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Microsoft's “Love” of Linux (pedrocr.pt)
470 points by pedrocr 66 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 407 comments



Microsoft loves Linux because it makes them money. I'm not sure why anyone would expect differently.

They won't release products like Office for Linux (though a web interface is possible), and they won't move away from Windows-only APIs. Neither of those actions would have any tangible benefit for the primary users of those produts (Windows users and Windows developers, respectively).

Active Directory is so deeply integrated into the Windows stack that it will never come out. You can authenticate Linux clients against AD, but I doubt they'll be writing a Linux AD server any time soon. I'd imagine most corporate mail servers also support SMTP/IMAP, and Office365 has a web client. As far as ActiveSync goes, that hasn't been a thing since 2007.


> They won't release products like Office for Linux

Because the market for desktop Linux applications is too small to be worth considering.

The whole reason they "love Linux" now is because Linux on the server gained too much market share for them to realistically oppose. They had to find a way to make money in that market that didn't involve somehow boiling an ocean of Linux machines. So they did.

Windows is still overwhelmingly strong in the desktop market, though, so they have no such incentive to accommodate it there. Nobody retreats from a battlefield they've already won.


Microsoft have an established track record of offering, then withdrawing, MS Office for alternate platforms (or refusing to offer it at all).

I seem to recall that there was an Office version for Sun Microsystem's Solaris, which is 99.99...% of the way to a Linux variant. That was killed.

(This may have been MSIE or an Exchange-compatible email client, I'm researching this still.)

OSX is better supported, though for a long time Microsoft's email client was not Outlook but Entourage, a now-discontinued project. It had a typical-for-Microsoft opaque binary data storage format, though it's proved possible to extract useful information from this using Linux utilities.

Microsoft discontinued MSIE support on Mac in 2005, an issue given that many enterprise Web / intranet tools relied exclusively on nonstandard MSIE web extensions.

Office was never offered for BeOS, which I believe was a deliberate strategy decision, though I'm not finding evidence of this (JLG should be able to comment, if anyone has current contact). The lack was seen as a kiss-of-death for the OS and hardware.

Alternatively, what made RIM's Blackberry as popular among business executives as it was was its integration with MS Exchange email servers.

Strategic control over what ports were and were not supported by Microsoft, regardless of technical difficulty or merits, was a major element of that company's monopoly abuses.


You’re citing things that happened almost 20 years ago if you’re talking about Solaris and BeOS.


Precisely my point. The tiger rarely changes its stripes.


Microsoft isn't a tiger, it's a group of people. There is some continuity, but the people making those decisions are not the same people making those decisions now.



Must be why Apple went out of business selling weird computers that ran an unstable proprietary OS using PowerPC CPU’s. And Google never went back to China because of their founders’ personal/family experiences living under communism.


>an [MS] Office version for Sun Microsystem's Solaris //

Are you sure you're not thinking of StarOffice, which became OpenOffice.org which begat LibreOffice. That was Sun's answer to MS Office, supposedly started by realising it was cheaper to buy a company that made an office suite and develop it in-house than it was to pay MS for their suite.


I'm positive it wasn't Staroffice. I know that story ... painfully ... well.

It might not have been MS office, but MSIE or a specific application. I'm finding researching this online disappointingly fruitless, though I've got inquiries in a few spots.


I think MSIE and the Windows Media player appeared for Solaris for a really short while at least. Outlook Express too, it seems.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_Explorer_for_UNIX


> This may have been MSIE

Indeed it was: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_Explorer_for_UNIX


Thanks. That was part of it.

I think I may also have been recalling Wabi, a Windows Application Binary Interface for Solaris, effectively rather like Wine, I believe.

See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wabi_(software)


Not directly addressing my points above, but a 1996 Linux Journal piece by Michael K. Johnson describing the compatibility landscape at the time:

https://www.linuxjournal.com/article/1232


I ran IE (I think it was 3.0) on an HP-UX workstation back around the millennium.


Would it be too crazy to think Microsoft could one day adopt Linux as their core for their OS though? They could probably implement the Win32 API as an API for a distro much like Wine does (but much better and from scratch) and keep those portions proprietary. This allows their OS to run on more platforms than Windows ever has. Much like how Edge is now Chromium based.

Nothing is stopping them from making Linux server distros either since they do produce SQL Server for Linux as it is. They ported a lot of VS code to Mac (not it isnt just MonoDevelop) and were surprised by how much just worked due to the OO design.

Microsoft is embedding the Linux kernel already. Whats next? A linux friendly file system? Things are going to get interesting overtime.

I have no knowledge of what they are up to truly just a bit of speculation. But given what has happened in the last decade that is "not Microsofts MO" none of this would surprise me.


That is crazy. Because NT is an excellent kernel done by a industry legend (David Cutler). It runs on 80%+ of all desktop, is the grid below a cloud platform, is a game console and has a track record of being flexible enough to run on microcontrollers, phones, etc. And the complete hardware industry supports it.

There is no reason to switch to Linux, considering that they would need to reinvent the whole UI stack of Linux like MacOS did. Keeping a 50 people hired for Kernel development sounds cheaper.


Agreed. I did a lot of reading about the NT architecture 10+ years ago purely out of interest, and it's pretty amazing. And I'm saying this as a Linux person.

The only reason Linux is so successful is actually the fact that it's open source. For individuals (like me) because that gives you much more flexibility in customizing the system, tinkering with it, and more importantly, debugging problems and understanding inner workings.

But even for big corps (which are mostly running the show when it comes to Kernel dev these days) it's much easier to whack the Linux kernel into shape for whatever you want to achieve, than trying to work with Microsoft to get what you want from NT.


> The only reason Linux is so successful is actually the fact that it's open source. For individuals (like me) because that gives you much more flexibility in customizing the system, tinkering with it, and more importantly, debugging problems and understanding inner workings.

I agree a significant part (necessary part?) of Linux success among hackers and developers is it being FOSS... I don't know much about NT kernel but it would be quite interesting to see the alternate reality in which it was also FOSS and independent of the rest of windows, I wonder if it would have a similar success in the arenas Linux does.

There are some other really interesting FOSS kernels out there today like Minix3 (quite different from the Minix that inspired Linux), they are sure to have deficiencies when directly compared to something like Linux due to the difference in the shear size of community driving them, but they have noteworthy designs, superior in various aspects, and they make me wonder, is there only enough space in the world for so many popular FOSS kernels? i.e how much of Linux is now inertia much like windows desktop? (and I say this as a full time Linux user)


FOSS NT Kernel... It would only be successful when it is really FOSS and not company backed single main contributor FOSS like Chrome or .NET Core. As a kernel contributor I want to shape my kernel, not being overruled by a decision done in a meeting somewhere on a campus I never visited.

You would need extensive partnership agreements like what Google has with Microsoft regards Chrome or Samsung has with Microsoft regards .NET Core. Challenging for smaller vendors.

Linux has a more pure (not owned) FOSS style making it successful.


> they would need to reinvent the whole UI stack of Linux like MacOS did.

MacOS X is not based on Linux or GNU and it's UI evolved out of a combination of Next technology and features combined with re-implemented classic Mac OS features. So it wasn't exactly a clean slate.

More relevantly though, they put some effort into maintaining compatibility with programs written for their previous OS by both porting their APIs and providing CPU emulation! And that is on top of bringing the rest of nextstep up to standard for what consumers were expecting out of a desktop OS at the time.

> Keeping a 50 people hired for Kernel development sounds cheaper.

I doubt it, Microsoft can and has rewritten their UI multiple times... if they wanted to, they could write it for Linux atop their own ported windows API with little effort. I think they just lack the incentive to do so, Linux users wont care because they wont use it, Windows users wont care because they don't care about Linux... who will benefit? not Microsoft that's for sure.

From a business perspective MS behavior makes sense, they are embracing Linux because that's the way one half of the market is headed whether they like it or not... meanwhile their desktop business still has a hold on the market mostly out of inertia and legacy, so why would they do something as radical as change the core OS to mess that up?

However as the parent said "one day", maybe, in the future, when windows makes zero sense to run on metal, then perhaps microsoft will create an official and FOSS windows API... if only to relieve themselves from security support hell.


Yeah, you nail the point: there is no incentive. There is no benefit for them into it. Exactly my point.

The rest of their business is where the money is. Office runs one way or the other out of the web, on Android, iOS or macOS.


> They could probably implement the Win32 API as an API for a distro

I'm no sure the powers that be at Microsoft have any great love for Win32.

Back when Windows 8 was released they introduced UPM (Universal Windows Platform) and that looked a lot like an attempt to actually kill off Win32.

They only backed away from this strategy after the backlash they got from Win32 Windows developers.

Move on to today and I think they are now using platforms like .NET Core 3.0 to gently move developers away from Win32.


Wine is actually more compatible with older apps than Win32 implementation in Win10. Better alternative would be to extend Wine.


> They could probably implement the Win32 API as an API for a distro

They did, that's how SQL Server runs on Linux


the market for desktop Linux applications is too small to be worth considering

Yes, and the market for NeXT software was likewise until Apple decided to put it under a Mac shell. In fact, NT was the same until MS put it under a Windows shell. They could do it again, put Windows on a Linux kernel with a multiyear transition strategy and have the consumer and producer clients with the closest integration with Linux servers.


> Because the market for desktop Linux applications is too small to be worth considering.

I would also add in there are other open source options that are compatible and work well with MS Office now. Libre Office and Open Office are two such examples. I can now write my resume in either or and save it in a docx format, send it to a recruiter and then they can open it with MS Word without any issues.


The bigger competitor for Word and the rest of the office suite is not Libre or Open Office but Google Docs. It's cross platform and does away with local file storage, which is a security risk and a data loss risk.


The only thing they NEED to improve is version history comparison. I do not understand why it is so hard to "save" a version of a file before you make your own changes, so that others then can easily see what you changed.


Good call.

I haven't used Google Docs in a long time and had forgotten about them.


Yeah, until you encountered complex script and East Asian script.

As a Linux user I still maintain a Windows VM precisely for MS Office. On Linux, WPS Office is much better at handling these scripts though.


errr... I would still export it as PDF first. I wouldn't trust something as important as a job application to work perfectly. (I'm a Libre Office user on Windows. )


Vanishingly small...the Linux community are usually fan-faring increases in usage on a fractional part of a percentage increase, ~ 2%. And to me, how could they anyway, I can't find "a Linux desktop". There are many, which one would they port to? And as a shareholder, I would not want them to waste the money at this point...


> And to me, how could they anyway, I can't find "a Linux desktop". There are many, which one would they port to?

This was the very reason that prevented Google to release Google Chrome for Linux.


Maybe I'm missing your point, but Google Chrome is available on Linux and is available on pretty much any distro I've tried (and has been for many years).


If I remember right from years ago (2008-2010) the initial release of Chrome was just for Windows, and the Linux version was in beta for quite a while as just "Chromium" without much Google "cloud" integration.


Sarcastic or ignorant?


