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Morality124
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 7:47 am    Post subject: Extreme gullibility or extreme cynicism? Reply with quote

So I've seen the "buzz" regarding the new WSL ports such as one for Debian (see example PR page here: https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/commandline/2018/03/06/debian-gnulinux-for-wsl-now-available-in-the-windows-store/). On social media reps for Debian and other distros are clapping hands, saying how wonderful this all is. Now I see Gentoo is getting the same treatment based on a recent topic in Gentoo Chat.

I'm reminded of something steveL brought up a while back - that modern distro development and testing is largely done in VMs rather than real hardware. As a result, critical bugs are met with a shrug, followed by a reboot or a quick re-imaging. Actual native testing is apparently no longer imperative because Linux in containers is the future(TM). I'm also reminded of the good old Microsoft 3-E approach: embrace, extend, extinguish, and boy howdy if this new WSL push isn't drenched in the stench of that dirty tactic. With both of these factors in mind, why should any Linux supporter be excited by this in the least, other than because of ignorance or gullibility (or through more monetary-oriented persuasion)?

EDIT: fixed link
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Ant P.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2018 12:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Modern distro development is largely done by Macbook-toting pythonistas with @redhat.com addresses. WSL is a cute toy from microsoft, but does little more than Cygwin has offered on that platform for the past 15 years and is not the main problem here.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2018 2:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cygwin is a nice idea, but has always suffered due to how very different Windows is from everything else. Trying to map Linux/POSIX semantics onto the Windows API was done surprisingly well considering the circumstances, but it is still painfully worse than running a proper Linux environment. Theoretically, WSL could provide a better Linux than Cygwin, though it too can never be as good as actually running Linux natively. For people stuck on Windows as a host kernel (say, because corporate IT insists that there is no OS but Windows), WSL might be an improvement. For anyone who has the option to run a real Linux, WSL is worthless.
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Morality124
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2018 5:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ant P. wrote:
WSL is a cute toy from microsoft, but does little more than Cygwin has offered on that platform for the past 15 years and is not the main problem here.


Indeed. The tool itself is mundane; there's plenty of established methods to achieve comparable functionality. A bigger problem is, to again reference steveL, the "politicking". As I mentioned, we have reps and developers from Debian and other distros doing PR for this crap, swooning and practically giddy about these developments. Same with the PR agents at the Linux Foundation, Open Source media "journalists", and the like. They are treating every single distro "port" to WSL (apparently they have a Microsoft "store" set up just for this) as some kind of historic achievement (who knows how much development time has been wasted towards supporting all this). I don't remember any Cygwin ports being lavished with so much PR slime and media hot air. It's really quite sad how quickly Microsoft marketing money creates paid shills in the Linux world. (Then again, works for Red Hat).

But maybe, like the title suggests, I'm overly cynical. I'm sure Microsoft will return the favour and assign developers to the Wine project right away.

Well, at least one article has pointed out the obvious: https://betanews.com/2018/03/06/debian-linux-windows/.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2018 6:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I feel that any exposure that Linux gets to regular users of computers then that's for the better, if there are more chances that people (probably younger kids) exploring their computer can come across Linux and become intrigued by it then I am all for it.

Of course, Windows wins no business by offering people access to Linux or suggesting it as an alternative. So I have to assume they have an angle here...
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2018 7:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

HungGarTiger wrote:
I feel that any exposure that Linux gets to regular users of computers then that's for the better, if there are more chances that people (probably younger kids) exploring their computer can come across Linux and become intrigued by it then I am all for it.

Sure there's a change, but we are talking about an optional component on Windows that home users would have to have some impetus to turn on. Exposure at the secondary/public school level seems unlikely since schools will unlikely want to have the burden of dealing with installations etc. Not saying it isn't possible, but for my comfort the risk of apparent E-E-E going on here outweigh the positives. I can't see the main target who would use this would be Linux users, or commercial outfits who don't want to support native Linux and now will have less impetus to do so.

Quote:
Of course, Windows wins no business by offering people access to Linux or suggesting it as an alternative.

