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  • Writer's picturevikram vel

Enemies no more? Microsoft and the Linux kernel!

It's all over the internet and I see a lot of developers getting excited on the latest news (well its been out there since 2016) that Windows is rolling out a Windows -based Linux kernel in its next software release in June!

I thought I will share what is my take on this, being a Linux geek, for me at first it seemed like another Linux virtual machine running over Windows . Well it actually is, but thanks to the feature called WSL - Windows Subsystem for Linux; Microsoft is now bringing in the heart of Linux into Windows.

So what exactly it does? how is is WSL different from any virtual machine I run on my PC now?

WSL essentially translates the Linux kernel commands (the Operating system core which talks to the Hardware), into the commands which are understandable by Windows kernel! pretty cool right?

To be clear, here Microsoft is not trying to replace its Windows kernel, but Linux kernel will run on a virtual machine called WSL. So yeah, WSL is gonna be another virtual machine operating system running inside Windows, but I think this will not be like any third party VMs. Windows is actually developing a Linux-based kernel, considering the fact, making Linux code run in Windows is a great deal for developers who need to use a Windows machine to write code that runs on Linux servers.

We need to accept the fact that Windows is still the big player inside corporations and I see Linux is most common operating systems, now with WSL programmers can get the benefit of both from a single operating system.

My take on WSL ?

Well, it's not perfect, there were weird issues time to time. End of the day I had to remember that, I'm still working on Windows machine. But overall WSL has been a great change, before WSL, all we developers had was running virtual machine, which meant running an entire operating system - not so efficient approach! WSL made it possible to run many of the same tools and applications within Windows without the need for virtualization.

The actual performance issue arises, particularly when working with the Windows file system. Visualizing only the Linux kernel while running everything else naively is an intriguing compromise depending on how much an application interacts with Windows.

What I see is that, Microsoft is opening itself to developer community where WSL might also help Microsoft win over programmers who use Macintosh products. MacOS is based on Linux's ancestor Unix, but there are differences between Unix and Linux. Microsoft trying to gain the trust from the community where are still digging out of the hole of distrust that they dug themselves into!

Time will tell. Let’s wait and see. I, for one, am excited at this new development and it should bode well for everything Linux — the desktop included.

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