Both. GP knows Chrome for Linux exists but ignores that its need for auto-update doesn't play well with distros package management and it also statically-links or ships 3rd party libs. Clearly supporting diverse (fragmented) linux ecosystem is not easy at all.


> Chrome for Linux exists but ignores that its need for auto-update doesn't play well with distros package management and it also statically-links or ships 3rd party libs.

At least on Debian, it plays perfectly well with the Distro's package management. They use it to auto update google-chrome in preference to their roll their own on effort Windows. The same update system works perfect well on all Debian derived distro's. I'm not familiar with an rpm based distro to say for sure, but I imagine the situation is the same. So "fragmented" means supporting 2 very well tested distribution systems rather than rolling their own - and having the "take out all Macbooks" problems they did on OSX.


> ~ 2%.

2% of the human population are 154 million people. Sure, not everyone has a computer, so let's say 66 million people, this is the population of France.

> There are many, which one would they port to?

You don't actually need to support a specific desktop environment. Any UI program that you write will work just fine on KDE, GNOME, DWM, etc


>Any UI program that you write will work just fine on KDE, GNOME, DWM, etc

But which versions of which libraries do you target? Every distribution has its own menagerie. There is no well-defined "Linux platform" like there is with Windows (https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/win32/api/).


If your software is FLOSS, that's an integration problem for distro maintainers to solve and it hinges on said libraries being versioned properly. The bigger distros usually have 10,000+ packages and those are downloaded, installed and updated automatically which cannot be said of almost all Windows and OS X software. Really, only Android and iOS offer a similar experience.

If your software is proprietary (or not popular enough to be found in most repos), there's always container technologies like Snap/AppImage/FlatPak/etc.

As a Windows dev I find both of these to be vastly superior to the standard Windows practice of shipping every DLL that's not in system32 alongside your executable, on top of whatever VC++ redistributables and/or .NET framework might not be present on the system.


Just static link? Or do what windows software does, so ship dynamic libraries with your application. I do not see the issue.

> There is no well-defined "Linux platform"

There actually is! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux_Standard_Base


Core libraries like glibc and Xlib are pretty well defined. You need to ship your own copy of the widget library of choice, but that isn't a big deal. You could even ship an Xlib copy and rely on the fact that there is an X server speaking the same protocol. It's all perhaps a bit messy, but it works.


That is only true on X. With the wayland protocol, the DE also becomes the display server. And because of barndoor sized holes in the standard wayland protocol, apps will either have enormous testing effort or be limited to a DE or two.


And that's why wayland will never replace X


Most programs use existing libraries like SDL, GTK, QT, etc, which handle wayland integration on their part.


I work in an Industrious co-working space in Indianapolis. As I walk around the office and see people's monitors, it appears that about 30% of people are running Ubuntu.

Edit: Query re downvote, too subjective?


> Because the market for desktop Linux applications is too small to be worth considering.

And that is because office and other major applications aren't available on linux.


So it's a chicken and egg problem. I wouldn't "go first" if I were Microsoft, no reason to accelerate the obsolescence of windows desktop. Why not let eg. Adobe go first?


Linux is also much more popular for developers. WSL is a very well executed strategy to keep developers on Windows.


>Because the market for desktop Linux applications is too small to be worth considering. //

If MS Office were available for Linux the market for Linux applications would grow, massively IMO (assuming it worked properly). Which is of course a reason MS wouldn't do that, because why move MS Office users to Linux when you're currently selling $Billions of OS to people who only want to use MS Office.


Increasingly people don't care about productivity suites running locally. Office 365 and Gsuite work just fine with Linux.


>the market for desktop Linux applications is too small to be worth considering.

The market for Beethoven is also too small to be worth considering. What does the market know?


At one time, Manjaro Linux came with Microsoft Office pre-installed. The apps were built with python jade application kit with embedded webviews that take you to the online version - https://www.dedoimedo.com/computers/manjaro-ms-office-online...


That's impressive, has anyone else done something like this?


Yes, you can now add wrappers with Chrome as well.


FYI, Samba version 4+ is an Active Directory Domain Controller that runs on Linux.

Samba 4.11 is scalable to 100,000+ users.

In case you want to give us a try :-).


I have fond memories of running Samba on CentOS at my first tech job at a university. We only had to support enough infrastructure for a couple hundred people in our department, but we wanted to do it with entirely open-source software. There's no way we could have done that if not for Samba. So thank you for working so hard to make that possible!


I have dumped windows completely after spending some time on windows 8 (fyi: system level developer, but... Well i did my share on aix, hpux, solaris, linux, vms too, but I did love windows... Before the age of manifests, putting com interfaces into kernel32.dll,...)

What troubles me THE most on linux is interoperability of applications, there is literally nothing replacing microsoft "office" (not a product Office) stack, it is not a problem for my expertise, but for ordinary John Doe (or lets call him "the manager"), Exchange, Outlook, Sharepoint, Lync (Skype for business) integrated into Office mesh... They have great product. This is the target that linux must pursue. But it is not there. Still struggling to reinvent hot water (systemd, dbus,...), as it is more fun. But not more usable. Anyway, i am satisfied with my shell...


> putting com interfaces into kernel32.dll

I think I read this claim from you here before. What's up with that?

These days, kernel32 (split off into kernelbase and others in the Vista and Win7 days) mostly has small wrappers to ntdll.

A COM interface is really just a C++ VTable. So the "overhead" of that is basically minimum 3 function pointers and some indirect calls. What is the problem with having a COM object passed to a kernel32 function? Would you have the same objection if it were a (barely any different) function pointer plus an extra pointer for context?

The complaint about manifests maybe made me think this was about WinSXS or something. Which I would agree is engineered kind of poorly, but I doubt it's the worst thing in Windows.

[Disclaimer. I worked as an IC SDE at MS from 2008-2011.]


Hmm the average joe is already using google drive rather than office et al. Works on linux and mac better than the office stack works on windows.


I was really surprised to learn that according to Okta’s Businesses at Work 2019 report[1] Microsoft Office is still significantly more popular than G Suite, at least in the workplace:

> Office 365 increased its lead and continues to dominate the total pool of apps by number of customers, and it’s growing its active unique users by 55% year over year.

I wrote a bit about the report[2]. Another interesting finding is that people actually prefer using Microsoft Office products:

> Our survey found that 67% of knowledge workers prefer Microsoft Word over Google Docs, while only 15% report the opposite. When it comes to email, 49% prefer Microsoft Outlook over Gmail, while 35% report the opposite.

[1]: https://www.okta.com/businesses-at-work/2019/

[2]: https://blog.robenkleene.com/2019/08/31/office-suite-market-...


The Google Docs word processor objectively sucks, it's barely a rich text editor.

To wit, you can't even define custom styles!


Yes, it does. At the same time it works incredibly well for collaborative editing. But the number of quirks and errors in the product are enough to drive you mad.


And both Word and Google Docs pale in comparison to LaTeX for demanding customization work. But "barely a rich text editor" suffices for the vast universe of documents which barely need rich text.

Except when your target market is captured by network effects and demands a particular file format regardless of how appropriate it is for the material.


The lack of custom styles is really problematic for a very common use case, documentation. I'd rather use Markdown for the purely tech stuff, but I thought I'd use Docs for collaborating with non or less technical people. That just doesn't work, too tedious.


Google drive absolute shit on Linux.

Idk what it’s like on Windows but all Linux has is the web UI anyway so it’s probably the same.

It feels almost intentionally bad, I’m not sure what’s going on there but I’m pretty sure you couldn’t pay me to use it. IMO at least with SMB you don’t have to use that godawful file manager.


I agree. I've used rclone and another ML based program (forgot its name) with varying success for GDrive on Linux. RClone seems to be the best so far for my use case.

I wish Google provided better integration of GDrive w/Linux...


I'd be very surprised if this were true. My experience is that in actual offices, MS Office is king and it would be very hard to move most workflows away from it without exactly replicating it bug-for-bug.


Bug-for-bug? Nah. Just come up with something even remotely as productivity-enhancing as Excel is and you might have a shot. Fact is, people who think this already exists underestimate that powerhouse of productivity. It is possibly the most used programming environment on earth.


Here's my hot take, as a Linux distro developer with an Office356 sub: Excel is absolutely ridiculous and anyone who thinks anything in the FOSS world can compare or stand up to what Excel does is completely deluding themselves, and this is a major reason why Excel will never be replaced, or even touched, by FOSS solutions. PowerQuery is absolutely game changing (and no I will not accept "but you can cobble together awk and 5 other tools to run a preprocessing pipeline before opening your spreadsheet", that's not competition, it's a joke.)

I hate saying this considering how much LibreOffice, etc have invested -- but OTOH I imagine they understand their competition better than the average programmer who uses Office suites to track their month-to-month finances and thinks they've got it figured out.

There is the fact that actually challenging Excel as a product and implementing any competitor would technically require a substantial amount of labor and effort, on a very large scale. But that's just one part; the fact is that you can't actually win a battle unless you're willing to analyze where you've already lost. I think most FOSS users don't actually realize how badly they are losing to products like Office or even (the inferior, IMO) G-Suite. This isn't surprising in the grand scheme considering how much software freedom we've lost in the past few decades; it's just one more lost battle, but it still stings.

This isn't a situation that pleases me, but at the end of the day between an O365 family sub and the alternatives, it was very easy to make the choice given the returns I got.


TBF, depending on data size I’ve had much better results with awk and friends than with Excel.


Even Excel isn't as productivity enhancing as Excel is. Microsoft has been trying to get people into .net macros for years but a lot of places are still using VBA.


To be honest i never worked in such a backwards office where people still use ms office


Like it or not that is the majority of offices everywhere.


[flagged]


Please don't respond to a bad comment with a worse one, regardless of how wrong or annoying it was.

We've had to ask you this kind of thing more than once. Would you mind reviewing https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html and taking the spirit of this site more to heart? We'd be grateful.


I use Linux exclusively and have since 2003. Also, I don't put any of my work in google drive/docs/GSuite for anything. Google simply has enough of my life, I'm not giving them my business data as well.


Average student is using Google Docs and Drive but the office workers I hear are driven by corporate culture, and traditional places of work like accounting offices haven’t culturally embraced these kinds of solutions.


Things is like publisher, illustrator, etc. can replace word. Open office is respectable. But all the google docs champions need to wake up.

Google docs is absolutely inferior in its power, formatting options, display performance, ability to write mathematical equations and diagrams directly into the document, etc.

Every time I had to produce a non-trivial report in google docs I grind my teeth and end up rendering these things elsewhere and insert them as png.

Additionally, google docs gives you no ownership over the software or the files I find it's commercial model unsettling.


What do you use for math document formatting and presentation? The publishing world I'm aware of is still running on Adobe.


LaTeX


For diagrams try draw.io


It's not like we are using modern products in most local companies I've worked for in the last decade. Everyone is still on 2008 and older office products. Hell I'm lucky we have AutoCAD LT 2014 at my current job. Its the most up to date piece of software in the whole office other than web browsers.


