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Thread: MS removing Linux kernel from their OS image

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    Ascendant GreyGeek's Avatar
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    Question MS removing Linux kernel from their OS image

    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.
    If you’ve ever gone to your Windows settings, and clicked ‘Check for Updates’ you might have seen some other items being updated like Windows Defender malware definitions, or a new touchpad driver, etc. The Linux kernel in WSL2 will now be serviced in this same method, which means you’ll get the latest kernel version independently of consuming an update to your Windows image. You can manually check for new kernel updates by clicking the ‘Check for Updates’ button, or you can let Windows keep you up to date just like normal.
    When Microsoft first introduced WSL in Windows 10 in 2016 WSL was more of an Linux interface at that point designed in partnership with Canonical. But Microsoft has been busy rearchitecting WSL with WSL 2 so that it actually will provide a Microsoft-written Linux kernel running in a lightweight virtual machine that's based on the subset of Hyper V. Users can put basically any Linux distribution of their choice on that kernel.
    It appears that Microsoft has divorced themselves from Canonical/Ubuntu and wrote their own version of the Linux kernel which can run any Linux distro of the user's choice.

    This raises some questions:

    1) Is the MS "Linux kernel" actually a modified version of the real Linux kernel, or have they done a reverse WINE and created a Linux kernel "emulator", NOT under the GPL, that can, in a Hyper V environment, run any Linux distro? IF, for example, I installed Kubuntu in that Hyper V will the MS kernel, during the install, replace the Linux kernel packed in the Kubuntu ISO with Microsoft's "Linux" kernel?

    2) Does "any" mean any, or will some distros not be installable in the WSL2 Hyper V?

    3) Are we now in the "Extend" phase of the "Embrace, Extend, Extinguish" Microsoft subversion technique?

    Up till now, with the exception of a few Linux laptop vendors, if a person wanted to run Linux then they had to buy a computer that contained Windows (because no PC OEM sells just their hardware sans OS), then choose to either replace Windows or dual boot. This is why, even though Microsoft has lost lots of market share, the tally of machines supposedly running Windows doesn't diminish even though those machines now run Linux. So, will the person running the new Windows OS on their new PC merely resort to the WSL2 Hyper V?

    This situation reminds me of an article I read in Dr Dobbs Journal long before I learned about and began to use Linux. I was running Win3 at the time and, like many people who were having problems with the stability and speed of MSDOS, I installed DRDOS. Suddenly, people were getting an error msg while trying to install Win3.1 on drives formatted with and running DRDOS. DR DOBBS de-compiled the Win3.1 binary and found the section of code that tested for the DOS that was running. They replaced that section of code with NOP's, using a hex editor. Installing their modified Win3.1 binary they found that Win3.1 ran without problems. Microsoft's error msg was merely a scare tactic.

    With WSL2, Hyper V and their own "Linux" kernel, Microsoft can, most likely, control what the distro installed in their Hyper V will be able to do, what it will be able to run, and where it will be allowed to browse.

    Could this dramatically reduce the currently high migration to Linux? I believe that WSL2 was designed to do exactly that. Sometime in the future, when the number of distros diminish due to lack of demand, and/or Microsoft announces its OWN Linux "distro" to go with its own Linux "kernel", the "Extinguish" phase will be activated. You can guess the rest.

    I could be wrong, but I have a history of Microsoft bad behaviour to support my contention.

  2. Back To Top    #2
    Insert Pithy Nothingness here claydoh's Avatar
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    Homepage: Go to claydoh's homepage
    1) Well, they can't call it Linux©, if it ain't an actual Linux© kernel, can they?

    3) No, we are not. Yawn

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