News: Even Microsoft Acknowledges the Superiority of the Bash Shell Now

Even Microsoft Acknowledges the Superiority of the Bash Shell Now

As most of you know, I am a strong advocate for using Linux for hacking. In fact, I would go so far as to say that you cannot be a hacker without knowing Linux well. I laid out various reasons for this in my "Why Every Hacker Should Know & Use Linux" article, and I even have a lengthy, continuing series on Linux Basics to help those new to Linux master it.

There are many, many reasons to prefer Linux as an operating system, and Microsoft seems to be agreeing with me now.

Microsoft is now implicitly acknowledging the superiority of Linux, or at least, the command-line Bash shell. Microsoft announced recently that they will be adding an Ubuntu Bash shell to the Windows 10 Anniversary Update. This will not be an emulator or VM, but a true, native Bash shell. This is a nod by Microsoft to the superiority of the Linux Bash shell and power of open-source software development.

Image via Microsoft

Microsoft previously took a small step toward acknowledging the superiority of the Linux command line when they offered Linux commands in the PowerShell. There, they simply offered symbolic links from Linux commands to Windows commands, such as ls to dir. This time is different.

With this new Bash-on-Ubuntu shell, Microsoft has developed some Windows kernel components that support Linux kernel APIs. These new components developed by Microsoft are NOT offered with the standard open-source licensing such as GPL, and presumably, do not contain any Linux code. In essence, it appears that Microsoft has developed a proprietary Bash shell that looks and acts like an Ubuntu Bash shell. Microsoft has apparently implemented the Linux kernel API using the native Windows NT API. For now, Microsoft is calling this WSL, or the "Windows Subsystem for Linux."

Image via TechCrunch

I don't think this changes my recommendation that you must know Linux to hack, but it may make the Microsoft platform slightly more amenable as a hacking platform. Remember, one of the key differences between Linux and Microsoft is that Linux is totally open and Windows is totally closed. Trying to get a closed-source platform to do something that we want and Microsoft doesn't will be challenging, to say the least.

If anything, this adoption of the Linux Bash shell by Microsoft should reinforce the importance of learning to use the command-line approach to computing, scripting, and hacking.

19 Comments

I hope that this change may allow games to be both on Linux and Windows.

Because once games get ported to Linux, I'm leaving Windows for good.

-Phoenix750

I've been saying the exact same thing for a very long time.

ghost_

Only proves that it is true I think.

-Phoenix750

Saaaammmmeee

I was following the Build a bit and this announcement made me very happy.

And I think that MicroSoft bought Xamarin in combination with this is a sign that the MS Office programs and video games will come out for Linux systems in near future.

And if that happens, then Linus Torvalds' prediction from 2015 will become true:
"In 10 years, Linux-based OS's will dominate the desktop market."

It's great that they are adding Bash, it is the reason people use Linux (besides it being free) I mean Linux isn't known for it's wide range of programs or great desktops.

Eh I think this is probably a factor, but don't underestimate how much open source factors into it. The ability to get into the actual workings of the system means huge things for both development and hacking. If Microsoft wants to attract the linux base, they'll need to at least open the functionality of those api's. I don't see them doing that. It's possible to reverse engineer Microsoft functionality, but that's very different from the code being open to begin with.

But most of their users are people who don't even know what a command line is, even half of the linux community doesn't use their command lines too much. The remaining amount of people Windows will never get because those people just don't wanna try to care.

You don't appear to be thinking about this from our perspective, though. With what we do, it's more or less vital to have the control over our system that Linux offers. Windows simply doesn't offer that control, it's very much a closed OS.

We're not arguing against the fact that the standard user doesn't know what a command line is, but for our purposes, Linux is absolutely superior.

ghost_

If we are talking command line users than yes Linux is better, also most of those people are server admins or the like.

So do you guys think that Microsoft's implementation of Linux-like utilities will bring some Linux users back to Windows? I know I'm never going back.

Very doubtful. Windows is still very much a closed OS; whereas Linux is purely open source.

Windows takes too much control away from the user, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, the vast amount of users out there are more or less technologically illiterate; however people like us want the control that Linux offers.

ghost_

I've seen a demo video of it, and even though Microsoft is taking the initiative in doing this, still, it has very limited use in the OS. IDK about support for package managers such as npm, apt-get, but I'm sure its probably not gonna be available. I think Microsoft is realizing that they got to live up with the popularity of Ubuntu, and is trying to imitate it.

I have been a Windows user for 15 years now (btw, I am 22), and have been using Ubuntu every once in a while since 2010.

I am much more comfortable with the bash than I ever was with the Windows command prompt.

The only 2 reasons I continue using Windows:

  • Games
  • Microsoft Office

and thats it.

I hope that apt-get will be available on Windows soon

Make it one reason. Google Docs is incredibly good and browser based.

ghost_

Not to mention LibreOffice works fine too.

-Phoenix750

Google Docs is better than Libre Office for sure. But I prefer either to using Word.

That's honestly really awesome. Maybe now I'll be more open to using a Windows server...

Wha? Microsoft? Can't belive it.

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