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Richard Stallman vs. Canonical's CEO: 'Will Microsoft Love Linux to Death?' ( 269

TechRepublic got different answers about Microsoft's new enthusiasm for Linux from Canonical's founder and CEO Mark Shuttleworth, and from Richard Stallman. Stallman "believes that Microsoft's decision to build a Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) amounts to an attempt to extinguish software that users are free to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve." "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..." Stallman remains adamant that the WSL can only help entrench the dominance of proprietary software like Windows, and undermine the use of free software. "That doesn't advance the cause of free software, not one bit," he says... "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 as Windows or MacOS or iOS or ChromeOS or Android, more convenient is a step backward in the campaign for freedom..."

For Shuttleworth, Windows' embrace of GNU/Linux is a net positive 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 says. "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..." Today Shuttleworth takes Microsoft's newfound enthusiasm for GNU/Linux at face value, and says the company has a different ethos to that of the 1990s, a fresh perspective that benefits Microsoft as much as it does open-source software. "Microsoft is a different company now, with a much more balanced view of open and competitive platforms on multiple fronts," he says. "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."

The article also points out that Microsoft "does seem to be laying the groundwork for WSL to extend what's possible using a single GNU/Linux distro today, for instance, letting the user chain together commands from different GNU/Linux distros with those from Windows."
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Richard Stallman vs. Canonical's CEO: 'Will Microsoft Love Linux to Death?'

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  • by ChodaBoyUSA ( 2532764 ) on Sunday September 24, 2017 @05:40PM (#55255919)
    Microsoft used in Windows 8/10, I do not trust ANYTHING they say. I must view anything and everything they do now as EVIL.
    • The parent commenter apparently meant to say, starting at the title: "Thanks to the Spyware and tactics... Microsoft used in Windows 8/10, I do not trust ANYTHING they say."

      Others agree. Here is a Network World article: Windows 10 is possibly the worst spyware ever made. [] Quote from that story: "Buried in the service agreement is permission to poke through everything on your PC."

      If Microsoft had paid ad agencies a billion dollars to convince the public that Microsoft cannot be trusted, the ads would not have been as effective as the abuse of including spyware. My opinion, shared by many others.
      • by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Sunday September 24, 2017 @11:32PM (#55257213) Homepage

        Pretty much M$ embracing Linux at this stage is a shear act of panic and desperation. They are loathsome scum, they thought of Windows anal probe 10 (because when doctors use, M$ follows you right into the proctologists surgery and now monitors that camera hooked to a Windows 10 PC right up your butt). Strictly speaking according to law, Windows 10 should be legally banned from doctors offices [] , yet it doesn't happen, why doesn't it happen, well, guess who M$ has guaranteed a back door to, yep, corrupt government agencies, hence no prosecution for a clear cut criminal act. You also have [], windows anal probe 10 again floating law by not ensuring the privacy of client lawyer discussion (both sides by law are require to be secure, guess who wants that back door), take M$ to court, when you and your lawyer have windows 10 installed, yep, uh huh, good luck with that.

        It is not only evil, it is factually illegal and it is not being prosecuted, why the fuck not?!?

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          I don't really want to defend Windows 10, I wouldn't use it myself... But what specific telemetry do you think would violate doctor-patient or attorney-client privilege?

          They published what they collect, and it's metadata about usage. Doesn't include user file names or file content, for example. If you have proof otherwise then I would genuinely love to see it, because I'd like to see Microsoft get prosecuted and forced to change their ways, but as far as I know there isn't any.

        • Time for your meds now.
      • the ads would not have been as effective as the abuse of including spyware

        Err no. $1bn buys you the eyeballs of the world. The vast majority of Windows 10 users on the other hand don't know the extent of the spying or don't give a shit. Just because it's in the tech news doesn't mean people in general know or care.

        • The "world" doesn't matter as much. What matters is what technically-knowledgeable people think.

          However, Microsoft's policy of forcing users to migrate from earlier Windows versions to Window 10 certainly convinced a lot of people who don't have technical knowledge.
          • What matters is what technically-knowledgeable people think.

            The past 2 years especially has proven definitively that we don't matter at all.

            • Eventually, I think, we will find ways to avoid Microsoft. I suggest that all nations support ReactOS.
              • *We* will. And the vast majority of users won't care and will continue to use whatever their computer came with. That's my point. Those who care have moved on or are in the process of moving on. Yet the Windows market share figures remain incredibly resilient to change.

