Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
[flagged] Windows 11 could run on Linux (computerworld.com)
25 points by ggm 29 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 64 comments

I'll start taking these delusional ravings remotely seriously when authors try to analyze what it would be like to implement the driver stack, the graphics stack, the security model etc. on top of a different kernel, and demonstrate that it would change anything for the best. And not just throw away compatibility with twenty years of accumulated software and hardware.

So far it's only “MS did a Linux-to-Win layer with questionable performance, it means they could totally do the opposite with negligible loss while keeping drivers for millions of device models working! And compatibility with software that hooks at every point in the Windows APIs! See, Wine does a small portion of that just fiiiine after the twenty six years of development.”

This sort of thing reminds me of one of my favorite Microsoft UserVoices, which is asking for a Linux version of Visual Studio - hundreds and hundreds of comments from people who are presumably software developers, who seem to think that it would be trivial to port that behemoth of C/C++/.NET/whatever code, with its decades of accumulated cruft, over to run natively on another operating system.

devenv.exe isn't even 64-bit yet...

The idea of a Linux version does seem ridiculous like you said, but I'm not sure lack of 64-bit is a good example to illustrate it. They already migrated much of VS2008 to .NET when they did 2010, which to me seemed like a herculean feat, for what was quite questionable end-user gain (and I'm being quite generous with that assessment), and .NET should've made architecture-independent easier. Lack of 64-bit just seems to be due to the cost not justifying the benefit rather than the feat itself being so herculean per se.

The main problem there is that it runs like a dog and thrashes when you have big solutions and get near to 2GB of RAM usage. It's pretty silly on workstations that have 16-32 GB of total memory available. When they first justified the decision not to move to 64-bit a decade ago, it was more defensible, but time has moved on hard, and they've been fighting that decision, moving bits and pieces out of process ever since.

asking for a Linux version of Visual Studio

I mean they could make a Linux version of Visual Studio, just like the make a Mac version of Visual Studio, it just wouldn't be the same program as the Windows version of Visual Studio.

This should be possible, as the Mac version is pretty much a coat of paint and a blessed set of plugins laid on top of MonoDevelop.

If I had to do serious dotnet work on Linux, I'd probably just use JetBrains Rider instead though.

I'm open to the concept but not where this article takes it.

Registry backups shouldn't be expected to be any easier with a different kernel. In fact, if anything it will introduce a lot more bugs, even just from programs that rely on kernel bugs.

There's no reason to believe NT is any less 'fresh' than Linux. It undoubtedly does some things better. Even as a Linux user, throwing that away would seem a massive shame.

While basing Windows on Linux may make some development easier, it also throws away the unique proposition that Windows provides.

It would take a lot of internal motivation to overcome the people who founded their careers on building an operating system for Microsoft.

Less so on desktop, but Ive been arguing for a while that Microsoft could ship the Windows shell+Bing/OfficeGraph on top of Android and instantly reenter the Mobile Phone arena. It's something they could ship that installs on existing phones. People could "convert" their Android experience and "fall in love with Windows all over again" or whatever BS marketing wants to put out. The important part though would be a unique visual identity, and pushing people towards Microsoft apps and services, away from Google.

Google made this play easy by splitting off Play Services. Now all Microsoft has to do is essentially replace Play Services with Windows Services, Microsoft Services, Azure Services, or if Microsoft names it, Microsoft Windows Azure Team Site Foundations Forefront Services.

I know they have the Launcher, but to actually put a dent in Google Android, Microsoft needs to play more like Amazon and Fire os, including their own curated store.

Microsoft has embraced Android, if it Extends it, it would be logical to think that Microsoft Services would end up being a single package of cloud services that transcend Android and Windows, with the same servers, and Client implementations that best fit the OS capabilities.

> There's no reason to believe NT is any less 'fresh' than Linux. It undoubtedly does some things better. Even as a Linux user, throwing that away would seem a massive shame.

> While basing Windows on Linux may make some development easier, it also throws away the unique proposition that Windows provides.

Like what exactly? Do you have examples or just feel this way?

>> It undoubtedly does some things better

> Like what exactly? Do you have examples or just feel this way?

