Hard not to notice that Microsoft and Canonical (the company behind the Ubuntu Linux distribution) have been cozy for a long time. Is there a bigger connection or even the possible reason why Mark Shuttleworth hasn’t sold Canonical and its Ubuntu Distro?
One thing for sure, Canonical & Ubuntu are 110% onboard with Microsoft and the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL), and apparently, so are most FOSS developers – Windows Subsystem for Linux is making inroads with developers:
Last week, Microsoft and Canonical (the company behind the Ubuntu Linux distribution) were scheduled to host a developer conference focused on the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) at Microsoft’s Redmond campus. Ars was invited, and I had plane tickets in hand—but the physical conference was canceled at the last minute due to the coronavirus.
Note that I did say the physical conference was canceled—WSLconf itself went on, with 22 speakers and 21 talks given. Virtual attendees were reportedly more than double the (sold out) physical attendee registration and included developers from all around the world.
Note: Physical conference was “sold out” prior to being canceled and the Virtual replacement conference then doubled in size. Clearly, WSL is extremely popular with developers. Is Windows 10 the OS of choice for most Linux developers? Of course it is…Linux Desktop/Laptop is not even close to being as functional & secure of an OS as Microsoft’s Windows 10 is. There is a reason that Linux Desktop/Laptop usage has remained stuck for decades at just 2% +- of the total OS Desktop/Laptop usage share. Linux Desktop/Laptop is a good backup OS in case something happens to Windows 10…it is also a fun OS to test and/or ‘Play’ with.
The next version of WSL, on the other hand, will essentially be a full-on Hyper-V virtual machine. WSL2 is available now in Insider builds, and will be generally available in Windows 10 version 2004. (Windows 10 Focal Fossa, anyone?)
The major differences between WSL2 and a standard Hyper-V VM revolve around integration. There are no guest drivers to install, and the C: drive (along with any other Window drive letters) is already mounted read-write for you, under /mnt/c. You can easily and seamlessly read and write files across operating system barriers, without needing to think too much about it.
Why would a Linux/FOSS developer want to ‘piddle’ with a Linux desktop OS when he/she could use a basic wheel mouse’s ‘Auto Scroll’ function, its ability to “copy-paste content” between three computers, i.e. use the full ability of a wheel mouse…actually have a printer and/or scanner work without having to hunt for a driver (usually non-existent, BTW)…be able to use Wi-Fi…be able to use a simple USB Docking Station, and etcetera. Why would a Linux/FOSS developer not chose Windows 10 over any Linux desktop OS version?
WSL2 will soon be officially available as part of Windows 10, version 2004! As we get ready for general availability, we want to share one additional change: updating how the Linux kernel inside of WSL2 is installed and serviced on your machine. We’ve heard lots of community feedback that the install experience could be streamlined, and we’re taking the first step towards this by improving the servicing model of the Linux kernel. We’ve removed the Linux kernel from the Windows OS image and instead will be delivering it to your machine via Windows Update, the same way that 3rd party drivers (like graphics, or touchpad drivers) are installed and updated on your machine today. This change will give you more agility and flexibility over Linux kernel updates in WSL2. Read on to learn more about how you’ll see this in the user experience.
Looks like Windows 10 version 2004 is due for the full release in the spring of 2020 (April or May), and Ubuntu Focal Fossa 20.04 LTS is due for release around 23 April, 2020. Interesting, the 2004 & 20.04 OS versions…