Hello, all this is your friend penguin from linuxcan. I’m here today to talk about some weird stuff. That’s going down in the Linux world of hypotheticals and what-ifs we’re talking about what Eric S. Raymond said. so he believes Microsoft turns Windows 10 into a yet another ultimate Linux. If you don’t know who he is? He’s an open-source luminary and fellow gun. He was the guy who actually wrote the. The cathedral and the bazaar which was an essay. Then a book paints this really interesting picture of why open source is so successful. Even in the face of proprietary monolithic offerings, both are excellent and I highly recommend you check him out. But he said something on his blog that has got a couple of people up in a tizzy.

He actually said Microsoft turns windows into Linux.

So he believes that Microsoft will some day soon transitional way from the NT kernel of windows in order to create an emulation layer on top of the Linux kernel. Basically turning windows 10 into Microsoft’s own desktop Linux distribution. But that has like a backward compatibility layer. Likewise wine or proton with old windows applications.

You know what I think that he’s actually on to something here. I’ve been saying something similar to this for a while. But I thought it was a little more nefarious than he seems to think. So let’s talk about what he actually said and figure out where we land on this. I’d love to know your guy’s thoughts to leave comments down below. If you think that he’s right if you think that is wrong. We think that Microsoft has another plan up their sleeve let me know in the comments down below.

Microsoft King is Azure.

So the first thing ESR mentions is the fact. Microsoft is making the majority of their money through Azure with most. But azure instances running Linux node rather than windows. You know Microsoft is seeing the way the wind is blowing. They hop on that train. I tend to agree with Eric on this point. If you don’t know what Azure is Wikipedia describes it as a cloud computing service created by Microsoft for building testing deploying and managing applications and services through Microsoft managed Datacenters.

Microsoft is making a ton of their money the majority of their income comes through Azure. I mean it doesn’t take a whole lot of observation to realize that. Desktop Pcs are not selling as well as they have historically Microsoft isn’t making a whole lot of money from windows 10 at this point in the fact that PC sales are down it makes windows 10 development more of a burden to the company.

That’s only going to continue to get worse as more and more. You know normal people end up using a phone or tablet rather than a PC. The next thing that ESR points out is that wine in the proton is an excellent way to run legacy Windows applications on Linux.

Wine and Proton run windows applications better than windows.

In fact, in some instances, it’s actually a better and more fulfilling experience to use windows applications through wine or proton. Then it is to actually try and run these old games or applications on windows itself. That’s because wine and the proton are being developed specifically to maintain. These older games while windows are more focused on the business side of backward compatibility.

ESR himself said that proton which is a tool that he uses to play world of warships which I think is adorable he says it’s not perfect but it’s getting close and you know what I definitely agree with that statement as well I mean proton is fabulous and the majority of windows only games on steam are pretty good. They’re not all perfect but they’re pretty good and even some games on steam that have Linux binaries. Run better with the windows version. Through proton which I just find fascinating.

Now compounding all this Esr points. The fact that Microsoft have been porting some of their desktop applications including the edge browser their new chromium based edge browser over to Linux but let’s be completely honest about edge coming to Linux most of the hard work was done by the chromium team.

Microsoft is going with an open-source.

However, the fact that Microsoft is going with an open-source solution like chromium for its web browser. kind of suggests to me that they’re open to this idea take something like a traditionally Microsoft technology change under the Underlayment. The core functionality of the application to use open source. Alternatives and then. Presented as their own product.

I mean I think that that’s a great case for this kind of thing to happen. The other thing that Microsoft has been doing is including windows subsystem for Linux. They put a lot of money and time into WSL and WSL2. Even to the point where they’re contributing code-specific drivers for WSL to the Linux kernel something like that. Would make the hypothetical transition down the road of migrating windows 10 to become essentially a Linux distribution.

That much easier so ESR has put all the pieces together and in his mind. The facts are quite clear Microsoft understands. The NT’s days are limited and when I say N. T. I’m talking about Microsoft Windows NT kernel.

That’s what we’re talking about here according to ESR Microsoft will be basically abandoning. The NT kernel and replacing it with Linux and a compatibility layer or Esr is calling it an emulation layer.

Then over time the emulation layer will diminish until Microsoft doesn’t have the cost of developing the windows core operating system itself or any of the in emulation tools or any of the emulation layer that they did to my great people over.

Wine And Proton Work.

This is the thing that a lot of people get wrong about wine and proton at least on the desktop. Whether you’re running Linux or Windows applications are running X86. Like they are X86 binaries the only difference between the 2 operating systems is the APIs. That are exposed to the applications running on the platform Microsoft has DLLs they have the NTFS file system and stuff like DirectX.

Linux has libraries like Glibc and Ext file systems or btrfs filesystems and Vulcan. So what wine does is it tries to provide a clean room implementation of the Microsoft DLLs. Which those implementations basically translate into Linux system calls. It’s that simple and most of the time the overhead is pretty minimal with wine and proton and honestly. If Microsoft wants to take a crack at doing the same thing, yeah seeing They have all the source code and all the trade secrets available to them. They’d be able to do a pretty bang up job. If they set their mind to it.

If you look at it from this perspective. The fact that Microsoft is already exposed stuff like DirectX to Linux subsystem for windows or windows subsystem for Linux. It’s all kind of very interesting now at the end of Esr blog post and there’s a link to the article.

He said quote The OS itself and it’s usually in tools will have been Linux underneath for a while and a carefully preserved windows UI over top third party software providers will stop shipping windows binaries in favor of ELF binaries with your Linux API and Linux finally wins. The desktop wars not by displacing windows but by co-opting it.


Perhaps this was always how it had to be well I do think all that sounds pretty nice. I would still be concerned that something like DirectX would stick around as proprietary garbage to keep people locked into Microsoft’s ecosystem. But at the same time if Eric is right about this. I could actually see them embracing open standards in a non-nefarious way. If it meant maximizing their profits through other avenues like Azure.

Perhaps ESR didn’t go far enough though maybe Microsoft buys code weavers. The developers of wine and just extend it. But if that’s even a remote possibility perhaps valve ought to purchase code weavers to extinguish that threat. I don’t know I’d love to know you guys think about this do you think that it’s possible in any way shape or form that Microsoft would basically Microsoft turns Windows 10 into a yet another ultimate Linux distribution let me know down in the comments I would love to know what you guys think about.

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