Thoughts on the Microsoft and Ubuntu Partnership

I woke up this morning to some strange news – Microsoft seems to be in the process of integrating Ubuntu into Windows 10. I have been a Ubuntu User for quite some time and after checking the calendar to ensure that it was not April Fools Day, I sat to ponder if this is a good change or a mistake in the making. After listening to the Microsoft Build Developer Conference Keynote, I think I have determined that this is a positive thing.

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First, I will start with listing a few of my concerns. Many people around the world choose to use various GNU/Linux distributions for various reasons such as increased privacy opportunities, a better security model and more control over the base operating system. Microsoft on the other hand has implemented several controversial features in Windows 10 such as the telemetry program which could be potentially sending a massive amount of data back to Microsoft. Granted the data is anonymous, it is potentially not impossible to trace the data back to the owner.

The good news is if you are currently a Ubuntu user, this change will not really impact you much at all as Microsoft is working to embed parts of Ubuntu into Windows 10, not the other way around. This change would however encourage more developers to build code for Ubuntu as Windows 10 accounts for a large user-base globally.

One thing that few people will argue about is that Microsoft has changed a lot over the past few years and is generally being perceived as a much more open company. Microsoft has long been one of the most active contributors to the Linux Kernel and was not shy about running large portions of their Azure cloud platform on Linux. Microsoft has also been open-sourcing several of their proprietary technologies such as the .NET framework. Microsoft has also stopped fighting with other platforms and started to find ways to integrate with them such as Office 365 for Android, iOS and Web. Microsoft has even brought several Windows exclusive apps to Android such as Cortana.

If you are a Windows User, this will not change anything for you unless you want it to. If you want the benefits of adding a Ubuntu Linux Subsystem, you simply need to download a simple application from the Windows Store to get started. This would mean you can use everything from Emacs to ssh via the command prompt. This does seem to only support command line tools so running xclock will fail. You will also be able to access your native drives from this Linux subsystem by visiting /mnt/.

What are your thoughts on this?

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