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07.14.19

Microsoft’s WSL is Designed to Weaken GNU/Linux (on the Desktop/Laptop) and Strengthen Vista 10

Posted in GNU/Linux, IBM, Java, Microsoft, Red Hat at 12:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Don’t encourage new, cross-platform Java classes, especially don’t help get great Win 32 implementations written/deployed. [...] Do encourage fragmentation of the Java classlib space.”

Ben Slivka, Microsoft

Summary: What Microsoft does to GNU/Linux on the desktop (and/or laptop) bears much resemblance to what Microsoft did to Java a couple of decades ago

Windows Vista 10 is a terrible operating system, both technically and commercially. Its track record in the market has been appalling and not even sick deviants like Microsoft Peter could spin that (they tried a lot, every day/week). Microsoft, fearing a growing adoption of Chromebooks and various forms of more Freedom-respecting distros (than Chrome OS), is trying to chew the competition and hijack the brand, then distort it. It’s an old strategy, so many analogies exist.

“The person in charge of GitHub (Microsoft put him in charge!) has a history of attacks on Java.”Java is a powerful toolset and language (it became a lot more than just syntax). It’s still very widely used, though not everyone is a fan. “If Java had true garbage collection,” ‬Robert Sewell jokingly said,‭” ‬most programs would delete themselves upon execution.‭” Some would say similar things about Python and other high-level languages. Similarly, many people mock low-level languages because they involve more complicated things such as pointers and may be prone to buffer overflows, especially when used by inexperienced programmers with little or no testing. I haven’t touched Java in years, but many moons ago I used it for its cross-platform nature. That’s one of its major selling points; not many frameworks are as portable and cross-platform, so it’s hardly surprising Google adopted the APIs.

“With Java, Microsoft gave out a broken, non-standard, Windows-only variant in violation of their contract with Sun AND nonetheless persisted in trying to call it Java. I see that as what Microsoft is doing to GNU/Linux via WSL,” one reader told us this afternoon.

“They attempted, relentlessly, to infect GNU/Linux with this patent trap; thankfully they failed. People pushed back.”The person in charge of GitHub (Microsoft put him in charge!) has a history of attacks on Java [1, 2]. It’s hardly surprising that his Xamarin sidekick Miguel de Icaza has a history of FUD and bashing of Java, e.g. after the Oracle lawsuit against Google/Android. They have been pushing .NET for ages, in the form of Mono. They attempted, relentlessly, to infect GNU/Linux with this patent trap; thankfully they failed. People pushed back. We won one battle, but not yet the war. Microsoft keeps fighting Bill Gates' "Jihad".

Our reader believes that what Microsoft plans to do with WSL is somewhat similar to what it did to Java, not just to Netscape. “It is unlikely that Microsoft is in violation of the GPL in this specific case,” he added. “However, it is certain that what we see is a port to Windows and probably increasingly incompatible over time.”

“Our reader believes that what Microsoft plans to do with WSL is somewhat similar to what it did to Java, not just to Netscape.”They already did this numerous times before, e.g. with curl (there was a controversy a couple of years back). By deviating from known and accepted standards they can make stuff constructed or coded on Windows incapable of running in its original, native environment. “Some research again on Java can help come up with similarly alarming analogies,” I replied, knowing some of the things that Microsoft said internally while sabotaging Java. We have quite a repository of old articles on this topic, including antitrust material.

The fact that Linux Foundation staff keeps celebrating WSL and even the takeover of GitHub serves to show whose side the Foundation is on. Let that sink in for a while…

Christine Hall from the OSI’s Board told me a few days ago that “considering the name, the Linux Foundation is no friend to Linux or the spirit behind open source.”

“Many of us (GNU/Linux users) feel so technically-orphaned or homeless when it comes to representation of GNU/Linux, especially on the desktop.”“Jim Zemlin never met a dollar he didn’t like,” she told me separately (and publicly) about Jim Zemlin. “He has nothing but disdain for desktop Linux,” she continued. “He wishes we would just go away.”

Many of us (GNU/Linux users) feel so technically-orphaned or homeless when it comes to representation of GNU/Linux, especially on the desktop. We don’t suppose IBM will take leadership; earlier today Phoronix reported that platform support is being narrowed in Fedora (less than a week after the IBM deal was closed!). Fedora/Red Hat/IBM staff is meanwhile starting unnecessary disputes with Canonical/Ubuntu over Snaps in GNOME.

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