    • You and Stallman need to take your medications. ASAP. Your paranoia is destroying your brains.
  • Embrace and Extend (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 24, 2017 @05:44PM (#55255945)

    Shuttleworth's optimism seems naive. "Embrace and Extend" has been Microsoft's mantra for how many years?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 24, 2017 @05:55PM (#55256009)

      Microsoft didn't 'embrace and extended' systemd into Debian, ruining Debian's reliability. Microsoft didn't 'embrace and extend' Gnome, making it nearly unusable. Microsoft didn't 'embrace and extend' PulseAudio into existence, breaking the audio for so many Linux installations. Microsoft didn't 'embrace and extend' Firefox, trashing its UI while not fixing its slow performance and excessive memory usage.

      When I look at who has harmed and ruined my Linux experience the most, it has never been Microsoft. It has been the open source developers working on these projects who are guilty.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Redmond are always a little behind. They make up for it in ferocity and backhandedness, though.

      • I just tried the latest CentOS release. Dual booting so I needed to add my windows partition to grub2. No NTFS support in the kernel and the default repository doesn't have it. So I added that and added the entry to the grub2 config. I tried Chromium but it looked like shit and uBlock wouldn't install. uBlock gave some error about embedded image and googling that results in one unrelated hit. So I tried the actual Chrome build. Fonts looked better and uBlock installed. Five minutes later the keyboard froze

      • You provide many examples of where MS wasn't involved in the self-inflicted gunshot wounds... but fail to provide any where they were []. Wikipedia lists Java, Messaging, browsers, and even Adobe's PDF format.

        I'd contend that Nokia was example as well. They send Stephen Elop over, have him dismantle stuff from the inside so their stock tanks, MS buys Nokia (Embrace), pushed a windows phone or 2 (Extend), then sells the shell of Nokia off (Extinguish).

  • by Stan92057 ( 737634 ) on Sunday September 24, 2017 @05:47PM (#55255965)
    MS whats linux user to stop dual booting and just use Linux within windows 10 so they can data mine. Microsoft cannot be trusted..ever
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Look, M$ has root. They can add/remove whatever they want whenever they want. Through good faith you trust updates to deliver exactly what they say they do, and I've heard about future or present updates without descriptions in them for what they do? Have they dropped those change-logs yet or not?

      And if your system can be connected to you somehow (google about what info M$ collects on your HW) then, as RMS once said, paraphrasing, they could deliver customized software just for you!

      If you don't think your p

    • by MemeRot ( 80975 )

      I don't know where the (mis-named) windows subsystem for linux is going. But the initial version was aimed squarely at windows developers who also use linux systems. One system running a project in visual studio, and in the WSL you have spun up ephemeral instances of redis and mysql. Nothing stops you dual booting or using vms. It's just convenient to be able to do everything you need to do in one place. Don't need to use windows for work? Then it doesn't affect you.

    • by jbn-o ( 555068 ) <> on Monday September 25, 2017 @01:24AM (#55257485) Homepage

      Microsoft cannot be trusted..ever

      I disagree; we should not judge the software by the person or organization that wrote or published it. We should reject the vast majority of Microsoft's software because that software is non-free (user-subjugating, proprietary) software. We can't trust any non-free software. This has nothing to do with its author. Microsoft's free software is like any other free software: we can evaluate its trustworthiness by inspecting the code, and if necessary improving the code. Then we can help ourselves by running that improved code (if it is helpful to us), and we can help our community by distributing copies of the improved code. These are the freedoms we get with free software and we should respect all computer users' software freedom regardless of the authors of that code.

      • I disagree; we should not judge the software by the person or organization that wrote or published it.

        Of course we should.

        We should reject the vast majority of Microsoft's software because that software is non-free (user-subjugating, proprietary) software. We can't trust any non-free software.

        You can't trust your insurance company either, but you've got to have insurance. But you don't get your insurance from proven shitlords like AIG.

    • They just want Linux tools and Windows tools to coexist. That way programs will be written that use both together in the same environment, making some new situations where Linux/OSS solutions will now depend on proprietary Windows tools and MS services.

  • MS is probably trying to do as Stallman says but I think they will fail. They may "love" Canonical and Ubuntu to death but Linux will continue.

    Right now I'm burning in a new laptop for about a month with Win 10 before putting Linux on it and it is very frustrating as so many of the things I do on Linux have less convenient ways to do them on Windows even with the Windows version of the same program I use on Linux.

    • And what program would that be that you are having trouble with?
    • They may "love" Canonical and Ubuntu to death but Linux will continue.

      Yes, I'm sure that when it comes to Linux, Microsoft would just love to emulate Elmira Duff [] and lock them away where they can love them and squeeze them and care for them and squeeze them and feed them and squeeze them for ever and ever.
  • by Alain Williams ( 2972 ) <> on Sunday September 24, 2017 @05:54PM (#55256003) Homepage

    By persuading people to run free software under MS Windows, Microsoft gets the ability to subject it to its spyware (sorry, I meant to say: telemetry) and upload the results of key-logging & other snooping that it could not do on a native Linux system.