Idk, like maybe letting you actually wait for a process to exit (until Linux finally added it in recent months), IOCP, not doing stupid things like overcommitting memory... I could go on...

And then there's the documentation which is like infinitely better than Linux's...

It makes me wonder, what information drives your skepticism? It seems pretty unfounded to me.

> And then there's the documentation which is like infinitely better than Linux's...

I am 100% unexpert in systems programming. I am not challenging this sentence.

When I look through Linux's source code, I read documentation files like Documentation/x86/exception-tables.txt and filesystems/ntfs.txt. I can also read the source code and its notes - for instance kernel/cpu.c or kernel/panic.c.

Where do I find analogous documentation or source code for NT 10? Lack of systems documentation pushed me away from Windows, and I would love to learn I was wrong.

Vertical integration of the OS and kernel means that users can use the UI to respond to running out of memory where Linux just kills using heuristics.

I've heard of other things but don't know enough to verify them.

Honestly, running out of memory isn't the best example for vertical integration of the OS. While it can behave reasonably on Windows, OOM is still the one thing that that can still sometimes bring down every OS to an unusable state, including Windows. But barring that, best of luck trying to bring down the GUI on Windows. Whereas with Linux, you always gotta be ready to drop out of your GUI and into a terminal to rescue stuff.

IOCP and HANDLE objects in general. You can await on anything in NT, you can't even sanely wait on a mutex or socket at the same time in linux.

Two Words: Group Policies.

SELinux + ansible.

group policies are user mode

How would you implement a group policy like "Audit the access of global system objects" in user-mode on Linux?

Hmm interesting. I thought that guy meant the whole group policy system, which can change settings in user mode programs (such as explorer) and is akin to /etc files or in the kernel (like the one you mentioned) and is akin to sysctl

The entire value of group policy is in the whole thing, not the individual pieces. The group policy system would be almost useless without the actual group policies it comes with; the actual policies and their vertical integration through the kernel and all the way to the UI are what bring in pretty much all the value. Viewing it as a glorified regedit or dconf-editor that's basically decoupled from the rest of the OS kind of misses the larger picture.

I use Linux everyday and I don't have Windows installed anymore.

But unlike many I actually like Windows though and used to be heavily invested as a .NET developer. I switched all that away though just because I didn't like the ads, forced updates, the cloud integrations and the tracking that were included in Windows 10 and felt forced.

This is what makes Windows 10 and Windows in general bad. Not the kernel or the other things in Windows. If Microsoft would start valuing these things again Windows would be less bad in my opinion.

I just use Linux because it's better, but it's only better right now and that could change in the future. I don't believe Windows 11 would be better if it ran Linux if it still had all those privacy-issues. It would be still as shitty in my view.

I am now heavily invested in Linux and has completely dropped my investment in the Microsoft-ecosystem. I start all new projects on Gitlab because I am actually mostly tired of big american companies that track and store everything and doesn't care about you.

Kinda garbage article offering nothing. Is Windows NT kernel really so bad?

The NT kernel is quite good.

The reality is that there are not a lot of ppl with knowlage of the kernel and linux enthusiasts often tends to have a very baised opinion towards windows.

Yes, the registry is terrible and Windows applications basically do whatever they want. Once you install a few applications and then try removing them you'll end up with a ton of junk left over. Dot files and standard /etc config files are a blessing. Linux package managers are orders of magnitude faster than chocolatey, which isn't part of the OS. Windows Updates are notoriously bad.

None of which has anything to do with the kernel.

Registry adds some features over text files: https://devblogs.microsoft.com/oldnewthing/20071126-00/?p=24...

It is designed for a simpler age and has not caught up. Lots of overhead for multitasking and multithreading (esp. creation), bad handling of NUMA, no actual handling of asymmetric processors (big LITTLE, per unit clock scaling). No way to enforce CPU limits per task. Expensive locking primitives with no handling of priority inversion.

And more...

> no handling of priority inversion

Uh... huh?

