Microsoft and Canonical announced a partnership today that sees the two long-rival OS builders come together to allow Ubuntu users to run commands and access files stored in an Ubuntu workspace.
While it’s possible to do this with something like an emulator, virtual machine or using a container, it’s actually none of these, according to Dustin Kirkland from the Ubuntu Product and Strategy team.
“So maybe something like a Linux emulator?” Now you’re getting warmer! A team of sharp developers at Microsoft has been hard at work adapting some Microsoft research technology to basically perform real time translation of Linux syscalls into Windows OS syscalls. Linux geeks can think of it sort of the inverse of “wine” — Ubuntu binaries running natively in Windows. Microsoft calls it their ‘Windows Subsystem for Linux.’ (No, it’s not open source at this time.)
It’s a move that goes against the two companies long history – one based on proprietary software, and one with an open source approach. Indeed, Canonical’s founder Mark Shuttleworth said it’s a milestone that “defies convention” and provides a “gateway to the widest possible audience.”
While it’s an unconventional move, perhaps, it’s one that benefits both companies – each has a mobile OS desperately in need of developers, so making it as easy as possible for devs (or just Ubuntu enthusiasts) to access both OSes natively can only help those aims.