    Has anyone actually verified what MS claims is uploaded ? Do we know who MS shares this information with ?

    • by Antique Geekmeister ( 740220 ) on Sunday September 24, 2017 @06:38PM (#55256217)

      Microsoft is carefully avoiding "free software" where "free" means "free as in speech". They are corking extensively with "open source" software, where they can proprietize it by adding extensions or customizatoins for Windows and refusing to publish source code or to release patents under a "free" license.

      • One of the tenets of GPL v2 (which is A LOT of software out there) is that if you expand or modify, you are obligated to share those expansions and modifications. Sure, there is a difference between "Open Source" and "Free Software", but they aren't truly embracing the notion of "Open Source". If they were, we'd be able to inspect *all* of it.

      • You need to come back from the 1990s. Seriously. The exact opposite of what you are saying is true. The exact opposite. Microsoft is (today) more open with .Net than Sun and Oracle ever were with Java.

        Yes, Microsoft of old were shits, but they have actually changed. Significantly.

    • by fyzikapan ( 1223238 ) on Sunday September 24, 2017 @08:40PM (#55256753) Homepage
      Or, they're doing the obvious thing and making Windows more attractive to people who use *nix-based tools extensively in their work. It's meant to attract a developer crowd that would otherwise use macOS. But let's not let a totally reasonable and obvious explanation get in the way of a paranoid conspiracy theory...
      • Crazy conspiracy theory? You must be a youngling. Do you not recall the US DOJ's investigation into Microsoft's anti-competitive practices?

        "Embrace, Extend, Extinguish" was the internal language DOJ found Microsoft itself using to describe how it was abusing standards to push others out of its market space. []

        Microsoft can not be trusted to play with community toys without breaking them. They have proved this time and again--they will break the standards shamelessly and then

    • by MemeRot ( 80975 )

      Not directly. But i've been at elasticsearch meetups where I met people from MS who use elasticsearch for telemetry storage/analysis. And I've met other MS devs who found out they released a bug thanks to telemetry.

    • You mean how Ubuntu store shares your shopping experience? If you're using Chrome or reading this on your phone you are a hypocrite if you know what it does?

      Unlike Windows 10 your phone monitors typing and spies hell of alot more than just gathering telemetry data.

  • Different Ethos ? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nukenerd ( 172703 ) on Sunday September 24, 2017 @05:55PM (#55256005)

    FTFA :-

    Shuttleworth takes Microsoft's newfound enthusiasm for GNU/Linux at face value

    Then Shuttleworth is a fool.

    [Shuttleworth] says the company has a different ethos to that of the 1990s, a fresh perspective

    Indeed : tech has moved on and they have found new ways of screwing the user and new ways of spinning it. This is the company that rammed Win10 spyware down users' throats.

  • "It's a trap!"
        -- Admiral Ackbar

  • I'm unfamiliar with Windows preventing API compliant programs from running for political reasons. I'm also unfamiliar with a functioning instance of Windows preventing you from moving your data to another system.
    • by hord ( 5016115 )

      If you have a .doc file and don't own Microsoft Word, you no longer have a usable document. That's the kind of thing he's talking about.

      • by MemeRot ( 80975 )

        Everyone's used .docx for years and years at this point, which opens fine in libre office etc

      • If you have a .doc file and don't own Microsoft Word, you no longer have a usable document.

        That's Office, not Windows. If you have a .doc file and Windows WordPad will open in. It's entirely possible to have a file created by some open source software, and if you don't have the software anymore, you won't be able to open the file.

        • by hord ( 5016115 )

          That's the kind of thing he's talking about.

          Everything that applies to MS Word, applies to MS Windows.

      • If that's the thing he is talking about, then he's retarded.
    • Then I suspect that you paid little attention to the "OOXML" fiasco at IEEE. An API was published to allow Microsoft to claim compliance to a published API, an API which is defined to be inconsistent with itself and which evne Microsoft does not follow. The political reason was to allow Microsoft to claim compatibility with open standards for government software contracts.

      The situation was handled in political, not technological fashion, to approve a standard over the direct objections of numerous technolog

      • Isn't all of that related to Office and not Windows?
        • It's the same company, and the same management at the top levels, so I suggest it's a valid comparison for _managerial_ encouraged or permitted abuse of API's.