I have to disagree. It fits perfectly with the earlier notorious Ballmer quip that "all open source development should happen on Windows". The effect you are suggesting is more akin to the "better-than-Windows" Windows support on OS/2, which was so good in fact that the market by-and-large didn't see the point of developing native OS/2 applications (and then came Windows NT which made OS/2 even more pointless in this regard). However, in this case Windows is still in the dominant position. Like I mentioned before, commercial outfits, education institutions, can care even less about running native Linux because they can just have a bunch of discounted Windows 10 machines that can do Linux runtime and development at a "good enough" level, and "good enough" has always been part of the Microsoft market saturation strategy. All MS cares is that users are dependent on their platforms in one or more aspects, and from there they can work more of their "improvements" (i.e. proprietary lock-in features) as part of the E-E-E strategy.

Quote:
So I have to assume they have an angle here...

My guess is that addition to making native Linux less attractive for the reasons I mentioned above, they'll probably do the same thing they did with their Java VM in the 90s - introduce additional proprietary "enhancements" or "improvements" that add some sort of superficial but appealing benefits to running Linux on WSL that at the same time are incompatible with mainline Linux.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2018 8:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe it would help to stop comparing apples and oranges here.

WSL is for Linux on Windows what Wine is for Windows on Linux. It is mainly important to be able to develop Linux applications with Visual Studio. The latter can be used to develop for Linux (including gcc and/or clang toolchain), Android, iOS and (of course) Windows. And everything you build on WSL will be ELF.
However, WSL is in no way a substitution for neither Cygwin, nor a Linux in a VM, nor a Linux running directly on the machine. It never was and never will be.
With WSL you have two very ugly disadvantages, which simply disqualifies it for any "Real Linux Work":
  • You can not copy any files from Windows into the WSL rootfs. You can change files, yes, but new files will not show up.
  • Although you can access Windows drives through /mnt/<letter>, it is very different from Cygwins /cygdrive/<letter>. There is no mapping of the ACLs. So from WSL, everything is "rwxrwxrwx root:root".

There are some nice toys to get a real console with WSL (namely mintty with wslbridge), or to be able to simulate an X Server, but honestly, if you need either, you may be better off using Cygwin.

Cygwin is not windows. It isn't even WIN32. If you try to build something that defines WIN32 under Cygwin, it will most probably fail.
Nevertheless you still build PE32+ executables, and not ELF, as those have to run under the Windows kernel.
This is one of three differences with any regular Linux. The other is, that you can not use glibc, musl_libc, uclibc or the like. You must use newlib-cygwin (which is, as the name suggests, a newlib fork), and all applications and libraries must link to it. Namely cygwin1.dll. The third difference is, that shared libraries must be executables and located somewhere in $PATH. That's the downside of the Windows Library Loader, which (as you may have guessed) is used.

So down the line WSL will definitely kill Linux as effectively, as wine killed Windows. ;-)

Btw: With both WSL and Cygwin you can use Gentoo. With WSL you can directly install a stage3 tarball, and for Gentoo there is the Gentoo Prefix and an ongoing attempt to document a way to get Portage to build usable Qt/Gtk-apps on Cygwin which uses the CygwinOnSteroids project.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2018 8:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Honestly, I don't give a fat rat's heinie what M$ is up to. It's probably something bad for GNU/Linux, as usual. It will probably fail, as usual. It might even blow up in their faces.

I'm certainly not going to start running my GNU on Windows, and I thoroughly doubt this is going to convince many others either.
GNU/Linux has all the supercomputers, almost all of the mainframes, the majority of the 'web, more than half of the phones and almost all the "things". Other *nixes have the rest.
Windows has a majority of the desktops, primarily because vendors preinstall it and most users don't care enough to change. So be it. If Windows users get some GNU/Linux free software too, that's cool.

WSL (or WSB, or WSWhatever) isn't going to make Windows a (significantly) less lousy OS or convert GNU/Linux users in droves, It's just stealing some lipstick for the pig. Yawn.

Yamakuzure wrote:
So down the line WSL will definitely kill Linux as effectively, as wine killed Windows. ;-)
Indeed, this.
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Morality124
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 4:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yamakuzure wrote:
So down the line WSL will definitely kill Linux as effectively, as wine killed Windows. ;-)


Except the situation and politicking surrounding WSL and Wine is completely different/unrelated. I've already addressed this in my previous post. Wine is more akin to the OS/2 Windows layer, and regardless it never has and practically never can provide truly seamless Windows compatibility because Microsoft can always just move its proprietary goal posts.

