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Wednesday, 30 March 2016 09:19

Microsoft to announce Bash on Linux on Windows

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Is Microsoft's newfound love of all things Linux extending to the command-line?
 
Microsoft's Build 2016 developer conference kicks off in the U.S. on March 30th and some session details are beginning to leak out. One which piques interest is the session titled "Running Bash on Ubuntu on Windows!"
 
This session has caught the imagination of journalists who fancied a bash as a party (cough *WinBeta*) but as this esteemed audience knows, Bash is a Linux shell, specifically the "Bourne-again shell" which replaced Steve Bourne's original Unix 7 shell, sh (ironically, itself replacing the Thompson shell.)
 
Until the existence of Powershell in Windows, Windows users lacked a great command-line and scripting experience though it was always possible to implement Bash using Cygwin or various other utilities or tools. Even so, this was not mainstream and required a strong desire to make it happen rather than being anything "out of the box".
 
So what will Microsoft announce? Given the session title is "Bash on Ubuntu on Windows" it can't be a native Windows version of Bash. It's possible Microsoft will show Ubuntu in a Hyper-V virtual machine running on Windows but that's passe; we know you can run different operating systems in a virtual machine. This is not news.
 
However, if I were to guess - perhaps hope - what I would see is a Ubuntu-mode for Windows, similar to Microsoft's "Windows XP mode" for Windows 7 long ago.
 
This facility ran Windows XP in a virtual machine but integrated its windows with that of, well, Windows, the host operating system. This isn't unique to Windows XP mode, and in many ways it is surprising Hyper-V doesn't make it more readily available already. VMWare Fusion, Parallels and other VM products already provide this integration. Citrix and Microsoft's Remote Desktop have been providing a similar capacity for many years also.
 
Might we see a "Ubuntu mode" for Windows announced tomorrow?

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David M Williams

David has been computing since 1984 where he instantly gravitated to the family Commodore 64. He completed a Bachelor of Computer Science degree from 1990 to 1992, commencing full-time employment as a systems analyst at the end of that year. David subsequently worked as a UNIX Systems Manager, Asia-Pacific technical specialist for an international software company, Business Analyst, IT Manager, and other roles. David has been the Chief Information Officer for national public companies since 2007, delivering IT knowledge and business acumen, seeking to transform the industries within which he works. David is also involved in the user group community, the Australian Computer Society technical advisory boards, and education.

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