When open source enthusiasts come across headlines like “Windows Subsystem For Linux (WSL) will let you run Linux distros as well,” their doubts don’t remain baseless. In the past, Microsoft’s ex-CEO Steve Ballmer had slammed Linux as a “cancer.” So, is Microsoft totally changed? Are its efforts like WSL helping open source software?
Well, software freedom activist Richard Stallman doesn’t have any doubts; he’s certain that Microsoft’s decision to create a Windows Subsystem for Linux is an attempt to extinguish free software.
“It certainly looks that way. But it won’t be so easy to extinguish us, because our reasons for using and advancing free software are not limited to practical convenience,” he said in an interview with TechRepublic.
He further added that the aim of free software movement is freedom, and Windows is a non-starter when it comes to using computers in freedom.
That doesn’t mean that all open source leaders are able to find something evil in Microsoft’s intentions. Canonical founder and CEO Mark Shuttleworth said that WSL provides users flexibility.
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“It’s not like Microsoft is stealing our toys, it’s more that we’re sharing them with Microsoft in order to give everyone the best possible experience,” he said.
In the past, after Microsoft joined the Linux Foundation, Jim Zemlin, executive director of the foundation, expressed similar sentiments and hoped that Microsoft’s efforts will benefit Linux and open source.
What are your thoughts? Is Microsoft going to hurt Linux and open source in the long term? Don’t forget to share your views with us.