At every company I've worked at gmail and google drive are blocked at the firewall. I dont know how any big company would allow their data to be stored or copied externally.


> Exchange, Outlook, Sharepoint, Lync (Skype for business) integrated into Office mesh... They have great product.

After a multi-year hiatus of using Windows (because my customers were running mostly on Linux, Mac OS or did BYOD), on my current industrial/research project I'm back to using Office (Skype for Biz, Outlook for team comm and partially Sharepoint, Excel and even PowerPoint (!) for spec docs) on Windows VMs and I have to say I can't fathom how these people can get anything done at all. Lync/Skype4b is bordering on ususable for me (normal Skype works just fine), and it not being available for Linux is a show-stopper. The only tolerable tool that doesn't get in the way all the time is Excel, and even that has laughably primitive versioning in SP compared to tools of the git era. With this office software lineup I think web-based tools will totally dominate the next decade.

Classic office suites on Linux is a sufficiently well solved problem with Open Office/Libre Office IMO, and I don't expect it to get any better, ever. The reason is simply that classic office software where people print out, sign, scan, paper-mail, and fax letters has run its course.


The stumbling block at this point (and quite frankly, for most of time) for Linux / Unix office suites hasn't been features. It's been OEM bundling/tying, enterprise bundling/tying, and a "good enough" widespread and effectively universal userbase / skillset.

In establishing standards, diversity is a weakness, unfortunately.


I believe Skype for Business has been discontinued, but I may be wrong.

Edit: I actually bothered to check and the EOL is 2021. New customers are directed to Teams. I used Teams at work, and it’s crap quality UX, but it does the job. For chat at least. (PowerPoint crashed on me multiple times this week from within Teams.)


Yeah, that's the problem. Linux Desktop evangelists think they can slap a new coat of paint on this cobbled-together kludge of disparately developed software and that'll be "good enough for everyone". They don't seem to understand the way desktop software fits into workflows that aren't their own.


A "cobbled-together kludge of disparately developed software" is how I would describe the average Windows' user's workstation. You only need to boot it to be immediately hit by a barrage of dysfunction. I think you're simply comfortable in your own mess.


I use Linux on 3 of the 5 computers I interact with frequently, and the Windows mess is not comparable to the Linux mess.


I use Linux on 3 of the 4 computers I interact with frequently and my experience is the exact opposite of yours. The linux ecosystem might be a mess but at least it is usable, unlike windows, where it is painful to do even the simplest task.


I'm having a hard time thinking of a simple task that is easier on Linux.

Here's an example in the other direction: install a piece of software to a different disk than the OS resides on. This is trivial in most Windows software, but requires recompilation from source for most Linux software.


> I'm having a hard time thinking of a simple task that is easier on Linux.

Installing any program, compiling a c file, opening non-zip archives, writing an iso to a usb, counting the lines that contain a certain word in a file, removing the preinstalled spyware, etc.

> install a piece of software to a different disk than the OS resides on

Windows is certainly much better than this than most distros (although it is not perfect, many programs such as the sims 2 expansion packs for example had issues with being installed in another disk). That being said, I am pretty sure that Nix does not have this issue.


tbf, those workflow probably can be replaced by a much better alternative. The only downside is people who wouldn’t learn a newer system of interaction with their computer. It’s like 737 Max8 except that mistakes and problems won’t cause lives to be lost.


Please, do suggest it. I, personally dont see a product group in oss that would function in that manner. Yes, you can set up LibreOffice with postfix, dovecot, nextcloud (with sh__load of plugins),... But the integration of it, even after some serious scripting is nowhere near from the microsoft solutions. You only have a bunch of lonely programs knowing how to do their job... more or less... well but completely unaware of each other. And quite frankly, I know it is "trendy" to run everything in browser, but to me (just a personal opinion, don't take it personally - I am old, I have seen mainframes, ibm,... and I know you will all be sorry for locking in into cloud vendors, saas solutions,...but at that point I wont care any more), browser is a joke. A huge step back in IT compared to what desktop apps already have.


> well but completely unaware of each other

The dysfunction on the main GUI level is even more obvious: using command line is still not necessary for a Windows user. Linux would be utterly unusable without the command line and the command line programs. I believe that even those who write GUI and GUI apps themselves aren't using them.


I actually agree with you. But I think the need for office software is grossly exaggerated. There’s no reason how one couldn’t articulate reason as well in a markdown file. Excel is the only thing remotely useful but even that can be replaced with pandas. The whole workflow itself - the fancy stuff, is unnecessary complex.


> Sharepoint

Sharepoint is an abomination, always was and always will be. It's not something that you'd use voluntarely.


Amen.


I once tried running MS Office 2007 on Linux with Wine and it worked great, no quirks I could notice. That happened during the days when Office 2010 was new and mos of the people still were using 2007. Some time later I've read 2010 already works fine, tried it and it did. Newer versions probably work ok too as for today. You can use MS Office on Linux and it's hardly a problem (hint: the real problem is Adobe). Why? Because Linux is more safe (that's why I migrated people who use MS Office to it), faster, more cool/convenient/customizable (e.g. I feel like the latest KDE provides "like Mac but even better" experience), more reliable (updates are frequent and never ruin your system) and free (which is a thing in countries with less developed economies).


I think the only way in which "Microsoft loves Linux" can be scrutinised is: does a successful Linux ecosystem help or harm Microsoft.

That it forms part of their business model is not enough, if Microsoft would prefer dominance of its proprietary technologies.

Conceivably, the future of Microsoft's business model may be where development and maintenance of Windows / the NT kernel is deemed burdensome and not critical to their business, and Windows becomes a premium Linux distribution with legacy subsystems.

Using Linux at work, I'm indirectly a Microsoft customer, using Office 365 and Azure (an expanding portion of their business), yet the investment in Windows desktop is lost on me, and unnecessary to retain my business.


This is correct.

On the client-side, MS is not worried much about Linux desktop and hence will not invest in office for Linux.

On the server-side, Linux is a platform of choice for new projects (I would say Kubernetes and containers but those are based on Linux) and hence windows server moved to a more legacy state.

In this case, if Microsoft wants to be relevant for future projects, it must embrace Linux.

However, since there is no money in Linux as an OS, Microsoft is in the process of becoming a hardware company due to azure. And as such, it would like to commoditize its supplement which is the OS.


> Microsoft loves Linux because it makes them money. I'm not sure why anyone would expect differently.

Microsoft has a history that makes skepticism warranted. Look up "Embrace, Extend, and Extinguish"

Off the top of my head:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Java_Virtual_Machine

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v._Microsoft_Cor....

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embrace,_extend,_and_extinguis...


It's mentioned in the beginning of the article...

Plus, I don't see how this contradicts the OP. Maybe EEE was the best way to make money then, but supporting Linux developers is the best way to make money now


> they won't move away from Windows-only APIs

Office already runs on MacOS and iOS


Runs ... but not well. It may be different now but I knew an engineer on the Office for Mac team some years back and it did not sound like a pretty port. I have both a Mac and a Windows machine at work and Excel on the latter is lightning fast compared to the former.


Haven't had issues with Word on the Mac. Seems very fast on my MBP. However I prefer using Pages, Keynote etc. if I can help it. I don't use Numbers, as I usually prefer Google Sheets for that.


I wouldn't say they'd never do an Office on Linux... If you look at how they've been leveraging web tech and Electron for VS Code and MS Teams, I'd be very surprised if we didn't see an Electron based version of Office in a couple years. Electron has an amazing cross platform appeal for developers and MS has taken advantage of that. Not to mention managing to write applications under Electron that don't suck (though memory usage is high). And despite high memory usage, Office has never been that nimble in terms of ram use anyway.

As for AD, Azure's hosted services for this may well see more inroads into Linux, and I know a LOT of people/companies that would be beyond happy to use MS account management with a cleaner Linux integration.

I won't be using these things at home any time soon, but in a corporate space, MS would be a welcome and cost saving change compared to what is out there on Linux currently.


The market share for Linux on the desktop is tiny - I can't ever see Office for Linux.

Not sure about your memory claim either - I don't recall high memory usage in Office ever being an issue.


I can't see an Electron based Excel appearing. Excel is pretty much the best spreadsheet application that exists in terms of performance. Using Electron would likely kill that to the point that no one would use it. The browser based versions of Office applications fall short when you start pushing them hard already - they're fine for light editing, but I wouldn't use them for anything substantial.


I can very much imagine a Goole Stadia but for real apps rather than games, where you are interacting with a video stream rather than the app itself.


That already exists. Citrix was doing this a decade ago - VMware too. I think Office was even one of the apps Citrix used to demo its thin client plan when Chromebooks first launched. Honestly, containerize it (for easy spinups), and if you have the bandwidth, a lot of apps would probably be really great run fully remote.

Microsoft released Windows Virtual Desktop earlier this year that is basically a cloud version of Windows 10 (or 7) or Office, that’s designed to be used like Stadia.

Disclosure: I work at Microsoft but not on any of these projects


Do you know if they run in a browser on Linux?


If you're asking if WVD desktops can be delivered to a Linux browser, yes - there's a HTML5 client that renders desktops. In addition, a Linux toolkit was announced for thin clients in the recent Ignite conference.

https://myignite.techcommunity.microsoft.com/sessions/81670?...


I’m 90% teams doesn’t work on Linux and have been using the web app for a long time now. I sorely miss the slack desktop app and would to be corrected if this is possible now.


Well, if the buzz I've heard recently (and the article below) are correct. A native Linux "Microsoft Teams" client is coming (pretty sure I heard mid-December)

https://www.windowscentral.com/its-official-microsoft-teams-...

EDIT: Yup, the link referenced by the article (https://microsoftteams.uservoice.com/forums/555103-public/su...) says:

"We’re pleased to confirm the Teams client for Linux will be available in preview by the end of this calendar year, enabling people who use Linux client at work or in educational institutions to collaborate with others on Teams. Users will be able to install native Linux packages in .deb and .rpm formats."


Yeah, teams was pretty badly broken even a few months ago... There's an "unofficial" client in Flathub, that's what I've been using and it mostly works now... the only broken feature I'm aware of that I haven't re-tried is the desktop sharing... but the A/V chat and webcam now work.


It used to work fine in the browser if you spoofed your user agent to Edge. They shut that down somehow. The standalone client still works with a little wrapper (see teams-for-linux).


>Microsoft loves Linux because it makes them money. I'm not sure why anyone would expect differently.

It should really be "<X corporation> loves <Y> because it makes them money" because let's be honest, the only reason these companies make any decisions, moral or not, is to make money They supported <any movement> and showcased these supports with events, banners, and advertisement only because that's what they _need_ to do to make _profit_.

They could easily discard all of these values the moment a government or a market said they can't do it. Just look at all the companies bowing down to China.


> They won't release products like Office for Linux

This one I don't really understand why not. Presumably Office for Linux would still bring in revenue. Just not the additional indirect revenue of a Windows license.