"The scheduler solves this problem by randomly boosting the priority of the ready threads (in this case, the low priority lock-holders). The low priority threads run long enough to exit the critical section, and the high-priority thread can enter the critical section. If the low-priority thread does not get enough CPU time to exit the critical section the first time, it will get another chance during the next round of scheduling."


> Expensive locking primitives


> It is designed for a simpler age and has not caught up.

A little ironic to read something like this when, say, unlike in Linux, their I/O system was designed to be asynchronous from the ground-up. Or when so much of Windows is so insanely extensible at so many points that I can't even begin to list them all (just consider how they literally implemented a Linux subsystem on top). Or when Linux literally just discovered the concept of waiting for a process to exit a few months ago.

Ok, you're crazy. The GPL licensing issues alone would be a nightmare for them, and possibly unsolvable from their business perspective.

Playstation, Mac OS and many others are based on BSD for that reason (and probably other reasons as well).

I cannot imagine a BSD-based MS Windows but it would be cool!

This would probably solve slow filesystem I/O (which is one of the major pain points for me when working under Windows, especially if you have a large number of small files).

However, it's important for Windows to keep backward compatibility for applications using old APIs. I think that's a major selling point vs. other platforms.

On the other hand, in my experience WINE runs older Windows apps better than my modern Windows 10 install does. Most things ~pre-2005 run really well, especially games which just refuse to boot on modern Windows (or require compatibility patches).

That article makes no sense. Even if we take it as given that the "Desktop Windows has had so many problems", none of those problems have anything to do with the NT kernel. Swapping one kernel for another thus have no effect on the desktop or any its "problems".

That was my first thought too, but I do wonder about one aspect here. Doesn't Windows' relatively slow file i/o result largely from the architecture of the kernel-mode I/O subsystem? That's the impression I got from reading up on the issues Microsoft was having trying to speed up WSL (and hence, in part, the move to WSL2).

Having said that, slow file i/o probably wouldn't rank that high in the average user's list of Windows issues.

The layers of the os are a lot more tightly coupled than meets the eye. This would be a HUGE effort with the result of keeping the status quo. Not a smart investment. It would be far easier to port the various subsystems and grow communities around them, as they have been doing in recent years. Eventually, you'll be able to develop any Microsoft tech in Linux or windows, and then windows will slowly fade into the sunset, as the desktop isn't important anymore.

The article it explained. And its an obvious pipedream.

Windows has all the API, wine doesn't have the API they reverse-engineered the compatibility layer.

Since Windows has the code it wouldn't take a lot. Plus a lot of drivers and what not is already implemented in linux

Biggest probably would be graphics but then again they have the API/code as they made it so they can easily connect the dots to make it work

That's not bad.

It's only taken 10 years and more since I suggested on Mini-Microsoft that Microsoft do 'an Apple' and put a Windows GUI on a Linux foundation just like Apple had put the Apple GUI on a BSD foundation. I remember that suggestion being howled down derisively by the Softies.

You can always trust Microsoft to do the smart thing .... after they've repeatedly wasted years and years and billions of dollars doing the dumb things.

>As it prepares Windows 11, Microsoft has been laying the groundwork for such a radical release.

Can I read about this anywhere? I didn't realise there will be a Windows 11

Microsoft has repeatedly said that there won't be.

If this really takes shape in some form I'd be interested in the status of WINE or how they would come up with any form of legacy emulation of older Windows programs. Right now it seems easier for Microsoft to emulate Linux programs with WSL or WSL2 than rewriting the Windows Kernel.

This is not a new fantasy, I've heard exactly this same theory mooted several years ago. It's obviously a very compelling one. Who wouldn't love it if Microsoft did an Apple and wrote the userspace on top of the Linux kernel?

Who wouldn't love it if Microsoft did an Apple and wrote the userspace on top of the Linux kernel?

But the whole conceit of the article is the Microsoft sucks at userspace.

Microsoft sucks at the desktop, but there's more to their userspace than that. If you want to play the latest games or use a lot of other applications, it's the only game in town* pretty much.

*Obviously, there's Wine and OSX, but still.

Never gonna happen

Too much fluff but nothing specific. What does it mean for "Windows 11 to run on Linux"? Port Win32 and DirectX to Linux? Start supporting Wine in some way?

