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Davide Bellone
Davide Bellone

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Will Windows and Linux be merged in the future?

We know the change of philosophy of .NET, from being a close system with .NET Framework to cross-platform with .NET Core.

We also have seen the integration of the Linux terminal (and system) with Windows 10 (with WSL - Windows Subsystem for Linux).

So, will the two OSs ever join?
What do you prefer, keep the two system separated or have a single mega operating system?

Top comments (7)

ahferroin7 profile image
Austin S. Hemmelgarn

Almost certainly not, because I seriously doubt that MS will ever bow to GLPv2 licensing requirements (which would be necessary for an actual merger).

.NET Core is MS trying to extend their influence (because they've finally realized that Linux actually is a serious platform for things other than tight-embedded usage).

WSL is a bit more complicated to explain, but I suspect it's largely to make life easier for Windows developers who want to develop web apps, as well as probably an attempt to reclaim developers who jumped ship to Linux as a platform of choice. Also, note that WSL is not a new concept by any means. MS has done similar things before (SFU and Internix), and others have too (Cooperative Linux).

bellonedavide profile image
Davide Bellone

Uhm, I don't think that Microsoft would spend time and money to develop a functionality like WSL just to "make life easier". In my opinion, everything is developed with a profit in mind, even if not immediate. So there must be something going on for this choice...
For Linux-oriented developers there is the possibility to use a VM on Windows (and however develop using VSCode).

ahferroin7 profile image
Austin S. Hemmelgarn

Making life easier for their users increases the likelihood that their users will continue to use their operating system, which is profitable for MS. You have to remember that their primary goal is to get as many people using Windows as possible, because that translates to them selling licenses for Windows and makes it easier for them to sell their other products.

And, honestly, other than being forced to use the Windows Store (or PowerShell) to install it in the first place, being forced to use the horrendous console host interface (which is thankfully going away long-term), and having severely limited filesystem performance, it really is better for many developers than a VM.

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bellonedavide profile image
Davide Bellone

Well, on this you are totally rigth!

tttfifo profile image
Todor Todorov

There is infinity in your question, bellons91 (will they ever join). Therefore I am tempted to answer: who knows, the history has seen continents joining and separating in the past. Maybe some day there will be EurAfrica and WinLinDowsUx?

But seriously, I like the current situation with Windows and Linux:

  • Windows is currently borrowing the best Linux ideas and there is nothing wrong with this, at the end of the day Linux is free and open sourced.

  • We hardly realize it, but Linux is borrowing many good ideas from Windows also. Years ago you had not have the possibility to use Linux as a Desktop system. Linux borrowed many ideas from Windows and voila! I am using my Linux desktop with ease.

My personal opinion is that we do not need this single mega system, I like it how it is now - let Win and Lin compete and cooperate together at the same time.


havarem profile image
André Jacques

IMHO, Microsoft won't merge considering that:

  1. Windows kernel is not POSIX compliant;
  2. Windows has a big, fat, absurd registry;
  3. File system and file rights are a mess;
  4. Windows does not have the same system call;

What I actually see is that Microsoft is giving lots of code in open source project so Microsoft technology persist. I think about their involvement in Samba so it can talk to Active Directory.

So what I think will happen is that Microsoft will be a "friend" to the other OSes (Linux, BSD) and facilitate the lives of people but Windows will be the only mainstream closed source OS (for those who don't know, MacOS kernel is open source

moopet profile image
Ben Sinclair

No, I don't think so.

Microsoft with continue with the legacy of Embrace, Extend, Extinguish as they are currently doing with WSL.

Some Linux providers will join them.

The developer in the street will continue to use whatever they like.

In 500 years, neither OS will be around. How about in 50? 20? Probably not. We'll probably have a few different choices, though I expect there to be something around that is descended in some way from unix.

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