According to a blog post by open source proponent Eric Raymond, Microsoft is finally ready to abandon the old relic called Windows, which no longer generates enough revenue to be anything more than a “sideshow” in the company. Raymond says that now that Azure is making so much more money than Windows, Azure will replace Windows with Linux, which will run a layer of emulation to keep it compatible with older apps.
The only problem is that none of this is true. Despite stagnant growth, Windows revenue is still one of Microsoft’s most profitable parts. Azure will surpass that one day, but that day is not today. Even so, Raymond believes that the more this happens, the less Windows is a priority for Microsoft and, in the end, Windows development just doesn̵
“From a cold-blooded profit-maximizing perspective, this means that continuing Windows development is one thing Microsoft would prefer not to do. Instead, invest more capital in Azure – it is widely rumored that there are more Linux instances running than Windows these days . “
The speculation that Microsoft cares less about Windows than it used to (it’s not even really speculation) is not new, and it is clear that the company will care even less across the board. But Raymond doesn’t just take Microsoft’s finances as evidence. he looks for clues that lie directly in front of us. These pointers are, as you guessed, the Windows Subsystem for Linux and Microsoft’s Edge Browser for Linux.
The latter is actually pretty straightforward to explain since it took so little work to bring Edge to Linux. Edge is now based on Chromium and therefore supports all platforms supported by Chromium. What probably should have been more notable is that Microsoft built Edge primarily out of Chromium, rather than evolving its own internal browser. The story of how Edge was rebuilt is pretty similar to what Raymond will tell with Windows.
“If you think this is a fantasy, think again. The best evidence that it is already planned is that Microsoft has already ported Edge to run on Linux. There is only one way, the meaning makes, as a test run for the share. The rest of the Windows utility suite depends on the emulation level. “
Windows now ships with a Linux kernel with the latest Windows subsystem for Linux. As mentioned in the blog post, Microsoft is contributing to Linux to improve the WSL.
All of this, Raymond believes, results in Microsoft rebuilding Windows from a Linux kernel with a Windows emulation layer. Developers can compile their apps to run natively, which Microsoft already does with Edge.
While he makes a compelling case for Microsoft wanting to do this, he doesn’t consider whether Microsoft does or not can do that. The Redmond company is known to be bad at bringing app developers on board for something they’re supposed to do. You can use Windows Phone or Windows on ARM as examples here. Nor is it shown to be great at emulation, as 32-bit emulation on ARM PCs and 64-bit emulation aren’t even great here.
What do you think? Is the Year of Desktop Linux Finally On The Way? Let us know in the comments!