> (though a web interface is possible),

I am not totally familiar with the "Office365" brand and what it includes, but I get the impression some browser based stuff already works on Linux. In work accounts at former employers I have used a web-based Outlook on Linux and FreeBSD that had some "Office365" branding.

> and they won't move away from Windows-only APIs

This one I don't know why they would ever do. Win32 apps are still driving revenue and customer satisfaction for them. More, I think, than they admit to themselves. Witness they tried to kill Win32 apps in the Windows 8 cycle, and failed. Then kept trying to resurrect the idea of killing Win32, and had to walk it back every time. Surface RT wouldn't do third party Win32 apps. Neither would Windows Store initially. Then they floated a Windows 10 amd64 SKU that couldn't run third party Win32 apps. Nobody wanted this stuff. That legacy is pretty much the only thing that keeps people on Windows.


Don't forget the expense of porting it in the first place, and then maintaining it after.


> maintaining it after

This is the real elephant in the room. Despite all their other flaws Microsoft has an excellent record of maintaining their software well after release. Particularly when it comes to their core products like Office or Windows. WIN32 programs or XLS files from 30 years ago still work on the latest versions.

If Microsoft didn't have this commitment, then porting Office to Linux as an experiment might be worth it. Even if there's a 10% chance it takes root, that's good revenue. But even if only a small base of users bought Office Linux it, Microsoft's reputation would require them keep maintaining it for decades.


To echo what you were saying, binary distribution on Linux is indeed tough.

A while ago I needed to experiment with an old file format, and I found a Linux binary of a proprietary tool from the 90s. It linked to libc version 5 (from before the Linux world adopted glibc). It would have been complicated to get it running.

I found a Windows binary of the same tool. Put it on a Win10 VM I had for other purposes. No issues.

Stable binary ABI of userland is something the Linux world doesn't do well. Win32 and COM are really good at this.


If that tool linked libc statically, it would have worked. Linux does provide a very stable binary ABI in form of syscalls, so long as you bundle all your dependencies. The problem is that nobody does it that way in practice, at least not with the commonly used tools.


Well, 2 things:

* There are, right now, online browser-based versions of most of their office applications available, which work fine on Linux.

* if [1] is anything to go by, we might see client-side Javascript/Electron based clients, which would make the porting to other platforms a lot cheaper/easier to maintain. Even if a "native" (read: electron-wrapped) Linux client wouldn't be in the works, the browser-based versions will probably be just the exact same version.

[1] https://twitter.com/TheLarkInn/status/1006746626617008128


Why not?

Maybe the OS market was profitable for decades, but isn't anymore?

Maybe their goal is to move everything to Linux in the next decade so they don't have to develop their own stuff, getting all that free OSS dev power and can control them by supplying cloud based user-land software, because "Linux never breaks user space"... who knows.


Office online is already a thing and available for free https://products.office.com/en-us/free-office-online-for-the...


AD will be gone in the 2030 timeframe.

Kerberos can’t survive in untrusted networks, and products like Azure AD and Okta are far more profitable, especially since the license that pays for AD (ie windows, even for Linux clients), is required anyway!


> Kerberos can’t survive in untrusted networks...

Wasn't Kerberos designed to work in untrusted networks?


It was, but Active Directory wasn't. If you put your DCs on the Internet you're asking to get hacked.


Another point worth mentioning is that as we move towards zero trust by default, AD getting replaced by Azure AD is a logical step towards that goal.


Kerberos is designed for untrusted networks.. and Azure AD is just AD hosted somewhere else. Same problems.


> Azure AD is just AD hosted somewhere else

Azure AD DS (https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/services/active-directory-...) is a specific offering from Azure which gives you a hosted AD instance, but otherwise AAD is completely different.


AD is mostly used internally on corporate networks. Why would untrusted networks be relevant?


As corporate datacenters migrate to the cloud, the distinction between internal and external will fade.

Additionally, with cloud email/office becoming the standard, there’s powerful levers to incentive cloud adoption and shifting of compliance standards.


> As corporate datacenters migrate to the cloud

I don't think this trend is as large as SV web devs think it is, nor do I think the trend will continue indefinitely in that direction. My current corporate masters hate the cloud because they want to be in control of their own data and services. They don't want to twiddle their thumbs when somethings wrong while waiting for BigCorp to get around to fixing it. They really, really don't like paying rent on business essential tooling.

And they've pretty much been proven right in all their concerns so far.


Consider both ways: even if you run 100% of your backend on-prems, a significant portion of your routes may go outside to reach roaming employees, remotes, maybe customers for some apps, etc. You likely have some Infrastructure-as-a-Service, dynamic subnetting and addressing for containers, VPNs, firewalls to cross, etc. AD and MS Server DCs in general are just not suited to this environment, where IPs may change on-the-fly, hosts die quickly, etc.

You typically need a more robust, web-compliant solution using e.g. tokens + MFA and web-compliant centralization of authority and certs on e.g. Consul or Red Hat Identity Management.

That being said, IMHO, it's a much saner and safer approach to bite that bullet and setup a rock-solid ID/Auth system on-prems (or at least vendor-agnostic and load-balanced over at least 2 major providers). It's really the kind of low-level infra that you can setup properly once and use for a decade, + cost of extra features you may want to add later.


> AD and MS Server DCs in general are just not suited to this environment

Don't know what you're talking about, they work just fine. All of our branch offices and salesmen are remote workers.


I think that really big and really small companies will go the way you describe.

Most places want to control capex and limit capacity wastage. Nobody wants to invest in datacenter facilities. Even the government, which has access to super cheap capital, is embracing cloud.

The shift is real. In my area, a major infrastructure OEM like HPE has like 2 CEs that cover the region. There was probably 14-16 20 years ago.


Because the distinction of internal and external networks is eroding. Read about zero trust networking.


That's not a trend we're interested in following. You bring your own device? Fine, it's on the guest network that is treated like the internet as far as our services are concerned. This isn't rocket science.


If your services are internet accessible and secure, what is the distinction between your trusted internal network and the internet?

The answer is usually that legacy apps, SMB, Voip, and printing require trust derived from the network.


AFAK SAMBA 4 can serve as an AD controller and you probably can run it on Azure. Or even on a Windows server if you want (I used SAMBA client on Windows once).


Kind of. A full AD DC isn't supported by redhat (it's disabled) as the MIT kerberos "port" is incomplete and seems dead.


> You can authenticate Linux clients against AD, but I doubt they'll be writing a Linux AD server any time soon.

They did it for SQL Server, and they built a full API compatibility shim to do it:

https://techcrunch.com/2017/07/17/how-microsoft-brought-sql-...


Doesn't Apple Mail still use ActiveSync to connect to Office 365?


The online Office 365 works great on Linux in the browser. And they're bringing their Chromium-based Edge to Linux to make sure users have a perfect experience.


> I doubt they'll be writing a Linux AD server any time soon

They don't need to. Samba exists; nothing stopping Microsoft from sending in patches.


>Microsoft loves Linux because it makes them money. I'm not sure why anyone would expect differently.

I rather thought the point of the article was that Microsoft didn't actually love linux but pretended that it did to stave off irrelevance in markets where linux is kicking their ass (i.e. server).

As he said, if they really loved linux and this isn't just another "embrace, extend, extinguish" ploy sugarcoated in PR niceties they'd be porting office and directx and outlook to linux.

Which they're not.


My view of Microsoft, and I'd be interested to hear if it's bullshit from people who have worked there, is there isn't such an entity.

The dev tools and .NET team actually like Linux, the Windows team hate those guys, the Office team hate everyone, the Skype team hate their lives, the Nokia team, well...

Expecting a single determined vision from Microsoft isn't rational. It's multiple business units who don't really coordinate and just happen to share a logo.

Again I've only formed this view from hints and allusions but it seems to explain a lot.


None if the examples given are particularly sensible.

Turn Word into a webapp? This has been happening for years, but no web editor can offer even 50% of the functionality offered by Word. Office365 is competitive with GSuite.

Drop Win32? That's basically asking Microsoft to commit suicide and destroy all companies who rely on windows to run their software. They were trying to get people to move to UWP, and look how hard that has been.

Port DirectX? Maybe, don't know. Given that Unity and Unreal both support OpenGL, Metal, Vulkan, and they are available on Windows, would this make any difference?


If you define "sensible" as "might impact existing MS monopolies" then no, NONE of it is particularly sensible.

Microsoft doesn't love Linux if it interferes with its monopolies. It never did and it never will. That's the whole point.

It didn't turn over any new leaf like it claimed. It just adapted its existing strategy as a means to stave off impending irrelevance in the server market.

Not turning over a new leaf WAS the "sensible" thing to do.


DirectX 12 is actually more easy to swallow for the average Joe programmer than Vulcan so maybe it does make sense.


You're using "love" in different ways. I also love cookies, but I'm not in a committed, lifelong romance with them. (Well, maybe I am. Bad example.)


Yes, especially when they can extort patent fees with their patent protection racket from anyone that builds a Linux or Android device.

Microsoft continues to make billions of dollars a year in royalties by accusing device makers of patent infringement.



You can’t really auth Linux clients against AD, because you will kill the AD servers.

AD and ADAM are shockingly low performance compared to Sun/Netscape LDAP. They depend on extensive client side caching to work at all.

If you want to tie Unix clients to AD, the first step is to mirror your AD content in a more competent LDAP cluster


Absolutely not true at all. Various Linux distributions support MSAD integration out of the box.


A web interface is already a reality.[1] Work great with Chrome or Chromium. Not a full featured office, but in general very nice. [1]https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/office/ndjpnladcal...


A Chromium-only extension is not a "web interface".


Sure it is, in the sense that it’s very likely not using any Chrome-specific APIs (Chrome right now has the least exposed extension API surface to regular, non-ChromiumOS extensions) but rather at most being equivalent to an Electron app, where some of the HTML and JS lives and runs on the client rather than on a server. But that HTML and JS still is HTML and JS built for a web-rendering-engine to parse and run, so it should be fully possible to turn this extension into a regular web-app with not very much work. Probably any sufficiently-motivated programmer could do it in a couple of hours, throwing the result in an S3 bucket for anyone to access. (Not sure how well it’d run on other browsers, but we still call regular web-apps where the developers happened to only test it in one specific browser “web interfaces.”)


It's not just the web versions of Office that work on Linux. On Chromebooks, the Android runtime ensures that the Android MS Office apps run full-screen and take advantage of the large screen and keyboard[1,2].

[1] https://imgur.com/a/rp0VFR4 [2] https://www.windowscentral.com/microsoft-android-apps-chrome...


> Microsoft loves Linux because it makes them money.

No, no, no. That's not the reason. Have you actually read the article?

The reason is that Microsoft is doing a sophisticated stratagem against Linux. It wants to infiltrate the Linux ecosystem, and then when they can keep taps on every piece of essential software, they will pull the plug.

