Windows, getting better!

In many engineers' minds, Windows had fallen off the face of the earth (like my blog!) as a viable engineering platform. With MacOS as a solid mainstream player, and many hardcore linux engineers like myself, what was Microsoft going to do to get engineers to take them seriously again?

Under the leadership of Satya Nadella, MSFT has made a serious turnaround in their behavior and cooperation with other products and vendors. They actively began to work with RedHat to support RHEL on Azure and to ensure that RH was able to properly run Windows inside of RHEV/Ovirt. In the MSFT of old, that would never have happened.

Satya did not stop there, however. Instead, Satya has made it a mission to gain back the trust of engineers and others by working to correct that 'anti competition' mentality that Microsoft fostered (take note, Apple!).

The most amazing thing that they have done to engage developers and start treating other vendors not as enemies, but as allies? The WSL, or the Windows Subsystem for Linux. This project, in partnership with Canonical, has brought Ubuntu to Windows as a side by side, integrated member of the platform.

With the WSL, you are able to run what is essentially a persistent docker container running Ubuntu inside of windows, with the ability to integrate many of the linux services.

Want to do web development using node, python, or other modern languages? Need to install Nginx as a web server to test your web apps? No longer a problem for Windows users. With WSL, each of these tasks is now possible.

Now, you may ask, "What makes you so sure that it really works?" The answer to that should be pretty obvious. I'm using it. This blog entry was written in vim in WSL. It was first posted to an Nginx service running in WSL to ensure it was as I expected, before being deployed to github.

That means, I am successfully running: Nginx, Python3 (in this case, anyway) with a VirtualEnv for Nikola, Vim, and doing active writing ON WINDOWS!!!

Now if that is not a pretty nice start, I don't know what would be. If you haven't tried it already, I highly recommend that any developer give it a fair and honest shot. It's not perfect, but it is getting much, much better.



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