Major distros are shipping with a better desktop experience than Windows right now, and it has been like that for a while.

If you don't like LibreOffice, try SoftMaker FreeOffice.

> a better desktop experience

I think that's debatable at best. Of course the experience is better because you don't get in-system ads, forceful cloud integration, and all the bad stuff that comes with Microsoft.

But my personal experience of Ubuntu is a constant struggle against randomly occurring bugs, inexplicable performance drops, crashes, and bad design. It's still worth it because it's Ubuntu, but I wouldn't celebrate the UX too much.

Out of the box, Windows is orders of magnitude easier to use for non-technical users.

Let me tell you about my latest Windows experience: I asked my son to bring his gaming notebook (Linux/Windows dual boot setup) so that I could test a tutorial on Node.js I'm giving next week. Of course, to download stuff I had to open a hotspot/WLAN access point for him on my phone. 5 mins later I received an SMS telling me my data was 80% exhausted. I setup the hotspot to disable his MAC, but then he needed additional downloads and I re-enabled his MAC so we could complete the tutorial test-run. He disabled automatic software updates, but 5 min later I received another SMS notifying me that my data plan was exhausted (all the while the notebook bringing up modals, toasts, and sounds like a gambling machine in a brothel). In the end it worked, but I can't understand how people can even work with Windows. The best thing about modern Windows IMHO is WSL/WSL2 to run Ubuntu. I've been using Linux and Mac OS exclusively since around 2003 or earlier, and I don't understand at all what people find hard about it. Installation of Ubuntu is about as easy as it gets. The most difficult part is deinstalling Windows when it comes preinstalled. But you can just buy a Dell notebook with Ubuntu LTS preinstalled for a much better experience unless you want to run games or legacy Windows apps.

> In the end it worked, but I can't understand how people can even work with Windows

It sounds like you are far more familiar with OS X and Linux than Windows.

> Installation of Ubuntu is about as easy as it gets

I still have tearing issues on my screen from the graphics drivers that I'm not sure how to fix. Windows has no such issues for me. I know there are issues with Windows too - they just never seem to occur to me.

While I agree this comparison isn't fair to the hard working developers of Linux, it illustrates the point that both operating systems are complex. The more familiar you are, the less problems it seems to have.

I moved all home computers to Linux a while ago and family members do not complain more that they were with Windows. It's more a thing of habit, I believe, as many are grown up with Windows.

Both have their quirks and I had a bunch of randomly occurring bugs under Windows as well. I vividly remember the update process claiming 100% CPU which required extensive research to fix. The worst thing I had with Linux so far was a Kernel update which prevented the Ethernet card from coming up after sleep. Switching back the Kernel fixed that immediately. A bug report later (that's definitely out of layman territory) I got a kernel parameter to add and after a while a proposed fix. That was more support than I ever got for Windows which I paid for.

Windows really shines in games and in corporate (AD/group policies). Not worth the spying for Windows Home.

> I moved all home computers to Linux a while ago and family members do not complain more that they were with Windows. It's more a thing of habit, I believe, as many are grown up with Windows.

Even literally double-clicking is pretty much always more painful for me (most pronounced on laptops) on Linux OSes than on Windows, and that's the most basic command on a GUI. Too often the mouse always ends up being too sensitive and moving when you're just trying to click, or the default delay ends up being too short, or the mouse ballistics end up being too awful and unnatural so you can't even aim the damn thing. Or like the window-close button doesn't extend to the screen border, so you have to aim the mouse like a sniper rifle at the close button just to close a window. And forget about many of the multi-finger gestures or other features of your touchpad/mouse; you're lucky if even both two-finger scrolling and edge scrolling work for your laptop.

Now I don't know about your family, but I wouldn't expect my grandma to tell me the mouse acceleration curve sucks or that there's a 3-pixel border that makes it hard to close a window, or that double-clicking turns into dragging when she's trying to click, or that the focus stealing prevention isn't working well, or the myriads of other things that Windows has clearly paid attention to and Linux is oblivious to. She'd just try clicking and get confused why it's not working until it works.