The same with patent pledge, they want to bait as much companies to use Linux thinking that Microsoft will not patent troll them, and then they will reveal their true intentions, and sue them all.

That trick even got a name now. People in the industry called Microsoft's infiltration strategy "Embrace, Extend, Extinguish"

Linux crowd will soon realise what trick they are trying to do, and I hope they will do that before it is too late.


I'm not sure I follow what the author is getting at other than "We should hate MS and do our best to not work with them on anything!".

First it was "MS breaks compatibility on purpose, screw those guys!". Now it's "sure, they're playing nice but they don't have a product in every market segment we want so they must have some nefarious master plan we haven't figure out yet!"

Everytime I hear someone say "just look, they don't support office on Linux!" I ask: and what exactly do you think the market share is of guys who love Linux so much they use it on the desktop, but also would PAY Microsoft for Office vs. just using LibreOffice or Google's office suite? If you think MS hasn't done the math and figured out that solution would never break even much less turn a profit, I guess I'd ask anyone making that claim to show their work.

I can tell you unequivocally the thing holding back the average enterprise from moving their entire business to Linux on the Desktop is NOT Microsoft Office, if it were they'd just tell everyone to use Office Online and move on with life.

PS: I assume all these Linux on the Desktop guys complaining about not having Office on Linux already are subscribed to o365 and use Office Online exclusively, proving to MS there's demand. Right?


If Office was available for Linux, some organizations could consider deploying Linux workstations with Office since that's what most users/employees need is basically a browser (100%/users) and the Office suite (50-90%/users). Office Online is severely gimped as noted in the article and is solely to counteract adoption of Google Office.


What kind of an assumption is this. Most people need an operating system they are comfortable doing their daily work, not just a browser and a notepad. Jesus christ, not all non-devs work only in office.


> Most people need an operating system they are comfortable doing their daily work.

True, and Windows is very entrenched partly due to Office and legacy software depending on it. Chromebooks and Mac OS seem to be adopted without to much hindrance from a UI perspective. i.e How much more populate would Chromebooks be if they ran the full desktop Office suite?

> not all non-devs work only in office.

Certainly not all but a lot of jobs, particularly in management consist mostly of emails, meetings, spreadsheets, word documents + a few web apps.

Also, lets not forget about all the jobs where the computer isn't really part of the job at all; it's just a tool to communicate (email) and for document production/consumption. These machines are basically kiosks that Microsoft has milking licenses out of for Windows + Office + 365 Storage.

Some businesses can switch to Google but many rely on existing Excel spreadsheets elsewhere in their organization so there is a lot of momentum to switch away from non-desktop spreadsheet and document applications.


I disagree with this 'legacy software's moniker, all the most productive software falls into this category.

Look at the Autodesk Suite, Adobe Suite, Enterprise Architect, blender3D, Unity game engine, a traditional IDE like Jetbrains or VisualStudio.

They have waay more power than the their web-based or, worse yet, electron competitors.


I was only referring to software that's still tied to Windows out of legacy/inertia. I'm not saying all desktop applications are legacy. But It's appropriate because if those application were going to be rewritten today, there is no way they would tie them exclusively to the Win32 API.

Blender, Jetbrains IDE's, and even VSCode (pretty sure Unity is multiplatform too) are all working just fine with multiplatform and aren't dependent on any particular OS. If you've ever had to deal with Autodesk like software, it's a mess of old code and poor practices. It's a nightmare getting that kind of software working for Enterprise/Educational environments. Just looking at the Enterprise Architect site brings me back to the days when software used to come on actual disks in large, book-like boxes.

Yes, the software is useful and has yet to be replaced by something more modern, whether web based or at least multi-platform. But that's why it's entrenched in many businesses and Microsoft is riding on the back of that by making sure it's tied to their platform.


I agree in principle, i really want most software to be multi-platform.

However I cannot ignore the reality that multi-platform software is fraught with peril, either for the developer (QT and the like) or for the user (electron).

Each platform moves, introduces updates, removes support and features (looking at you, OsX!).

For some people the choice is: single platform, or no software at all.


Yeah, it's a common sentiment by people who are completely out of touch with how people work outside of dev.


You're also making the assumption that Linux would be difficult to use outside of Office to non-devs. I challenge the assertion that a distro like Ubuntu in 2019 is any harder to use than Windows nowadays. Would you make the same assertion about something like Windows XP? Ubuntu has almost 20 years on Windows XP. What have people used their current OS for that is so different from what they did with XP? I think that there's validity in the argument that the availability of a solid suite of key professional software (e.g. Office, email client, Internet browser) would influence the adoption of Linux by organizations. Love it or hate it, nothing compares to MS Office on any platform by far, unfortunately it's also one of the last few of those key professional app that's not available on Linux.


No, they wouldn't. What kind of claim is this? Active directory, group policy, etc. If you're running an org on Google Business, sure, but most large organizations are running AD and Windows works well with that.


What is a good example of it being gimped? I honestly think its better online than the apps themselves.


Excel is much more limited in the browser compared to the desktop app.

Conditional formatting for example can not use formulas in the online version.

The browser version is good but it's not at the same level as the desktop or even Google sheets yet.


See https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/office365/servicedescriptio...

When you see a footnote next to a 'Yes' in the online version, read it as a 'No for 90% of use cases'.


In Office 365 Excel, there is no way to zoom out or in besides the browser's zoom which causes the whole UI to be scaled.


You may want to look in their uservoice forums to see how requested that feature is, and upvote it. I've seen a few of the features I've requested and supported bear fruit from this.


> "First it was "MS breaks compatibility on purpose, screw those guys!". Now it's "sure, they're playing nice but they don't have a product in every market segment we want so they must have some nefarious master plan we haven't figure out yet!"

You're framing this as a change in narrative from Microsoft critics, but I don't think that's a fair way to frame it. 20+ or so years ago people were accusing Microsoft of Extinguishing and now people are accusing Microsoft of Embracing, but if you actually listen to what people were saying they've been talking about Embrace, Extend, Extinguish the whole time. I think the narrative from Microsoft critics has remained consistent.


> Everytime I hear someone say "just look, they don't support office on Linux!" I ask: and what exactly do you think the market share is of guys who love Linux so much they use it on the desktop, but also would PAY Microsoft for Office vs. just using LibreOffice or Google's office suite? If you think MS hasn't done the math and figured out that solution would never break even much less turn a profit, I guess I'd ask anyone making that claim to show their work.

Microsoft crunched the numbers for the platform rather than the software and decided to steamroll over the ODF format[1]. The largest revenue for MS Office comes from enterprises who do care about paying less for the OS if all they are going to use is a wordprocessor or spreadsheet. Are you claiming that desktop linux would not have been adopted by enterprises if they could get the same document render and be editable exactly the same manner irrespective of the vendor software being used ?

MS has had a long dirty history. I am not opposed to giving them the benefit of doubt but it is way too little, and way too early to do this right now.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standardization_of_Office_Open...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standardization_of_Office_Open...


>Are you claiming that desktop linux would not have been adopted by enterprises if they could get the same document render and be editable exactly the same manner irrespective of the vendor software being used ?

I am ABSOLUTELY claiming that. No legitimate enterprise is going to roll-their-own Linux desktop. They're still going to want a centralized directory server tied into their mail server as well. So now they need to replace AD with? Exchange with? And they're paying Redhat or Canonical an enterprise support fee on every desktop. So now they get to retrain their entire workforce (as well as additional training for all new hires) in order to save? 5%? 10%? What's the magic number you think makes them want to go through the business disruption of that kind of a change?


> I am ABSOLUTELY claiming that

Oh well, I disagree with you on that then. However, irrespective of how we feel it could have turned out, the fact remains that Microsoft deliberately pushed for standardization of a document format which at the time of standardization did not have a complete reference implementation even by Microsoft itself !!

They could have simply adopted the ODF format (still can if then want to) but chose not to.

The funny thing about this discussion is, seeing things a different way, it is me who is saying MS had the foresight/business acumen to see how a standard they control can lead to lock in/dependence of their platform and you're dismissing that with claiming their reasoning was a simplistic 'ah, nobody will pay us for that, why bother'.

In any case, my initial (and I suspect the OPs) assertion is valid --

MS has had a long dirty history. I am not opposed to giving them the benefit of doubt but it is way too little, and way too early to do this right now.


I'm curious as to why I'm being downvoted. Do people disagree with the reasoning or do they disagree about the actual facts of what happened ? I'm OK if you are down voting because you think this has nothing to do with the point being commented on (although I disagree) however if it isn't I'm curious about the reasons.


Microsoft has historically been the single greatest enemy of Linux and Open Source in general. The only reason they now changed face and hopped on the Linux train is that they realized they lost or cannot possibly win the battle when it comes to servers, embedded devices, a large section of developers, mobile, etc.

> I can tell you unequivocally the thing holding back the average enterprise from moving their entire business to Linux on the Desktop is NOT Microsoft Office

It may not be office specifically, but vendor lock-in with various MS products is definitely a huge factor.

Also, every single "quoted" piece of your comment is cheap strawman.


People don't use Linux Desktop because it is bad. Constantly looking for others to blame (Microsoft, DRM, Google, Valve, Apple, etc) doesn't change that fact.

The fact that Google has been able to take the Linux kernel twice and produce a better and more popular desktop experience (with Android and then Chromebook) should be a good indication of that.

Linux Desktop is exclusively designed for Linux developers, it is user hostile, highly inconsistent, difficult to centrally manage, not accessible (and thus could leave employers liable to lawsuits in some countries), and buggy.

Incidentally Microsoft does have a version of Office that runs on Linux: Office Online. Yet somehow nobody is quitting Windows, MacOS, and Chromebook to go Linux Desktop even for completely free. If you want Linux Desktop to be a success, maybe spend less time finding the latest scapegoat and more time helping make it a good user experience.

Personally I don't think it can be fixed not because the software is beyond saving, but the community surrounding it doesn't actually want it to be an experience for regular non-technical people. Try going to a mailing list and suggesting that editing text files in /etc isn't a practical end-user experience and see what response you get.


>People don't use Linux Desktop because it is bad.

There is a reason why it is not offered as an option to be preinstalled on laptops except in a few instances.

That reason is not "because it is bad".

The windows license is a tax on laptops. End of story. I have a dell xps 13 and even I paid it (dell's developer edition laptop is often hard to acquire for some reason).


> That reason is not "because it is bad".

I think it quite literally is, or at least that's a part of it (I won't say Microsoft strong-arming has zero effect). Linux would be an exceedingly poor experience for most customers—worse even than Windows with all the preinstalled crapware some manufacturers add.

The first netbooks ran Linux. The choice seemed to make sense. Cost was paramount, and manufacturers needed something exceedingly lightweight.

But I remember reviews from the time explicitly recommending that people ignore any netbooks that don't come with Windows. It didn't take very long before they almost all switched over to XP.


