' 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 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."'
-- source: https://linux.slashdot.org/story/17/09/24/2132218
Dept. of Computer Science
University of Waikato, NZ
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