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March 30th, 2016

Ubuntu Coming to Windows 10

In its quest to become the Microsoft of the Linux world, Ubuntu and Microsoft are expected to announce today that Ubuntu will soon run on Windows 10.

Holy crap!

In Friday’s Week in Review I jokingly opined that I wouldn’t be surprised to see “Ubuntu for Windows” as a move by the folks at Canonical as part of their plans for world domination. Guess what? It’s really happening.

In an article published Tuesday, Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols writes that “[a]ccording to sources at Canonical” a deal has been worked out between Ubuntu’s parent company and Microsoft that will lead to the GNU/Linux distro being able to run alongside Windows 10. According to Vaughan-Nichols, “This will not be in a virtual machine, but as an integrated part of Windows 10.”

Details of this new partnership are expected to be announced this morning at the Microsoft Build developer conference in San Francisco. It’s expected that the Windows implementation of the Linux distro won’t be the full operating system complete with the Unity desktop, but more of a developers toolkit version allowing access to such as Bash, make, gawk and grep.

Ubuntu logoJust as no crystal ball was needed to predict such a project and partnership coming from the folks on the Isle of Man, no fortune telling devices are needed to predict what the response will be from the free tech communities — almost unanimously they’ll be against it and will see this as proof that Canonical, which already has something of a tarnished reputation in FOSS circles, has little to no commitment to free and open source.

What will be more interesting will be to see the verbal fights which are sure to break out among dyed-in-the-wool Ubuntu users and supporters on social sites such as Reddit. I’m assuming we’ll see most Ubuntu fans supporting and defending this move, with other longtime Ubuntu users in opposition. We can also expect to see some longtime Ubuntu users announcing that they’ll be ditching Ubuntu for another distribution.

This is indeed a day to grab the popcorn. With the news that SCO is back and planning to appeal the dismissal of its case against IBM, this latest news makes today something of an all day double feature picture show.

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Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

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15 comments to Ubuntu Coming to Windows 10

  • There was already coLinux (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cooperative_Linux). I wonder if Microsoft is co-opting that or if they have written a new “Linux compatibility layer” for Windows from scratch?!? As WINE is to Linux, this new thing sounds like LINE for Windows. 🙂

    I’m not sure what is so wrong with the VM approach especially since there are already some really tiny distros built specifically for “application containers” and “os virtualization” (aka machine or distro containers). I would think the Linux containers within-a-VM approach would offer better isolation.

  • Tyler Olson

    I’m hoping that SVN simply jumped the gun and spoiled Canonical and Microsoft’s elaborate April Fool’s prank.

  • tracyanne

    Meh, nothing to see, move along.

  • Mike

    Over at ZDNet I see Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols is doing his usual bang-up job of getting his facts wrong. http://www.zdnet.com/article/ubuntu-not-linux-on-windows-how-it-works/

    He talks about NT’s posix subsystem predating linux, which is ridiculous because Linux is older than Windows NT itself by several years.

    He really is a poor representative for Linux, although him being the “token linux guy” at the overwhelmingly pro-Microsoft spin house ZDNet makes that somewhat less surprising. They’re not really big on reality over there. Ed Bott, Mary Jo Foley, Mary Branscombe et. al. are all highly selective and creative with their “facts”.

    I’d comment on their piss-poor journalism directly on ZDNet but I block all their ads and scripts which prevents me from commenting directly on their site. No loss there.

    There is no other way to interpret this as anything other than a capitulation by Microsoft to the growing influence of Linux, especially among developers.

    Microsoft ripped the various other OS subsystems out of Windows when it seemed Windows’ market dominance was assured. The return of such a feature is tantamount to an admission of Windows’ failure. Here’s hoping it only drives more developers to Linux over Windows.

  • Michael Adamson

    From the heading: “Ubuntu and Microsoft are expected to announce today that Ubuntu will soon run on Linux 10.”

    Yep, Linux 10 pretty much says it all. 🙂

  • Thomas Holbrook II

    Mike,

    Linux was not the first POSIX compliant OS kernel. Also, there’s only about a two year difference between the initial release of Linux and Windows NT (Linux in 1991 and NT in 1993), so that’s hardly “several years” as claimed. Also bear in mind that Microsoft had its own edition of Unix, Xenix.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xenix

    Finally, he never said it predated Linux in the first place. Here’swhat SJVN actually said: “This is not a new idea. In fact, it’s a downright ancient notion.”

    Subsystems are not a new thing. OS/2 had them as well (which is why Program Manager from Windows 3x could run on Warp). Other operating systems utilized this concept too.

    So before claiming somebody got their facts wrong, you may want to double check yours.

  • Mike

    @Thomas Holbrook II

    Nice selective editing there, but you are flat out wrong. Perhaps you are trying to spread the same misinformation as SJVN for whatever reason.

    The full quote from SJVN: “It goes all the way back to the Windows NT POSIX subsystem. NT Posix was designed to run native Unix — Linux hadn’t been created yet — binaries on Windows NT.”

    He directly claims that Linux hadn’t been created at the time of NT’s posix subsystem, which is complete bullshit.

    I never claimed Linux had the first posix kernel. That notion exists entirely in your head.

    Also, 1991 to 1993 is a couple, a few, or several years. You are merely playing semantic games, apparently in an attempt to…do what exactly?

    For someone criticizing another’s post, you have lousy reading comprehension.

    Nice red herring with Xenix…completely irrelevant though. Calling it Microsoft’s is pretty telling too, since they certainly didn’t write it, only licensed it.

  • Mike

    …The hacks at ZDNet use slight “errors” like this to always put Microsoft in a positive light. It’s amusing how their mistakes are always in a pro-Microsoft direction and they never print corrections or updates when called out on their bullshit. They just plow onwards with a new article doubling down on the bullshit from the previous one (see: Everything Ed Bott ever wrote).

    That’s to be expected from the MS spin machine though. Journalism is a dirty word at ZDNet.

  • Ernest Mann

    I just read the ZDNET article. He never claimed NT predates Linux. His sentence refers to Unix, not Linux. Unix definitely predates Linux. Read the article, it’s obvious the context refers to Unix. Why would NT give a shit about Linux in those years? It was Unix that drove the posix standards not Linux.

  • Mike

    @Ernest Mann

    “NT Posix was designed to run native Unix — Linux hadn’t been created yet — binaries on Windows NT.”

    Right there, in a single sentence. NT Posix is the subject of the sentence, not Unix. If you think Unix is the subject, then you need remedial English classes and no amount of online discussion is going to help.

    > “Why would NT give a shit about Linux in those years?”

    Who said it did? Also, who cares what Microsoft gives a shit about?

    I’m pointing out a factual error. Linux does predate NT’s posix subsystem and Windows NT itself. Unfortunately this is typical of ZDNet articles. They are often full of small (and sometimes large) factual errors that when taken as a whole paint Microsoft and Windows in a much better light than they deserve.

  • Ernest Mann

    Originally, the name “POSIX” referred to IEEE Std 1003.1-1988, released in 1988.

    1988 predates Linux by 3-4 years.

    NT Posix was designed to run native Unix.

    Learn to read Mike.

  • Mike

    @Ernest Mann

    Nothing you said is relevant.

    Learn to think.

  • Ernest Mann

    Mike, you remind me of these ahole who tailgate here in NJ. Tough guys, everyone.

  • Mike

    @Ernest Mann

    You are driving too slow…and your blinker has been on for the last 50 miles.

  • Okay guys. We get it. You disagree with one another.