> Personally I don't think it can be fixed not because the software is beyond saving, but the community surrounding it doesn't actually want it to be an experience for regular non-technical people. Try going to a mailing list and suggesting that editing text files in /etc isn't a practical end-user experience and see what response you get.

Thank you. This is the truth, and your attitude on the issue will tell you which dog you have in the fight;

The non-technical among us, the 80-90% if you will, are not going to use a desktop Linux distribution the way they are currently setup. A home user is not going to use Google to fix a problem. They're not going to call their technically-inclined family member. They're not going to edit text files nor understand the minutiae of their hardware (and it WILL happen, eventually, 100% guaranteed). They are either going to throw "that piece of shit away" or they're going to call their buddy Steve who can put Windows on it.

Unfortunately, the community is still "the community," and much like those kids who wouldn't get out of their parents' basements, they're now in their 50s, crusty and pedantic as hell, sitting in their own ivory tower, incidentally not much different than the one they rebelled against in the 90s. Anyway... blah, blah, blah.


> The non-technical among us, the 80-90% if you will, are not going to use a desktop Linux distribution the way they are currently setup. A home user is not going to use Google to fix a problem. They're not going to call their technically-inclined family member. They're not going to edit text files nor understand the minutiae of their hardware (and it WILL happen, eventually, 100% guaranteed). They are either going to throw "that piece of shit away" or they're going to call their buddy Steve who can put Windows on it.

So what are they going to do when they encounter a problem on windows? Pretty sure MS hasn't yet figured out how to directly install a Window manual into their userss brains, and the thousands of unanswered windows troubleshooting questions online can attest to that.

> Unfortunately, the community is still "the community," and much like those kids who wouldn't get out of their parents' basements, they're now in their 50s, crusty and pedantic as hell, sitting in their own ivory tower, incidentally not much different than the one they rebelled against in the 90s. Anyway... blah, blah, blah.

Is this basement-dweller fantasy something you have personal experience with or is it just a story you like to tell to make yourself feel better about your own technical ignorance and laziness?


> So what are they going to do when they encounter a problem on windows? Pretty sure MS hasn't yet figured out how to directly install a Window manual into their userss brains, and the thousands of unanswered windows troubleshooting questions online can attest to that.

They call an 800 number to get help or send it back.

> your own technical ignorance and laziness?

That, right there, was exactly what the person was responding to. This attitude of "piss off and learn" is incredibly prevalent in the Linux community, which is exactly why it is (and will remain, for the foreseeable future) irrelevant on the desktop.


> They call an 800 number to get help or send it back.

So they either attempt to get a solution from the same kind of service you get by buying a commercial linux desktop (or just the support), or they 'send it back' - which was exactly your complaint about Linux. You're contradicting yourself.

> That, right there, was exactly what the person was responding to.

It was actually a question regarding the need to tell tales about 'crusty basement-dwelling kids now in their 50s'. What was the point of that other than to make yourself feel better?


> It was actually a question regarding the need to tell tales about 'crusty basement-dwelling kids now in their 50s'. What was the point of that other than to make yourself feel better?

I told the story. And it is a relevant one. There is an element in the community, not as pervasive as it once was, but it is not insignificant, that is and behaves exactly as I set forth. And I know it to be true, just as you do, and every other person here on HN knows it to be true. I lived through it.

That "attitude" is one of the major things holding back Linux on the desktop. Sad, but true. And it doesn't have anything to do with my technical prowess (or that of any HN reader for that matter). It's for Joe down the street. Jen who can barely turn a computer on, etc.


> And I know it to be true, just as you do, and every other person here on HN knows it to be true. I lived through it. That "attitude" is one of the major things holding back Linux on the desktop. Sad, but true.

Maybe you should stop assuming your anecdotal experience is representative of the entire community.


> "piss off and learn"

  Sounds like a great name for a new distro...


> Is this basement-dweller fantasy something you have personal experience with or is it just a story you like to tell to make yourself feel better about your own technical ignorance and laziness?

As an embedded developer with over 20 years in industry and nearly that many with GNU/Linux (and a whole host of other UNIX systems), I say piss off with that. Who exactly do you think you are that you can be so incredibly presumptuous?


> Who exactly do you think you are that you can be so incredibly presumptuous?

Says the guy grouping the entire Linux community under 'crusty 50 year old basement dwellers'. And your '20 years in the industry' means nothing to me, if you're trying to impress me you failed.


Well, your reading comprehension is what impresses me the least. You presumably read all of my comments and still typed that. I'm not sure how, because it is a direct contradiction to what I said.

It's a bit challenging to have a discussion with someone who responds to what he thinks you said, rather than what you did say.


Let me remind you what you said:

> Unfortunately, the community is still "the community," and much like those kids who wouldn't get out of their parents' basements, they're now in their 50s, crusty and pedantic as hell, sitting in their own ivory tower, incidentally not much different than the one they rebelled against in the 90s

Yeah, it's challenging to keep face after you put your foot in your mouth. Tell me more about 'muh 20 years experience'.


I'm not going to carry on with you in two forks when you ignore what I said in the other.


I agree with everything you said, but most especially this:

> Personally I don't think it can be fixed not because the software is beyond saving, but the community surrounding it doesn't actually want it to be an experience for regular non-technical people

The community behind Linux Desktop is, by far, the biggest reason it is as unpopular as it is.


> People don't use Linux Desktop because it is bad.

People do you Linux Desktop because it is great. I do.

> The fact that Google has been able to take the Linux kernel twice and produce a better and more popular desktop experience (with Android and then Chromebook) should be a good indication of that.

In what way is Android or Chromebook better than, say, Debian or Ubuntu on desktop?

> Linux Desktop is exclusively designed for Linux developers.. blah blah blah

Just false bullshit.

> If you want Linux Desktop to be a success, maybe spend less time finding the latest scapegoat and more time helping make it a good user experience.

If you want to debate the quality of Linux as a deskop OS maybe try using it, learn a little about it, and make statements that have even a little bit of substance and basis in reality.

> Try going to a mailing list and suggesting that editing text files in /etc isn't a practical end-user experience and see what response you get.

First of all, it is perfectly practical, especially given the fact that you can find step-by-step instruction to do just about anything in a matter of seconds. Second, you rarely have to do these things and graphical overlays are often available and/or come pre-installed on distros such as Ubuntu. Third, you sometimes have to do similar things on Windows, whether it be editing the hosts file or changing obscure registry settings - the difference is that the Linux versions of these things have much better documentation, and much more info and community support online.


Your response is little more than, "no, you're wrong, and I'm right." I tend to agree with parent that the general Linux UI/UX experience (even the flagship Linux OS, Ubuntu) is subpar compared to commercial operating systems.

You only make a serious argument in the last bullet:

> First of all, it is perfectly practical, especially given the fact that you can find step-by-step instruction to do just about anything in a matter of seconds. Second, you rarely have to do these things and graphical overlays are often available and/or come pre-installed on distros such as Ubuntu. Third, you sometimes have to do similar things on Windows, whether it be editing the hosts file or changing obscure registry settings - the difference is that the Linux versions of these things have much better documentation, and much more info and community support online.

The vast majority of Windows and macOS users are not technical people, and that is fine. The vast majority of Windows users do not need to edit registry settings, just as the vast majority of macOS users don't need to edit `defaults write com.apple.[star]`. More importantly, they don't want to.

My grandma is deathly afraid that any wrong action she takes will brick her PC. You're telling me that she'll be fine running sudo in a terminal, even if there's step by step directions?


My mom ran ubuntu from ~2009-2014, she never had to run sudo from a terminal.

What are you imagining goes wrong in so many linux deployments that requires everyone to edit /etc files or run command line programs all the time? Just because enthusiasts do it (enthusiasts do a lot of crazy stuff to Windows too) doesn't mean it's common.


I'm responding to this claim and the idea that it's "practical" for the average end-user:

>> Try going to a mailing list and suggesting that editing text files in /etc isn't a practical end-user experience and see what response you get.

> First of all, it is perfectly practical, especially given the fact that you can find step-by-step instruction to do just about anything in a matter of seconds.

I'm a firm believer in the idea that there isn't a "best" operating system, there is only an "ideal" operating system for any given person's use-case and value hierarchy. If your mom likes Ubuntu, good on her. I suspect she's an outlier within the general populace.


> I tend to agree with parent that the general Linux UI/UX experience (even the flagship Linux OS, Ubuntu) is subpar compared to commercial operating systems.

Have you used linux is a desktop for a non-trivial amount of time? The fact that you call Ubuntu 'the flagship Linux OS' makes me think that you haven't. What is lacking in linux UI experience?

> The vast majority of Windows users do not need to edit registry settings, just as the vast majority of macOS users don't need to edit `defaults write com.apple.[star]`. More importantly, they don't want to.

I don't think you have any data to make such a claim about the vast majority of users. Many Linux users also do no need to edit /etc configuration files.

> My grandma is deathly afraid that any wrong action she takes will brick her PC. You're telling me that she'll be fine running sudo in a terminal, even if there's step by step directions?

You're telling me your grandma is okay with editing firewall settings, installing new software, editing registry settings, etc on Windows?


What is the flagship Linux OS on the desktop for an average user?


With Linux + Gnome 3, you don't really ever have to go change text files in /etc. If you're only using native software/browsing/etc, the experience is fine for a non-technical person.

People don't use Linux just because it only has downsides for the average person. Not being able to play games, use MS office, other domain specific software, get used to a new UI...plus the only cultural associations with it is that it's highly technical. So there's no incentives for people to switch.


There are distros targetting more specifically mainstream end-users, historically Mint and more recently Elementary (which does a fantastic albeit opinionated job with UI/UX, or so I hear).

The problem of general adoption however is not related to that. It's really not the best software that wins the wallets of consumers, but the best marketing — same for music, movies, vacation destinations, virtually any product: marketing 'bypasses' quality (it just needs to be 'good enough') by 'brute-forcing' awareness and familiarity (sheer repetition, seduction, etc). It's true there's a lasting power to great UX (ask Apple), but Linux desktop never even entered that phase for the mainstream (first you have to exist before we even ask if you're going to last).

Making the best Linux experience is thus a vain enterprise. It just won't sell more or less (if we agree that even free has a cost), it just won't bootstrap massive adoption. It's at best preparing the product for its encounter with the public, but it's not making said encounter more likely.

A strategy like Microsoft's with Windows shows where the battle of OS's is fought and won: with OEMs.

Microsoft correctly identified (just like Intel) in the 1990's that people would buy computers (thus OS, thus CPU) through middlemen, OEMs, the Dell's and HP's and ASUS's of the world. So that's who you need to sell on your product.

Apple is its own OEM, as they integrate vertically, and indeed the 'integration' between hard- and soft-wares is what sold most of us who ever bought into OS X or iOS et. al. The interesting take is that Apple for the longest time oscillates between 5 and 15% market share on average on all their products worldwide (much closer to 50% on star products in the US, nigh-zero in the poorest markets), and this is the nonetheless massive (9 figures) user base that guarantees adoption of their OS, which are designed entirely to sell the hardware by making it shine (what MS is now trying to do with Surface lead by Panos Panay, or Google with Pixels and other things).