More importantly, look at the politicking optics of the situation. No business, save for some extremely rare situation, would use Wine for mission critical applications because it's "unofficial" and not endorsed by Microsoft - even in the case of CodeWeavers. Now look at WSL. We have official representatives of major distros and the freaking Linux Foundation actively cheerleading and praising these new WSL developments, supporting AND endorsing this new feature, devoting resources toward it that would otherwise go toward useful development. How is this anything but a massive red flag and threat?
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2018 12:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Threat to whom? The purity of the GNU/Hurd bloodline?
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Morality124
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2018 6:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ant P. wrote:
Threat to whom? The purity of the GNU/Hurd bloodline?


A threat in the traditional Microsoft E-E-E sense. The same old story.

Though I suppose with systemd and all the other crap going on right now, it's more mundane and usual threat than it would have been in the past. This kind of politicking seems like the new norm.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2018 4:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Morality124 wrote:
why should any Linux supporter be excited by this in the least, other than because of ignorance or gullibility (or through more monetary-oriented persuasion)?

To answer you question, in my opinion no Linux user should be excited. I don't think the move by Microsoft is EEE in the traditional sense, I think it has been triggered by the realisation that Linux now has the upper hand (LAMP being the prime example) and Microsoft is trying to stop some users entirely migrating to Linux. I think Microsoft is fighting a losing battle in the long term. I have to admit I used to think that The Cathedral and the Bazaar was a pipe dream, but it turned out to be right. Personally speaking, if I were the developer of a Linux distribution I would not bother spending time to make my distribution work in WSL; my time would be better spent improving the distribution.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2018 6:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Once upon a time there was the proprietrary workstation
Its history repeating itself.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2018 7:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excitement.
I miss Ballmer.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2018 7:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NeddySeagoon wrote:
Once upon a time there was the proprietrary workstation
Its history repeating itself.

cynbe@muq.org wrote:
By 2010 Windows will be as dead as CP/M, and every Windows-based software vendor will be either supporting Linux or out of business.

I think he was a bit optimistic, though! ;-)
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2018 11:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fitzcarraldo wrote:

cynbe@muq.org wrote:
By 2010 Windows will be as dead as CP/M, and every Windows-based software vendor will be either supporting Linux or out of business.

I think he was a bit optimistic, though! ;-)


He was looking at technical desirability not monoply power, often abused as found in court cases, subsequently overturned at higher courts as is often the case with wealthy litigants.

Remember the judge who said, "Merely telling Microsoft 'Go and sin no more' doesn't repair the damage already done to the market place".
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 4:53 pm    Post subject: Re: Extreme gullibility or extreme cynicism? Reply with quote

Morality124 wrote:
So I've seen the "buzz" regarding the new WSL ports such as one for Debian (see example PR page here: https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/commandline/2018/03/06/debian-gnulinux-for-wsl-now-available-in-the-windows-store/). On social media reps for Debian and other distros are clapping hands, saying how wonderful this all is. Now I see Gentoo is getting the same treatment based on a recent topic in Gentoo Chat.

I'm reminded of something steveL brought up a while back - that modern distro development and testing is largely done in VMs rather than real hardware. As a result, critical bugs are met with a shrug, followed by a reboot or a quick re-imaging. Actual native testing is apparently no longer imperative because Linux in containers is the future(TM). I'm also reminded of the good old Microsoft 3-E approach: embrace, extend, extinguish, and boy howdy if this new WSL push isn't drenched in the stench of that dirty tactic. With both of these factors in mind, why should any Linux supporter be excited by this in the least, other than because of ignorance or gullibility (or through more monetary-oriented persuasion)?

EDIT: fixed link
you are looking at this wrong and attaching to a hypobilic paranoid assertion.

Microsoft is a business and do things to survive. This is where EEE came from as a means to remove the competition. This sort of worked in the closed source world BUT they have been taken to court and lost time and time again.

Linux under windows is a toy for general use... Those that are big on Linux would not use and this won't convert them... Those considering it might but the limitations still would drive to VM or on-metal.

Where this makes sense is the cloud. Microsoft are not stupid and there are billions in this market. They would rather you use their service and run Linux CONTAINERS or VM's then goto AWS or Google. A large percentage of VMs on Google's corporate azure are Linux and they are expected higher percentage this year. The Linux on windows permits Linux containers
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 5:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

IMO there are more physical machines than ever, and more of them are running Linux than ever. Nothing has changed in that respect.

There are better testing frameworks available and better services for automated testing.

Virtualization is a huge trend in all of computing. It solves a huge number of problems while creating a few problems. Hardware is being built specifically for virtual environments. There is almost no down side.