          For Windows specific API abuse by Microsoft, I'll mention the Active Directory "extensions" violating MIT Kerberos. (Workaround patches were published very quickly, but the extensions were problematic at the time.) CIFS extensions with new Windows releases and Microsoft patches have been incompatible with the existing API and caused problems for Samba

          • I've also just been reminded by some DNS work of the Microsoft extensions of SPF and their introduction of their proprietary "DKIM" records into the standard. SPF only requires DNS control and applies to a domain: DKIM requires signed keys from Microsoft.

            • by tepples ( 727027 )

              DKIM requires signed keys from Microsoft.

              In what way? I thought DKIM [] just required the operator of an MSA or other MTA to publish a public key as a TXT record of the form What in DKIM requires any CA, approved by Microsoft or not, to issue a certificate that cross-signs this public key?

              • As I understood them, the keys were signed by and were being sold by Microsoft, much as they escrow the private keys and sell signatures for "Trusted Computing" keys. Is this not the case for DKIM? The descriptions I'm finding in a very short search are not clear about whether the keys can be self generated and universally accepted.

                If they don't require or no longer require Microsoft as as third party signatory, then _good_. I do think think that it still interfered with the much simpler "SPF" standard. But

  • by jmccue ( 834797 ) on Sunday September 24, 2017 @07:15PM (#55256445) Homepage

    Well, I agree with RMS, I will only believe Microsoft actions are genuine if Microsoft forces all proprietary blobs, drivers and firmware to be opened up under a FSF compatible license.

  • So, WSL will include or support a fully functional X server? (Not just that Wayland crap.)

  • Eukaryote (Score:4, Interesting)

    by The Evil Atheist ( 2484676 ) on Sunday September 24, 2017 @08:04PM (#55256643) Homepage
    They're both not wrong. Microsoft's use of WSL won't further the cause of free software. But it will still benefit open source (just not Free software). Right now, the WSL arrangement makes Ubuntu the mitochondria, but one could argue it could happen the other way around. Even though it is technologically subsumed into Windows via WSL, it could be argued that it is Windows that is being co-opted by Ubuntu from a strategic standpoint.
    • by MemeRot ( 80975 )

      This. The fewer barriers I have to using linux based tools and systems, the more likely I am to use them (mostly dev stuff like databases etc at this point)

      • Last night for shits and giggles I did a Sudo apt-get install tasksel on Windows 10 and was able to install a working LAMP or Wamp Apache MySQL and Php from the command Prompt. I did a Sudo tasksel and installed a working postgresql server install on Windows too fully configured.

        How odd indeed

    • by olau ( 314197 )


      I think Stallman has a blind spot here. He's always been sceptical of porting efforts - I remember DJGPP back in the MSDOS/Windows 95 days. But the fact is that we're a bunch of people who used that ported software, eventually figured out that we were being second-class citizens and moved to a GPL'ed kernel and userspace.

      This latest initiative is essentially free advertising. I think it's likely it will eventually move more people over to a free OS than it will keep people on Windows. Once you start

  • I see nothing positive in making Linux a subsystem of Windows. When talking to people in the future Linux will be referred to as something that is part of Windows.

    Microsoft has not changed and Shuttleworth knows it.

    There is no net gain here for open source.

  • by MemeRot ( 80975 ) on Sunday September 24, 2017 @10:52PM (#55257091) Homepage Journal []

    Since its inception, Microsoft Windows NT was designed to allow environment subsystems like Win32 to present a programmatic interface to applications without being tied to implementation details inside the kernel. This allowed the NT kernel to support POSIX, OS/2 and Win32 subsystems at its initial release.

    This is actually an NT subsystem, like the OS/2 subsystem. It's actually really cool engineering. Linux syscalls run through this subsystem and are translated into windows subsystems calls. This meant lots of interesting problems to figure out, like different behavior of fork. When there's no windows syscall to translate to, then the fake linux kernel has to implement the work itself

  • Ubuntu is a Canonical product, but AFAIK, the meaningful measure of revenue comes from Ubuntu Advantage. Mobile failed, and any dreams of bundled storage and app services, plus any vendor licensing deals that could have come from it. I'm seeing this as an adaptation of that model; where WSL is just another distribution channel for Ubuntu could serve as a funnel for UA. "Land and Expand" meets "Embrace and Extinguish".
  • They themselves said Linux is a cancer [], right? So if anything they're trying to extinguish Windows by getting more Windows users to use Linux software until they don't need the Windows wrapper anymore. I'll drink to that :)

    • by tepples ( 727027 )

      In practice, that'll only happen once Cygwin/X is ported to WSL. (Xming was ten years out of date last I checked: 2007-11-02 [].)

  • "Microsoft is a different company now," .. translation: I'm now also on their payroll.

Houston, Tranquillity Base here. The Eagle has landed. -- Neil Armstrong