microsoft. Windows Server just gained a huge leg up, now able to run Linux and Windows tooling side-by-side on the same system, making developer tooling and deployment of code significantly easier.


By building the absolute best developer experience—from acquiring GitHub, to creating the most popular coding tool VSCode, and now, a fully-functioning Linux environment, Microsoft can say it provides the best tools for developers, period, wherever they are.

Tom Warren:

Microsoft also announced Windows Terminal today, a new command line app for Windows. It’s designed to be the central location for access to environments like PowerShell, Cmd, and the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL).

Casey Liss:

Everyone doing web development switched to using then-OS X back in the aughts because we could run the entire stack locally, natively. And the keyboards worked.

Seems like soon you’ll be able to do the same on Windows. Where the keyboards work.


Paul Haddad:

MSFT has two different ways of running Linux binaries on a Windows machine but 32 bit Mac binaries are just too much work for Apple.

Alex Stamos:

This is smart and well-timed. Windows is becoming a legitimate competitor to OS X for cloud-native development at a moment when Macbook Pro users are screaming for working keyboards and features like LTE.

Stephen Nellis:

I can envision developers on their 3rd trip to the overrun Union Square SF Apple store to get a MBP keyboard fixed, thinking...well, maybe it”s time to take a look?

Peter Steinberger:

I admire the new Microsoft. Not only are they super transparent about their plans, release everything open source - they also share Twitter handles of the main folks responsible.

Damien Petrilli:

Microsoft is making great progress at attacking macos exactly where it hurts: development.

We are really not far from seeing how Tim Apple miss management is going to kill a lot of Apple’s value for good.

Doug Gregor:

People are excited about a terminal. Either the 90’s are back or it’s a really slow news day in the tech world

Damien Petrilli:

Nope, it just means that now, there is a real competition to macos on the dev side.

A lot of people including myself are on macos because of its UNIX subsystem. It’s the best platform for all open source / programming language.

This could change soon.

Marco Arment:

If you’ve wondered why Microsoft made the VS Code editor, note how many lines go from “First” to “OSX” [sic] to “Visual Studio Code”.

Macs OWNED web development for a decade. But when Apple lost years alienating and neglecting pros, Microsoft had their foot on the gas.

Alex Harden:

VS Code is not my primary editor (@AtomEditor is) but I may end up using it more if/when I end up on Windows 10 this fall on my work computer. I simply can’t justify staying on MacOS for work when @Apple isn’t designing MacBooks for developers any longer.

Marco Arment:

This perspective (a common one) should be most worrisome to Apple:

“The MacBook Pro seems designed for other people’s needs, not mine.”

…especially coming from developers, which Apple has said are their largest category of “pro” users.

Anonymous Genius:

The irony is that Apple messed up the Mac Pro and the MacBooks Pro by solving problems that didn’t need to be solved. They didn’t neglect them: they over-designed them, fixed what wasn’t broken, and then didn’t fix the keyboards when they broke.

Justin Flood:

I’m a pro photographer. I don’t feel like the MacBook Pro is made for me anymore. I work with video editors and VFX people, and musicians who feel the same. This asks the question:

Who IS the MacBook Pro designed for?

Ken Kocienda:

The success of the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch relieves much of the burden from Macs to be the “computer for the rest of us”. It means the Mac can stress power and flexibility as a platform for pros, a tool for developers, and a playground for hobbyists.

After all, pros, developers, and hobbysists are the people that feed the iOS ecosystem with content, apps, and new ideas. Mac and iOS devices already support each other in a virtuous cycle, but that could be stressed more by producing machines that pros and geeks truly love.

I sure hope Apple soon gets through this period of problematic hardware (MacBook keyboards), “Where is it?” hardware (Mac Pro), and of new languages and frameworks that do mostly what the old ones did, only differently (Swift, Marzipan). Bring back “Insanely Great”!

Ken Kocienda:

The reliability and usability failings of the MacBook Pro are rooted in thinness and weight-saving—yet Apple makes the MacBook Air to optimize for those design goals. Let’s face it. Apple doesn’t make a pro laptop today. Sticking “Pro” on the end of the name does not make it so.

Petter Ahrnstedt:

Ex Apple employee here (PR manager). They stopped caring about prosumers in 2011-12. The prosumer managers were made redundant. Entire focus is (was) on consumers.

See also: The Talk Show, Hacker News (3).


Update (2019-05-13): Rosyna Keller:

It’ll only have the kernel itself as an optional developer install. Windows still won’t ship with any user space tools. You’ll still have to get those from a distro.

Kyle Howells:

Unrealistic WWDC Wishlist

- Gatekeeper for iOS
- Relaxed AppStore restrictions with new categories, like Dev Tools.
- UIKit for Mac uncrippled (no mandatory sandboxing or AppStore only)
- Redesigned & relaxed notarisation system
- Pro user, automation & performance focus
- A sign that ‘easy things should be easy, hard things should be possible’ has been deeply and culturally accepted into Apple, iOS and macOS.

Rather than the seeming current philosophy of ‘easy things should be easy, and anything more is a security risk’.

Brad Chacos (via Steven Sinofsky):

After years of endless jokes, 2019 is truly, finally shaping up to be the year of Linux on the desktop.

Rui Carmo:

I came to the Mac as a haven from the (then crappy and useless) Windows NT-era desktops we ran. Even though I was one of the first people to use NT 4.0 as a “workstation” (and even ran maliing-lists and web sites on it using the ancient EMWAC servers), I wanted:

  • A powerful UNIX workstation
  • Great hardware that “just worked”

Switching to the Mac was so amazingly great that I even named this site after the overall experience, a little over fifteen years ago.


And so it has come to pass that, even though I am typing this on my MacBook Pro, I have been using a Surface Laptop for nearly six months as a semi-daily driver[…]

6 Comments RSS · Twitter

I just need to know what the keyboard shortcuts are for cut/copy/paste in the new Windows Terminal thingy.

If it's still completely different than it is in the rest of Windows, then it's no bueno.

Oh, also: Does this mean 2019 is finally the year of Linux on the Desktop?

>Who IS the MacBook Pro designed for?

Oh, I think I know the answer to that! The MacBook Pro is designed for people who need a regular MacBook, but are less price-conscious than people who buy regular MacBooks.

Apple no longer makes professional notebooks because that's a smaller market than the general consumer market, so the MacBook Pro was repurposed as a way of extracting more money from the general consumer market by pushing people with more money into a higher-priced choice.

Apple doesn't want these people to buy regular MacBooks, because then Apple isn't extracting as much money as it possibly could. Apple also doesn't want to sell truly high-performance hardware to these people, because they don't need it, and that would generate higher costs for Apple.

[…] Windows to Include a Full Linux Kernel […]

I wrote: "I just need to know what the keyboard shortcuts are for cut/copy/paste in the new Windows Terminal thingy."

I looked at the github repo for Windows Terminal and it looks like ctrl-c/ctrl-x/ctrl-v are available for copy/cut/paste. So that's good.

Not sure how they manage conflicts with ctrl-c for SIGINT.

[…] Windows to Include a Full Linux Kernel […]

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