This whole 'integration' space is where Linux never even tried itself, it seems, because there's never been a "Linux Marketing Department" nor a "Linux Sales Person" — when Dell does Linux, it's because a bunch of fans inside the company made it their project; when Red Hat sells Linux it's closer to the goal with OEMs but certainly not mainstream/consumer in that case. As for Ubuntu, I don't know who they sell to; they're certainly big on the servers, but absent of consumer laptops despite being totally usable these days (and most consumers certainly don't need the advanced features of paid O365, so that debate is moot in this case). There are Linux brands (notably System76 with their awesome PopOS), but they also don't target the mainstream it seems, or not in a 'big' way likely to turn market figures around.

The truth is that I don't think anyone with big-tech decision power really cares now that we've moved to IaaS and serving apps on containers (alternatively 'minified' through some CD pipeline from a common base) is going to increasingly become the 'easy' way to have apps 'just work'; and by that point who cares if it's Windows, Linux or even iOS in the kernel underneath. By 2030, I anticipate that OS/kernel won't make much more difference than the CPU you're using (tech people and nerds may care, most people just want apps X Y Z to run fine and they'll get just that). Whether server or client side, we'll all live on top of some common or at least expected abstraction and most of us will be none the wiser. I'm not sure BSD will be much around in this scenario, except legacy and of course as darwin for Apple.

Not saying I predict the future or this is what must or should happen, but it definitely can as I see it, it's a 'valid scenario' with a high degree of probability IMHO.


Whatever proprietary company is most sucessful will be the greatest enemy. If not MS, then Apple, or Google, or whoever.

If you believe in Open Source, you should focus on building and promoting (and fundraising for) open source. Until we get the same $5T-equivalent investment in Open Source that FAANGMwhatever have, Open Source will will trail the rest in many quality and network-effect dimensions that will hinder the virtuous sycle of growth.


> Whatever proprietary company is most sucessful will be the greatest enemy. If not MS, then Apple, or Google, or whoever.

That's not true. Apple and Google have not done even 1% of the damage to Linux and Open Source that MS has.

> Until we get the same $5T-equivalent investment in Open Source that FAANGMwhatever have, Open Source will will trail the rest in many quality and network-effect dimensions that will hinder the virtuous sycle of growth.

Except for the fact that most successful modern tech company stacks are mostly FOSS and Linux. Microsoft was essentially forced to offer Linux on Azure because the overwhelming consensus is MS Server cannot hold a candle to Linux.


MS has shown almost no effort to lock things into windows only for the better part of a decade at this point. I'm not saying they never did, just not seeing that recently.

I am only slightly disappointed it took so long to get MS Teams working properly in Linux. The changes in the past few months have the unofficial clients working much better... A/V calling/meetings actually works now (though I haven't tried sharing my desktop) and an official client, if not already out, should be eminent.

Office 365's online versions are definitely usable and leaps and bounds better than Google Docs. I have mixed feelings on Azure AD and a few other pieces.

Right now, Windows feels like the odd man out, it's what I'm using on my work Desktop, I've phased out my Mac usage, and mostly use Linux outside work and at work, my flows are mostly Docker. I use msys bash (via git) on windows and there are a couple gotchas.

I remember the crap they pulled in the late 90's very well... The MS I see today is not the same... the management, culture and interactions have dramatically changed... the people have changed. Companies aren't people, but made up of them.


I’m honestly surprised that Microsoft aren’t working with Linux vendors in an attempt to solve Linux problems by more deeply integrating Windows-styled solutions into Linux, such that the Linux client ecosystem becomes more dependent on the Windows infrastructure ecosystem. That’d be the natural Azure-focused equivalent to “embrace, extend, extinguish.”

For example, Linux DNS resolution is an arcane mess of upstream components bodged together over decades, about the place where sysvinit was before systemd came along. I could totally see Microsoft releasing some FOSS Linux über-network-client-daemon that combines DNS, NMBD, and Bonjour resolution together (sort of like Apple’s mDNSResolver) in an attempt to “clean up” that mess—where, just by coincidence, parts of the SMB stack begin to seep directly into the operation of the system. Then a subsumption for Kerberos+libpam+GSSAPI that also supports NTLM; etc. until eventually Linux ends up needing to talk to a real Active Directory Domain Controller to boot. Might be Microsoft’s one, might be a Linux FOSS one—either way, it gives Microsoft an advantage.

...but, so far as I can tell, they’re not doing this. I wonder why not?


> For example, Linux DNS resolution is an arcane mess of upstream components bodged together over decades, about the place where sysvinit was before systemd came along.

Systemd has fixed this as well. Using systemd's networking stack DNS becomes completely seamless with the rest of the system. It's not quite 100% baked for average desktop users, but all the components are there and work great. You'll see distros switching to it soon... particularly workstation oriented ones as the wifi stack is soooo much nicer.


Does this do away with Network Manager, or do they somehow play nicely together.

Part of the reason why I've begun to dislike Linux is that things like networking used to be completely defined in config files, operated on by known commands.

Now it just seems like a hodgepodge of a dozen different daemons and applications writing over files, I honestly can't keep track of which is the authoritative config or app for interfaces, DNS, wifi, etc.


It can do away with NetworkManager or it can work with it. The integration with NM wasn't quite there in time for Debian Buster (which I use) but it was close and might be there now. They were working on it.

I have never used NetworkManager so can't comment intelligently on it. But I have it setup without it and it requires just a few config files. How many/how much config depends on how much you want to tweak things and how you want to organize things.

The main thing missing in the current stack is a nice interface for wifi. Using iwd for wifi has made things much better and if you don't mind CLI management it is quite nice.

For a bit more concrete of an example here is a gist I through up a while back describing replacing the old setup with a systemd based one.

https://gist.github.com/eikenb/1e9faeb8210e639e8caa69e9832db...


NMBD and WINS name resolutions are dead on Windows too; normal DNS is used since the AD was introduced. For service discovery, WSD is supposed to be used now, Windows 10 and Windows 2016/19 are slowly killing SMB1. Windows itself doesn't really play nice with mDNS/DNS-SD (Bonjour).


Windows works just fine with mDNS/DNS-SD, it's just that they learned a lot from WINS and SMB1 and are a lot tighter on which multicast IPs they respond to and when. (With security things like "HomeGroups" and similar mediating.) It doesn't always support the .local pseudo-DNS, but that's a relatively more recent standard, and also another place where Windows' back compat and learned mistakes cause it to be very cautious with .local addresses, especially given some Enterprises still use .local for LAN addresses not intended to be multicast DNS, despite that now being the IETF recognized standard.


.local is reserved for mDNS by the same RFC that defines mDNS itself (RFC6762), which is from 2013, so not that recent. If Windows plays games with responder, it is them breaking the standard. Last time I looked, (which is some time ago), Bonjour was available only for modern apps, where they could do discovery for their own counterparts on the network, but not as general, system integrated service. For example, I've never seen that windows smb client could discover SMB shares advertised by Bonjour, that macOS and Linux clients do find. It needs either WSD, or SMB1.

But it is true, that some enterprises abuse .local for their internal network, even for new installations. The answer I got was "it is best practices", but never got an answer where these "best practices" are from. But hey, it is their problem now.


> .local is reserved for mDNS by the same RFC that defines mDNS itself (RFC6762), which is from 2013, so not that recent

Right, but A) the RFC post-dates a lot early implementation of "Bonjour" (and the name "Bonjour"), and B) 2013 is unfortunately still "recent" in Windows terms given that Windows 7 was released in 2009. (And Microsoft was trying to get standardized their own variation on mDNS, PNRP in just the previous Windows release. It was kind of a neat attempt as it was built as a DHT rather than purely multicast, though I digress.)

mDNS currently is still limited to UWP APIs, but now more than ever Win32 applications and not just "Modern Apps" can make use of them. Unfortunately, I don't think it will ever be built into SMB share support at the network filesystem level, because again I think Microsoft is trying too hard to distance themselves from many decades of mistakes in SMB1. We'll see what happens.

> where these "best practices" are from

Ironically, .local was used as an example for several years in Active Directory setup documentation, though even then it was highlighted only as a possible stop-gap until a proper DNS name and proper TLS Certificates could be purchased. But, of course, people read the first half and ignore the caveats (especially because they cost money and time to correct) and think they are following "best practices". More evidence for the pile that so much of "best practices" in IT are a cult mentality that only ever read the first half of some recommendation and then blindly followed it forever after.


> A) the RFC post-dates a lot early implementation of "Bonjour" (and the name "Bonjour"),

It was called "Rendezvous" originally in OSX 10.2. When the RFC came out, the protocol was already ~11 years old. Apple can drag its feet too :) But then, I'm not sure if that makes the whole situation for better, or worse.

> B) 2013 is unfortunately still "recent" in Windows terms given that Windows 7 was released in 2009.

Windows 7 could at least use the Apple Bonjour implementation, so the support, or lack of it, would be understandable. For Windows 10, soon to be the only supported version, I would expect differently.

> And Microsoft was trying to get standardized their own variation on mDNS, PNRP in just the previous Windows release.

Microsoft also got us LLMNR with Vista/2008... So they were aware about Bonjour, but they made their own.

> I think Microsoft is trying too hard to distance themselves from many decades of mistakes in SMB1.

Bonjour discovery doesn't need SMB1. SMB2 and 3 (which have the discovery part of SMB1 removed) work great with Bonjour, so that would allow Microsoft to distance themselves from SMB1. In the SOHO market, Synology devices support this mode with a nice GUI config; not sure about QNAP/Asustor/others. What Microsoft is currently doing, is that they support WSD discovery for SMB, when SMB1 is off.

Here, we are also getting slightly off-course. While both name resolution and discovery are hidden under the name Bonjour, only the name resolution and .local domain are part of the mDNS. The service discovery is DNS-SD, separate protocol, which can run on top of mDNS, but also on top of classic, infrastructure DNS.

> Ironically, .local was used as an example for several years in Active Directory setup documentation, though even then it was highlighted only as a possible stop-gap until a proper DNS name and proper TLS Certificates could be purchased.

Ah, so there it comes from. Obviously, I didn't read the AD setup documentation either :).

The funny thing is, that they didn't need to purchase TLS certificates, only to have a single real domain and make a subdomain for AD. For certificates, they could use ADCS! (but I guess that would be additional reading).


Don't get me wrong, I was saddened to notice that I couldn't easily just use .local name resolution for a P2P app and have it easily work out of the box on Windows 10 in every application stack I could wish (more so than file share discovery, it's disappointing to me that Windows Browsers don't support .local well or at all because the default Win32 DNS resolvers don't consider mDNS at all), but on the flipside, the APIs that do speak mDNS work and work well. I'm sympathetic why the new APIs are opt-in WinRT/COM++ APIs instead of just another opt-out magic kludge in the Win32 stack, but yes it's harder to think of it as a platform-wide service when it isn't on-by-default and requires development effort to support.

