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Microsoft Operating Systems Windows Linux

Linux Distros Won't Run On Microsoft's Education-Focused Windows 10 S OS (betanews.com) 115

Reader BrianFagioli writes: I was sort of hopeful for Windows 10 S when Microsoft made a shocking announcement at Build 2017 that it is bringing Linux distributions to the Windows Store. This gave the impression that students using the S variant of the OS would be able to tinker with Linux. Unfortunately, this is not the case as Microsoft will be blocking Linux on the new OS. In other words, not all apps in the store will be available for Windows 10 S. "Windows 10 S does not run command-line applications, nor the Windows Console, Cmd / PowerShell, or Linux/Bash/WSL instances since command-line apps run outside the safe environment that protects Windows 10 S from malicious / misbehaving software," says Rich Turner, Senior Product Manager, Microsoft. Tuner further explains, "Linux distro store packages are an exotic type of app package that are published to the Windows Store by known partners. Users find and install distros , safely, quickly, and reliably via the Windows Store app. Once installed, however, distros should be treated as command-line tools that run outside the UWP sandbox and secure runtime infrastructure. They run with the capabilities granted to the local user -- in the same way as Cmd and PowerShell do. This is why Linux distros don't run on Windows 10 S: Even though they're delivered via the Windows Store, and installed as standard UWP APPX's, they run as non-UWP command-line tools and this can access more of a system than a UWP can."

Linux Distros Won't Run On Microsoft's Education-Focused Windows 10 S OS

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  • as a workaround (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Friday May 19, 2017 @04:05PM (#54450863) Homepage
    to this unfortunate problem...you can also just install linux. Believe it or not, you dont need Windows to run it.
    • by lkcl ( 517947 )

      you can... until a vendor like e.g. lenovo releases a laptop with a UEFI BIOS where you are not permitted to remove the boot-locked settings that would *allow* you to install a GNU/Linux distro... https://www.bit-tech.net/news/... [bit-tech.net]

      • Unless of course that distro had paid in to be part of the UEFI club. I believe Redhat was one of them...

        • by amorsen ( 7485 )

          a) The Lenovo lock wasn't done by UEFI, it was done by preventing the hard drive controller from speaking AHCI. Linux does not have a driver for Lenovo's proprietary RAID protocol. Lenovo came to their senses.
          b) Nothing stops a UEFI BIOS from keeping a whitelist of keys.

        • Re:as a workaround (Score:5, Informative)

          by KiloByte ( 825081 ) on Friday May 19, 2017 @05:48PM (#54451497)

          There's one small detail here, though: there are two keys [microsoft.com]: one, the "Microsoft Windows Production PCA" is used to sign Windows only, while the other, "Microsoft Corporation UEFI CA" is the one they for antitrust reasons "kindly" allow certain biggest distributions to be signed with. Inclusion of the former is mandatory, while the other OEMs merely "should consider including".

          Doesn't sound that ominous yet? Then recall what the way Windows is sold: there's a ridiculously high official price no one pays, and "volume discounts" every single mainstream PC maker gets, negotiated under strict non-disclosure. You can bet that when the time is ripe, all the makers will suddenly fail to include the UEFI CA key (as losing the volume discounts would effectively put them out of business).

          And even while the UEFI CA key lasts, you lose the main reason to use Linux rather than some proprietary kernel: there's no way you can edit the kernel, install a non-distro version, build your own modules, etc. You no longer can insert unsigned modules, kexec an unsigned kernel, use a number of facilities that could be used to gain control over your own machine.

          And what's the gain for you? Precisely nothing! A thief can still install Windows on a stolen machine, someone who wants your data can boot Windows (or, for now, one of the "blessed" distros). The UEFI CA doesn't sign particular kernel builds but distro signing keys, so you can be assured every three letter agency of US, Russia, China and any other country Microsoft wants to sell their software in do have such a signing key. Thus, the malware the thugs use against your machine on the border will also boot fine.

          Ie, "Secure" Boot is strictly negative for you unless you can remove all keys not under your control.

          • by Anonymous Coward

            The UEFI CA key has signed a bootloader that lets you replace the kernel with a single keypress.