I observed none of these problems on the distro I use (Linux Mint) so far.

I concede that Linux desktops can suck if you are unlucky. But that's the case for Windows as well (I use that daily at work). Every update something changes which forces me to go to Duckduckgo... Another example: I use two monitors at work, a more recent one with high dpi and a really old one with lower dpi. I have to to use a lower than the natural resolution on the new one to get approximately the same font size on both. Although Windows shows up the correct dpi(!) numbers for both it is not possible to scale the font to the same size. Result: the new monitor is blurry whereas the old one is crisp. At home however, I have a 4 monitor set up where one of the monitors has a different resolution as well. No problem for Linux at all.

I stand by my opinion: Both suck evenly well, but one does not spy on me...

Plenty of solutions for your problem (that don't require to use a terminal):

a) Make the mouse slower

b) Use a smaller resolution

c) Increase Window scaling factor or equivalent

d) Use accessibility features

e) Use another mouse acceleration profile


You entirely missed the point I was making.

> Out of the box, Windows is orders of magnitude easier to use for non-technical users.

It's actually orders of magnitude easier for technical users who don't also happen to be Linux experts. I'm using Linux f/t right now, because the ways in which I like it are of high priority enough to me to put up with the negatives. But, damn, the negatives are legion. A couple of weeks in to this particlar OS iteration, and my installation has far more missing than a typical half-day old Windows 10 one. I have written up several github issues and half a dozen forum posts. There are so many little things that don't work, or that I haven't had time to tackle, or which blew up so badly I'm going to have to screw up courage to try them again, or which I'm reconciled to living with.

Which isn't to say that Windows is better overall (I've chosen Linux over it, after all), and there are definitely more desktop-ready distros out there than the one I happen to be using, but I'd be truly loathe to recommend Linux to any non-technical user who wants to do more than browse the web.

Inexplicable/randomly occurring?

You are talking about one of the most observable operating systems ever made. Those claims are very hard to take seriously.

I haven't experienced any of the problems you describe. But if I ran into a problem, I have have debugging symbols, source code, a debugger, profiling tools... whatever is happening would have an explanation.

> Those claims are very hard to take seriously

Which is exactly the problem with talking to linux ideologues. If you differ from them they always claim bad faith. Always.

To a person that hasn't tried Linux, your comment portraying the Linux desktop as randomly unstable and slow, without providing any specifics, seems not only like an exaggeration but is also that I as a user have not experienced at all.

It wasn't my comment. Your seemingly automatic replies barely reading what you're responding to is another classic hallmark of the ideologue.

>Major distros are shipping with a better desktop experience than Windows right now, and it has been like that for a while.

Can you provide some examples here? I'm running Kubuntu and it's OK but not Windows level of slick.

Problems I'm having are display scaling and multi monitor support for different display resolutions, shitty wifi drivers and networking needing a restart whenever coming out of sleep.

The only OS that's doing what you're claiming at the moment is ChromeOS just because everything is so wonderfully integrated and _just works_. Even if that comes with handing your life over to Google...

> Problems I'm having are display scaling and multi monitor support for different display resolutions

Endemic, I'm afraid (though before long someone's bound to chime in to inform us that these problems don't exist, you just need to read a half dozen Arch wiki pages and spend 4 days compiling things and .. voila!).

Anyway on the different monitor resolutions issue, does Kubuntu support Wayland? It does a better job than X11 for this in my experience.

Arch Wiki is a good resource, but for this particular problem it took me 10 seconds to get to this solution.


Thanks. I've been trying to like LibreOffice for years and hadn't heard of FreeOffice. I have to try it out - and am keeping my fingers crossed.

FreeOffice seems to be based on OpenOffice. There are keyboard shortcuts in PlanMaker that are very un-Excel like and that I think I recognise from OpenOffice.

I wonder what is their business model. There doesn't seem to be a paid option.

SoftMaker Office predates StarOffice/OpenOffice going Open Source by several years. As far as I know they don't share any code.

There doesn't seem to be a paid option.

There is: https://www.softmaker.com/en/

But for some reason they make it almost impossible to find from the FreeOffice page.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact