SAN FRANCISCO: MICROSOFT HAS banged on about open source for the past few years, not least at Build 2014 when the firm open sourced 24 projects, including .NET, but Wednesday's keynote at Build 2016 may well have taken the biscuit.
Kevin Gallo, corporate VP of Windows Developer Platform, demoed Bash - the popular Unix-driven Linux Ubuntu shell - on Windows 10, effectively opening the door to infinite possibilities for coders and system admins.
And Gallo swore it was legit: no containers, no VM, no nuffink. Just pure, undistilled Ubuntu.
"This is native Ubuntu Linux primary running on Windows," he said. "We've partnered with Canonical to offer this great experience, which you will be able to download directly from the Windows Store."
Canonical's Dustin Kirkland followed the demo with an extremely excitable blog post clarifying a lot of doubts that many had already voiced.
"Right, so just Ubuntu running in a virtual machine? Nope! This isn't a virtual machine at all. There's no Linux kernel booting in a VM under a hypervisor. It's just the Ubuntu user space," he said.
And it's not a container, either. "It's native Ubuntu binaries running directly in Windows," Kirkland explained.
And, of course, it's definitely not 'Linux-like environment for Windows' Cygwin. Perish the thought.
Kirkland went on to admit that Microsoft had created "something like a Linux emulator".
But he added: "A team of sharp developers at Microsoft has been hard at work adapting some Microsoft research technology to basically perform real-time translation of Linux syscalls into Windows OS syscalls.
"Linux geeks can think of it as sort of the inverse of ‘wine' - Ubuntu binaries running natively in Windows. Microsoft calls it Windows Subsystem for Linux."
But it's not open source yet. How desperately ironic. You tickle us, Microsoft.
Beyond Ubuntu coming natively to Windows 10, Microsoft's Windows Anniversary Update will arrive this summer for the 270 million people now apparently using Windows 10.
The update includes relatively unexciting keeping-up-with-the-Joneses features such as biometric security for apps and Microsoft Edge, and a virtual ruler for improving stylus penmanship.
Microsoft also demoed Desktop App Convertor, part of the ongoing Project Centennial concept that focuses on bridging software between platforms.
This provides the ability to quickly and easily port Win32 applications into Modern ones. The demo showed Sage software being swiftly wrapped into a Modern application. A gaming demo followed, showing popular title The Witcher 2 being recompiled as a Modern application.
Xbox chief Phil Spencer was on hand to promise that features such as downloadable content for games will also be compatible with the Modern interface. µ
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