It seems to me that the virtualization software vendors which work well with Windows and Mac OS are getting fewer and farther between. Or rather, they're the same ones as before, and there are more options which favor FOSS systems.

The virtualization systems being used by the cloud are either hypervisors running VMware or other proprietary bare-metal monitor or they run on Linux. KVM can be considered a hypervisor if the host is a minimal system.

Containerized systems like https://docker.io are mostly based on Linux. IMO the worst thing about these is that there are way too many distros that mainstream critical tools are based on, meaning you wind up storing a ton of distros in spite of the supposed reuse of dependencies.

WSL is a novelty. At best it will get a few more people to try Linux. At worst, those people will decide there's not much to Linux and abandon the idea altogether.

I can think of no scenario where an enterprise system will be based on WSL. There is no advantage to it that I can think of.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2018 1:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

1clue wrote:
I can think of no scenario where an enterprise system will be based on WSL. There is no advantage to it that I can think of.
That's the easy part. Enterprise systems are notorious for excessive complexity caused by trying to chain together barely compatible parts. WSL is a great way to add fragility and complexity to a system that has no technical need for either, but feels insufficiently enterprise-oriented without more of both. ;)
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2018 2:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hu wrote:
1clue wrote:
I can think of no scenario where an enterprise system will be based on WSL. There is no advantage to it that I can think of.
That's the easy part. Enterprise systems are notorious for excessive complexity caused by trying to chain together barely compatible parts. WSL is a great way to add fragility and complexity to a system that has no technical need for either, but feels insufficiently enterprise-oriented without more of both. ;)


:lol: Be careful, you'd be surprised by the power of bureaucracy... :lol:

Also, Lunduke's thoughts on the matter (Microsoft entryism): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-YdL7Hch78s.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2018 4:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

While on the subject of (Linux) containers, is there any meaningful effort to bring actual security to them? I still occasionally see security referenced as reason to use containers.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2018 6:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The "security" in containers is mostly in making it brain-dead easy to set up a padded room for the product of brain-dead curl-http-pipe-sudo-sh webdev culture. They're reinventing and resolving problems in package management and sandboxing that most distros and language-specific package install tools had figured out years ago. They also provide job security on the side for the people who invent them, because keeping up with the ever-changing sea of frontends, APIs and buzzwords is impossible unless you have a lot of free time.

As commonly used, containers are just heavily gentrified chroot jails (or a cheap knockoff of Solaris zones) - and the warnings from back then about chroot not being magical security mostly still apply. Picking apart and understanding the underlying namespaces mechanism at least lets you do interesting things with them - there's sys-apps/firejail to automate most of that, but there's also the enterns command if you want to get your hands dirty.

You can probably guess I'm not a fan of the idea, but then I never did understand the concept of running random ruby CGI scripts off github as root.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2018 5:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ant P. wrote:
You can probably guess I'm not a fan of the idea, but then I never did understand the concept of running random ruby CGI scripts off github as root.
:lol:

Thanks. I didn't figure it had improved (much) yet, but thought I'd make sure. Containers (or rather Docker) seems to have a strange degree of sustained mind share.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2018 1:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

They hit a sweet spot in the culture Ant P. referenced. They make it very easy to bundle all your dependencies, so you never need to worry about bug or security fixes in supporting libraries breaking your code (or protecting your users, who will never get an upgrade unless you deign to provide one). They pay lip service to security, while still being very easy to get wrong. Bundling is disappointingly common, because it gives the appearance of solving problems now (you can freely depend on libraries that break their API in every release; you need not worry users will have installed a wrong version, nor bother with explaining to users how to install anything), and mostly hides the new problems until much later.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2018 8:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hu wrote:
1clue wrote:
I can think of no scenario where an enterprise system will be based on WSL. There is no advantage to it that I can think of.
That's the easy part. Enterprise systems are notorious for excessive complexity caused by trying to chain together barely compatible parts. WSL is a great way to add fragility and complexity to a system that has no technical need for either, but feels insufficiently enterprise-oriented without more of both. ;)
There is neither containment nor security in WSL. You can manipulate every file outside the WSL from the inside.

However, WSL is not for actual using GNU/Linux based software in the sense of "working with". It is merely a tool to help you build, test and debug cross-platform applications from within one development environment. (Visual Studio, if you ask Microsoft.)

And for that purpose, WSL is great and shaves off all caveats virtual machines have. For everything else, it is more a "because-I-can"-Toy.
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