      • Re:as a workaround (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Lead Butthead ( 321013 ) on Friday May 19, 2017 @04:23PM (#54450985) Journal

        ... or why buying boot-locked (indeed, any DRM'ed) product is a BAD IDEA (tm).

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by green1 ( 322787 )

          Everyone already buys bootlocked phones, this is simply the next logical step.

          We just discussed this in an article on Netflix not loading on rooted Androids, and when I suggested that it was only a matter of time before the same became true for computers I was told there's no way that would ever fly. But the thing is, it will. It won't be long before locked bootloaders and walled gardens are the norm for the PC world just as they are for phones. Probably only a few more years before it becomes extremely dif

          • This may fly at home, but it won't work in a professional environment. And the enterprise is Microsoft's last reliable market share, so it would be a very bad move to piss off the enterprise. The whole reason for the student edition of Windows is to keep gullible young people locked into the intended consumer mindset.

            • by sl3xd ( 111641 )

              Never underestimate the ease you can tell an MCSE that Microsoft will keep his systems secure and easy to manage, and the conviction with which they will follow it.

              I certainly know most enterprises I know of require boot-locked machines; my office laptop is absolutely boot-locked.

              They do it to prevent a number of boot malware, require whole-disk encryption, prevent tampering, and preventing assholes like me from removing Microsoft Joke.

            • by Kjella ( 173770 )

              This may fly at home, but it won't work in a professional environment.

              Well first off rumors of this have been going around for the last 15 years and ever really materialized. But if it did it'll be an either-or, you can either run a stock Trusted Computing DRM-signed OS and watch Netflix or you can get root and install your custom bootloader/drivers/patches/virtualization/other OS but not at the same time. They barely allow 4K/UHD content in software, both streaming and blurays need so much hardware support and DRM standards that it's essentially a built-in set top box. They'

            • This may fly at home, but it won't work in a professional environment.

              If you're using Windows 10 S in a professional environment you have far bigger problems to deal with than a locked down OS. A good start would be firing everyone in IT and starting from scratch.

          • fastboot oem unlock

            LineageOS have released a patch to mask 'rootedness', so that rogue apps that go sniffing around will find that whether a user roots their phone is none of their damned beeswax.

        • by sl3xd ( 111641 )

          Like it or not, we have to move from "trust the user" to "trust no one". You aren't the market. Your idiot cousin is. The rest is economies of scale.

          It's rare a day goes by that you don't hear about a major new hack hitting any of the major desktop or server OSes. We're finding root-escalation exploits on Linux far too often, to say nothing of Windows.

          We can bellyache all day about how insecure ${PLATFORM} is, but requiring "trusted" signed binaries is the closest anybody has come to addressing the "user ex

      • You could until the makes of Linux decided to make breaking changes so that can no longer install a modern version on my old Toshiba laptop. In all fairness, anything Win 8 and up doesn't install either. So the choices are installing an ancient, no longer supported version of Linux or Win 7. I put Win 7 back on, but since Win 7 is so bloated and inefficient performance is in the toilet. This is one example where crappy new software causes a perfectly fine piece of hardware to become useless. I agree with d
    • Re:as a workaround (Score:5, Informative)

      by maestroX ( 1061960 ) on Friday May 19, 2017 @04:33PM (#54451047)
      when managing multiple machines in education, just pxe boot (https://help.ubuntu.com/community/DisklessUbuntuHowto)
    • how, exactly? I doubt you could install Linux on a school's enterprise laptop either.

    • by Zero__Kelvin ( 151819 ) on Friday May 19, 2017 @07:03PM (#54452013) Homepage
      In fact you CAN'T use Windows to run it. They are trying to confuse people and doing a great job at it. Don't help them. BASH isn't Linux. The various CLI tools aren't Linux. Now we have a whole lot of people thinking they have Linux who have never seen Linux and never will because they think they already have it. This is Microsoft's end game. It has always been their modus operandi. Foster the ignorance and prey upon it. If you run Windows, and you aren't running virtualization software and installing a complete Linux distribution, you aren't running Linux. Don't fall for the trap. The cake is a lie.
  • As noted in various insider releases you could at the time run traditional applications through the Powershell. I'm sure I mentioned that this was an oversight that will soon be closed. Just like the first build which allowed you to disable the Windows Store only "feature".

