GNU OS CREATOR Richard Stallman has slammed Microsoft's Windows 10 subsystem for Linux as an attempt to "extinguish" free software.
Microsoft, a company whose ex-CEO famously slammed Linux as a "cancer", has a new found "love" for open source software, having last month released its hell-over-freezing subsystem that lets Windows 10 users run various GNU/Linux distros and software.
Unsurprisingly, some are sceptical about Microsoft's new-found enthusiasm for Linux and open source software, including free software advocate, and founder of GNU OS Richard Stallman.
Speaking to Tech Republic, he said Microsoft's decision to build a Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) amounts to an attempt to extinguish free, open source software.
"It certainly looks that way. But it won't be so easy to extinguish us, because our reasons for using and advancing free software are not limited to practical convenience," he said.
"We want freedom. As a way to use computers in freedom, Windows is a non-starter."
"The aim of the free software movement is to free users from freedom-denying proprietary programs and systems, such as Windows. Making a non-free system, such Windows or macOS or iOS or ChromeOS or Android, more convenient is a step backward in the campaign for freedom."
Not everyone agrees. Mark Shuttleworth, founder and CEO of Canonical, says Microsoft's embracing of GNU and Linux is a good thing for open source software as a whole.
"It's not like Microsoft is stealing our toys, it's more that we're sharing them with Microsoft in order to give everyone the best possible experience," he said.
"WSL provides users who are well versed in the Windows environment with greater choice and flexibility, while also opening up a whole new potential user base for the open source platform."
Shuttleworth, during his interview with Tech Republic, added that Microsoft has come along way since the 90s, and now has a "much much more balanced view of open and competitive platforms on multiple front.
"They do a tremendous amount of engineering specifically to accommodate open platforms like Ubuntu on Azure and Hyper-V, and this work is being done in that spirit. It's super-impressive work, and testament not only to their engineering but also to the rigour in the Linux kernel community that maintains crisp and stable syscall interfaces over time," he said.
Naturally, Microsoft doesn't agree with Stallman's comments either, and said in a statement: "Microsoft aims to make Windows 10 the best development environment, regardless of the technologies that developers use, or the platforms they wish to target. Using Windows 10, developers enjoy the freedom to choose the tools that they want, need, or prefer, whether they're commercial or free, closed or open
"Using Windows 10, developers enjoy the freedom to choose the tools that they want, need, or prefer, whether they're commercial or free, closed or open source, or any combination therein."
But they would say that, wouldn't they? µ
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