Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login

FTA, about "MinWin": "A severely stripped down version (almost 20MB) of Windows 7 was able to run a http server"

Last I checked a smallish kernel + uclibc/busybox with most applets (an httpd is in that list) is around 8MB or so. Even glibc only adds 2MB or so more if you throw out the locale stuff. Windows is just a different world.

There is absolutely no meat in that article. We have no idea about the technical details of what Microsoft has done. All we have is the aspirational witterings of a couple of seasoned industry bloggers. There is no use comparing vague Windows rumours of a not even released product with what Linux has been able to do since its inception.

And BaseFS sounds like VFS, the virtual filesystem layer in Linux also - you'd think it was the most novel idea to abstract away common functionality to a shared core, this design pattern is as old as the hills. These pieces of news carry next to no information, it's pointless that this got onto the front page of HN.

NT has had VFS from day one (volume manager). You just don't get to see it from the UI and win32 abstraction. In fact NT has mounts, a single tree, case sensitivity and no concept of drive letters. sounds a bit unixy doesn't it?

I have no idea why they came to these conclusions.

Thing to consider - how many drivers did that stripped down version include? Windows, at the least, still dominates in overall driver/hardware support.

From the article, a "smallish kernel + xyz" is hard to compare with what exactly is in "MinWin". I suspect the fact that http://www.c64web.com runs on an unmodified Commodore 64 blows your "smallish kernel" out of the water.

My point? You can make assumptions, but you need to know fully what your kernel and other bits include.

An 8MB linux kernel is not really all that small. These instructions [0] look like they produce a kernel weighing in at about 800kb, without any significant hacking. A web server occupies another couple of MB. The TinyCore Linux distribution [1] will get you a GUI desktop for 12MB.

The c64web site runs on Contiki OS, which will actually work on less capable hardware. It's pretty impressive, really.[2] I would be tempted to say that it doesn't really compare to MinWin or Linux, but I'm still busy being amazed by it.

I really don't know what you mean by Windows having greater hardware support, I suppose for certain definitions of "windows" and "support" that could be true. Maybe if you count all versions of windows, and restrict your hardware to common CPU archs, and count drivers that aren't built into the kernel. Honestly I have no idea how you'd come up with numbers either way, but my impression was that Linux can be made to run on pretty much any general-purpose CPU. Perhaps you'll provide some data on the matter.

[0][pdf] http://www.ti.com/general/docs/lit/getliterature.tsp?literat... [1] http://distro.ibiblio.org/tinycorelinux/downloads.html [2] http://www.contiki-os.org/

Better x86/x64 support I'd imagine. Despite being a rabid Linux fanboy, I've had way more driver availability issues with Linux over the years than windows.

To be honest, windows just pretty much works these days.

Linux power management pales in comparison to Windows. As much as a love Linux it pains me to see my notebooks battery life drop from 5 hours to 1.5, and thats with significant tweaking.

My cheap Dell v131 goes about 5 hours with minimal tweaking (turn off keyboard backlight, low brightness setting). What kind of machine did you get?

I'm pretty sure my Arch Linux install actually gets better battery life than Win7 on my laptop, also with minimal tweaking. Thinkpad, FWIW.

At the same time, I find this incredibly impressive. That "smallish kernel" wasn't reverse-engineered from a behemoth, and it doesn't need to satisfy the constraint that it needs to be fully compatible with said behemoth. Huge kudos to the Windows team.

Possibly pedantic, but this can't be described as reverse-engineered.

You're right, I was being hasty in my post. It's more like http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reengineering_(software)

To be honest, windows NT is a whole load more complicated than Linux variants at every level. It's almost a framework for building operating systems upon. NT architecture is actually really super nice - shame about win32 being thrown on top.

20MiB is impressive.

It all started downhill when the GDI was integrated into the kernel.

At least there's Server Core these days.

This is more about having the common core across MS platforms than about running a http server.

Absolutely. "MinWin" sounds so appealing people jump to the conclusion that it's running in the Azure farms or in other MSFT data centers. The next logical step from this assumption is that it could be a product.

It's almost unfortunate that the term ever leaked out.

It almost is. Windows 2008 Server Core was a result of this. It doesn't have a GUI. Ita also what they run Azure on.

Server Core does have a GUI as its primary UI. What confuses people is hearing that the interface is a command line. You still have a window (unless you're remote) and a handful of utilities, but they just don't run under the Explorer desktop or include a lot of what you might have come to expect with Windows or Windows Server.

It doesn't ship with half the dependencies that were tangled up which is why minwin exists. Minwin has a GUI too (apparently you can trigger it during boot on win phone 8 :) )

My first exposure to Unix was on an 8 megabyte 68010 multi-user machine with 50+ terminals. I learned C on an IBM PC XT clone running QNX.

Claiming doing something useful with a 20 megabyte kernel is extraordinary is, itself, extraordinary naive.

Applications are open for YC Summer 2018

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