  • Doesn't Windows 10 S run VirtualBox?
  • by DeplorableCodeMonkey ( 4828467 ) on Friday May 19, 2017 @04:13PM (#54450911)

    Based on the description, this sounds like the sort of Windows you would give to a lot of non-technical users. None of my relatives would miss the missing functionality. The fact that it is also coming as a particular flavor of Windows that Microsoft is treating as a special build is actually encouraging because it means Microsoft is not making the same mistake Apple did of acting like they have to choose between pleasing technical users and non-technical users (and in the end, as we see with their hardware choices, the former lost out).

    Another thing to consider is that this build will almost certainly reduce the support costs that schools pay without crippling what they can do for most students.

    • by green1 ( 322787 )

      First they came for the....

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Well, does it come with a graphical ping utility then?, because that's what I need the Windows command line for (the other main use is to provide an easy way to shut down. Or I could do some stupid shit like using echo or copy con to write a phone number down.)

      I don't give a shit that ping is too "hard" to use or whatever, just let me use it to look at the wifi's packet loss, or to figure out that the network works but the DNS doesn't. Even if that happens rarely it's stupid to assume everything works perfe

  • a Windows desktop APP has arrived.

  • No command line of any kind make this "computer" as useful as a Tamagotshi or a Hot Diggity Dogger machine.

  • by TheOuterLinux ( 4778741 ) on Friday May 19, 2017 @04:44PM (#54451107)
    If you want actual Linux with all of its freedoms, you have to install an actual distro.
    • Very few people give a crap about its freedoms.

      • by JustNiz ( 692889 )

        Care to back your generalized sweeping statement up with any actual metrics?

        • Depends on how you define freedoms:

          Go in the street and ask people about patents, closed source, inability to share software, and all the wonderful things that Stallman talks about and if you're lucky they call the men in white coats to get you away from them. If you're unlucky they'll shoot you and claim self defence from a man with a mental condition.

          Some "statistics" don't need to be backed up, they are just a given like water is wet, the air is breathable, the sun will rise tomorrow. The onus is on the

          • Yeah, but the advantages of today would not have been possible under a proprietary license. A community with the freedom to copy, change, and redistribute built the things in Linux you enjoy. You have people like Stallman preaching the way that they do because they were there when it all started and have seen in real time what lack of "freedom" in software actual does. People are getting too comfortable with easy tech and forgetting that innovation in Linux surfed on the back of principles that were fortuna
            • I agree 100% with the cause. I just disagree that anyone but a handful of idealists care about it. You see while you're right about the assault on the common long standing desktop, no one cares. They still use their computers they way they always have and in many cases actually enjoy the flexibility of the modern computer handing over everything to a third party and saying thankyou in the process.

              • Maybe instead of "freedom," we need to bring back the classic idea "Linux is fully customizable" approach, especially when Micro$oft really starts trying to push their soon to be Chromebook clones they've been working on. Also, you could take the Apple way and say there's no viruses. Actually, there should really be fewer for Linux than Mac. But, a lot of Linux users are also IT guys using Window$ at their business and hate hearing any argument that places Linux on a pedestal.
                • Linux is fully customizable

                  That is something people can get behind. It has an impact on the end user. :-)

  • Neither does Windows
    • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 )

      Windows 10 has a built-in Ubuntu Linux subsystem. It is a bit hidden and a bit experimental but it's there.

      • I installed Interix on Windows 2000 back in... 2000. It was a whole POSIX subsystem including the gnu toolchain. It was originally made by Softway Systems but Microsoft bought them. So it was a product I paid money to Microsoft for. A product that included a complete gnu toolchain.

  • notepad.exe doesn't even run on win10s. what the fuck do you expect?

  • I know this will come as a shock to the geek.

    But most administrators have neither the desire or the resources to support multiple operating systems and software libraries in the classroom. Nor do they see mastery of the command line as particularly relevant here.

    What interests them is a relatively small set of familiar and trusted programs that will run reliably on securely locked down systems and hardware at will give them as little trouble as possible.

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