> Microsoft also got us LLMNR with Vista/2008... So they were aware about Bonjour, but they made their own.

Vista was the hangover after the ivory tower perfection attempts of Longhorn. In retrospect we should probably be excited they didn't reinvent more wheels than what they did. ;)


> ...but, so far as I can tell, they’re not doing this. I wonder why not?

Because maybe, just maybe, they're a tad bit less evil?


Nonsense, a publicly traded corporation is inherently an immoral psychopath. They are required to single-mindedly pursue shareholder profit.


I don't think that's true. They are required to pursue what the shareholders deem important. That's usually profit, but sometimes there are votes to sway the company in a different direction. As a simple example of this, activist investors have spurred change in some industries that wasn't purely based on profit.[1]

1: https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Activist-Investor...


The people who make up the corporation are people. They need to be motivated, and they no not mobilize immediately.


Depends on shareholders, doesn't it? Those are the people that 'make up' the corp. The rest are pawns that either fall in line or end up recognizing that the only way to win the game is to not play (and thus quit).


If employees think their employer is doing something unethical, that harms morale.

If morale is harmed, good people are more likely to leave. If an employer has a poor reputation, it becomes harder to hire employees with in-demand skills.

Poor retention and difficulty in recruiting employees can end up harming the business.


Sadly there are far more workers with a broken moral compass than you'd think. Luckily, there are also enough with ethics and key positions to somewhat cancel that out, but I wouldn't say that unethical employers have a much harder time than ethical ones. It's probably simply a different spread on money/package/freedom within one such company. Plenty of people will believe what they are doing is justified and ignore any signs of cognitive dissonance if the pay check is right and internal communication is 'managed' enough by HR.


Gates has always operated at the world level. In business, he wanted nothing less than total domination. The older, kinder Gates has a philanthropic ideology that is no less bold - he's thinking big, at the global level.

Being separated from that, Microsoft is doing what they are supposed to do - be Microsoft-centered, and focus on profit. But they can be more objective, with the founder's emotions no longer driving the company's direction.


Beeing evil is expensive. All that empire structure is necessary to get people to be cooperative again.


Google won't sign Android up for this. People passionate enough about FOSS to run Linux desktops won't go for it. And those two pretty much are the Linux client ecosystem.


I thought system's resolvd was an attempt to fix all problems with dns resolution. Can you point me how it is not a solution, or how Microsoft could build something better instead of contributing to it?


So far, nss works more or less for me, except that .local takes a couple of minutes to resolve

# grep hosts /etc/nsswitch.conf hosts: files mymachines mdns [NOTFOUND=return] resolve [!UNAVAIL=return] dns myhostname


> Linux DNS resolution

I'm confused, do you mean the (remote) computers that resolve the DNS or do you mean your local machine?


No one would want to rely on MS ecosystem. Why would anyone trust them?


From what I see in general MS like Linux on the server, not so much the desktop. The reason for that is pretty obvious.

They want as many organizations as possible to use their cloud platform, for that to work, they need first class Linux server support.

On the desktop, they'd prefer people to be using Windows, but they want to ensure that developers who deploy to Linux have a great experience, thus WSL, VS Code et al.

With that said, I think there are some groups inside MS who would like to see more desktop Linux support, thus announcements like the Linux Teams client. It's probably a mistake to view MS (or any other v.large corp) as a unified entity. There will be groups inside that corp. with differing goals.

You only have to look at MS presence at Kubecon where you'll often see MS staff with Macs or Ubuntu laptops on their stand.


They don't _like_ it, that's the author's whole point. They would obviously prefer that everyone pay for windows server, but they've lost that battle. "Like" is pure marketing.

>You only have to look at MS presence at Kubecon where you'll often see MS staff with Macs or Ubuntu laptops on their stand.

marketing in a market.

I think we (or you and the author, I'm just re-iterating his points) are talking past each other and you probably agree, but his whole point again is that the "Love" is just public facing market strategy.


Just a question-- what would be a path you deem the best? Should Microsoft just work in its silo, while Linux develops in its silo? Should Microsoft not embrace linux? I feel like the 2 strategies mentioned by the author simply let you point to the other one when the first one doesn't grip. I'm always at a loss when these HN posts come about, because I feel like 99% of the hate/sentiment stems from the time Microsoft was actually a shitty company (I'm sure it is still shit in great lengths today, but not comparable to the Ballmer years).


"marketing in a market"

As one of those MS employees at kubecon, I'm typing this on an x1 running ubuntu. I'm not on booth duty or any official marketing duty. I regularly use both linux and windows where necessary to get the job done, preferring linux for personal and development work where possible.

The colleagues I have who run macOS/Linux but are on official duty, are absolutely not here to show off their laptops running macOS or linux. Those are simply the devices they work on.

re: windows server, I really don't think so. Internally, most teams I work with on .NET framework running server applications are in the process of migrating to .NET core, linux containers, and Kubernetes. I know many teams going through this process. They don't want to be on windows server, and no one inside the company is trying to force them to as far as I can tell.

Desktop is still a different story, there's a comment elsewhere in the thread (something about suggesting alternatives to editing text files in /etc) which I thought was pretty apt about the failings of linux there.


I'd suggest that no corporate "loves" or "likes" anything :)

They're there to make money, simple as that (whether they should be or not, is a whole other discussion).

What tends to get in the way is internal politics and hubris, where a company gets ossified and scared of change.

There's plenty of examples of this (Nokia, Blackberry, Novell etc etc). A bold company will be willing to change even at the apparent cost of one of their own products.

MS have done a pretty effective job, under Satya Nadella, of realising that clinging to the past isn't effective and that they need to be willing to move with the times.

The argument, that I felt the article made, that this is some EEE strategy is (IMO) misplaced. I think MS has no intention of trying to extinguish Linux (if such a thing was even possible), they're adapting to the new reality.


According to a friend within Microsoft, what you described is basically how it works. More so than other large corps, Microsoft seems to be a disorganised mess.

Some groups fight the good fight, some groups do bad things to get ahead, some groups don't know what they're doing or are pressured by bad management, other groups operate extremely well but are assigned to the wrong tasks.


That's how large corporations work... you have different business units managed by different people, sometimes with dramatically different cultures. The problem is, people like to personify companies, most of that comes from executive leadership and in the case of MS, it's effectively a different 'person' today as a couple decades ago.


I'm not sure that's a bad thing, if I'm honest.

Strong top-down direction can work (e.g. Steve Jobs at Apple) but it can also cause ossification (e.g. Blackberry) where a company won't sacrifice an existing product to move forward.

Windows server has obviously lost the app server market, for a majority of companies. MS has adapted to that new reality by supporting Linux servers.

I'd say that is to their credit. Look at other companies who have been slower to adapt to the new cloud world (e.g. Oracle) and you can see the costs to their long term viability.


> From what I see in general MS like Linux on the server, not so much the desktop. The reason for that is pretty obvious.

Because that’s where the entire market has gone, and Microsoft is trying to be responsive to their potential customers?


It feels like this article is a lot of FUD spreading. MS is a business that likes to make money. At this point, there are developer minded people at the helm, and it makes more sense selling their software and cloud services than chasing negative returns on Windows. I can see that side of it through and through.

MS has open sourced huge amounts of resource and platform building code in .Net Core the past several years, and ASP.Net earlier than that. They did buy, and have expanded on the tools from Xamarin not shutter it. I'm not saying they're altruistic in nature, no company is. I will say that their behavior in the community, especially since Nadella took over has been better than any other company of it's size or larger that I can think of.

I'm not saying forget or forgive the past, but accept the present. Corporations, despite legalities, are not people. They are made up of people, and a significant portion of management has rolled over in the past decade and the outward facing culture shows that.


> MS has open sourced huge amounts of resource and platform building code in .Net Core the past several years

Maybe they're trying to embrace, extend and exterminate open source. /s

As far as I can tell, EEE ended during Balmer. Not because he's necessarily a "good guy," but because he genuinely hated everything 'not Microsoft' too much in order to following through with the first step of EEE: embrace. There can't be a consistent "EEE strategy" because that strategy ended (for completely different reasons). If Microsoft has decided to attempt EEE again then, sure, there's something to be worried about.

There is certainly one thing that has always been more reliable than Microsoft and EEE: lose if you do, lose if you don't. Microsoft could shut their doors for good tomorrow and there would likely still be people spouting nonsense about how that's actually EEE.

> Defend and aggressively expand APIs and technologies where Microsoft leads (e.g., keep DirectX the only first-class API for games)

It's curious that Microsoft partners so closely with Unity, then, who provide a way to develop games outside of DirectX.


You couldn't be more wrong.

Since Nadella is at the helm, Microsoft have started to aggressively gather customer data from their desktop OS and many other products, including office.

They used to be very decent at this before Windows 10, but they went completely nuts with telemetry. At the beginning they were completely opaque, to the point that a German gov agency had to reverse engineer the communications to see just wtf was being transmitted.

More recently the Dutch gov told them to fuck off if they don't cut off the crap and MS was forced to negotiate new privacy terms with them.

Anything they have already and will open source pales in comparison to the harms to our privacy, just like for Google. Although Google at least open sources some useful things now and then... .NET is Microsoft's dev platform that no one cares about except Windows devs. It started as a JVM/Java clone and grew into its own product, but for anyone not already all-in on MS tools it makes zero sense to use it when there's so much choice.


Windows isn't great... It's a single product of many from a very large company, and one that other than the assigned computer at work, I don't typically use. Beyond that, I don't mind the telemetry so much, though their decision to emphasis telemetry over test labs and staff is irritating.

Also, been a few hours since I read TFA, but isn't even a focus of TFA.

They aren't locking their services and much new software into windows, and aren't using windows to leverage other things in ways that don't make any sense.


I can't really follow the article. Too much paranoia, or negativity, I guess.

All I care about is having a usable Linux shell and Linux tool on my Windows machine. What else can you expect from Microsoft? Yeah, they are doing it so that people don't switch over to Linux completely. What more can you expect?

Is it even Microsoft's job to establish a standard for 3d Graphics and what not? Or is the ball in the park of graphics card vendors and game developers?

Why do I have Windows on my machine? I don't fully trust Linux to achieve the same level of power management. I can play games. I have a dual graphics card, which would be a hassle to use on Linux.

It would be notebook vendor's job to release Linux notebooks with good power management. Chip vendors to release specs that enable Linux developers to create such drivers. And so on.


Why wouldn't an Operating System developer be responsible for providing an interface between hardware developers and applicaton developers?


OpenGL seems to have coexisted with DirectX for a while. I don't know enough about OS development to be able to judge if Microsoft prevented OpenGL from achieving the same performance as DirectX.

Given the abysmal security history of Windows, my guess would be that it was possible to get close to the metal as a driver developer, at least in the old days.

Also MS couldn't be expected to take care of an interface that works on iOS and Linux. They are responsible for Windows.


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