Richard Stallman concerned about Microsoft’s love for Linux

Recently, Microsoft has repeatedly spoken about its support for Linux. And not only spoke, but also confirmed the words with deeds. The key event was the development of the WSL subsystem (Windows Subsystem for Linux), with which you can run Linux applications inside Windows and even install some Linux distributions. The WSL subsystem doesn’t compare with a normal Linux system in terms of performance and functionality, it doesn’t even run GUI applications. But it is gradually developing, Microsoft is actively working on WSL. And it will have unique features that allow you to extend the capabilities of Linux. For example, there you can link commands from different Linux distributions and commands from Windows into a common chain (this new feature was introduced on August 29, 2017).

Immediately after the WSL announcement, many learned the familiar pattern, that is, the familiar Microsoft action strategy. In the Open Source community, people still periodically express the opinion that WSL is an implementation of the Embrace, Extend, Extinguish strategy (“ Maintain , expand , destroy”). As established by the US Department of Justice, this phrase was used by Microsoft to describe the software implementation strategy in the industry by expanding their standards and then using these differences to take advantage and destroy the original free versions.

Richard Stallman agrees : everything indicates that Microsoft is again using Embrace, Extend, Extinguish tactics.

“Definitely, it looks that way,” says Stallman. “But it will not be easy to destroy us, because the reasons for our use and promotion of free software are not limited to practical convenience.”

“We want freedom. And how to use computers in freedom, Microsoft is a failure, ”the guru stressed.

The TechRepublic edition cites the opinion of another famous person in the Linux world - Mark Shuttleworth. His attitude to Windows predictably changed after the WSL subsystem began to support the launch of the Ubuntu distribution. Previously, Shuttleworth positioned Ubuntu as a competitor to Windows on desktops and called the current dominant position of Windows a “bug”. In principle, bug number 1 " Microsoft has a majority market share " is still in the Ubuntu bug tracker, but Shuttleworth's position has changed. Now he supports Microsoft and says that WSL will expand the influence and popularity of Linux. This may be true: the actual use of Linux distributions, including Ubuntu, really grows: “It’s not that Microsoft was stealing our toys, it’s more like we share them with Microsoft to give everyone the best possible experience - says Shuttleworth. “For users who have a wealth of experience with Windows, the WSL subsystem gives more choice and flexibility, while at the same time opening up a completely new potential audience for the open source platform.”

Currently, Windows is slightly ahead of Linux in popularity among developers: 41% versus 33%, according to a survey of 64,000 developers at StackOverflow.

At the same time Shuttleworth is confident that native Linux will still have users, in any case. He also added that now Microsoft is another company, not the same as before, but having “a much more balanced view of open and competing platforms on numerous fronts”. In other words, Microsoft no longer threatens Linux.

Stallman's position has not changed, as in Shuttleworth. He says what he always said: proprietary software is evil. Microsoft’s "love" for Linux and the creation of the WSL subsystem, on the contrary, only help to strengthen the dominant position of proprietary programs like Windows and undermine the position of free software: If a non-free system, such as Windows, MacOS, iOS, ChromeOS or Android, becomes more convenient, then this is a step back in the campaign for freedom. ”

Stallman wants to remind once again of the broader moral imperative of abandoning proprietary software. In this case, there is no room for arguments about the convenience or popularity of Linux: “When the problem concerns the choice of freedom or injustice, then the arguments about what people“ will ”do are secondary. The important question is what we can do and should do for a free society. ”


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