Moving From Linux (Ubuntu) to Windows

The Journey sailing through different operating systems

Before, I begin, let me clarify things a little. I have not really moved from Ubuntu to Windows recently. I made the transition long time ago, what I am here to tell you is that, I don’t think there are really all very compelling reasons to move from Windows to Linux(for me and people like me).

I have been using Ubuntu on and off since the very beginning when I first stumbled upon it while in university. I have used multiple Linux distros, but I always keep coming back to Ubuntu. There was a time when Ubuntu was my primary driver. This was the time when I had quit my job to work on my startup. I had turned my old Windows XP (yes, that’s right, XP!) into a Ubuntu machine because I didn’t want to spend money on upgrading my hardware or the operating system to Windows 7. Plus, I didn’t really like windows 7. I used it for a couple of years until I needed to move around with my work so I bought a macbook which I absolutely loved!

However, my desktop operating system was still Ubuntu Desktop, while I used Centos Server for work. I have never liked Centos, the any variant of it – we used Redhat in University and I used Fedora for desktop for a little while. At that time, I thought, I will never in my life ever move back to Windows for anything. I even installed Ubuntu on my parents desktops. They were okay with it. Didn’t get many complaints.

As time went by, I upgrade my macs, and with every update, I became sadder and sadder. During that time, I had moved from Iphone and Android and was shocked at how well Android did things that IOS just coudn’t. I was tempted with Windows 8 after using it on my sister’s laptop, but I needed to the *nix experience because of my work. I had completely stopped using Ubuntu Desktop at this point. However, I had moved all my servers to Ubuntu.

Then came windows 10, and also the update to Mac OSX, which I don’t remember what it was called, but I clearly remember thinking, “IS THIS A F*CKING JOKE?”

Then I finally decide do take the plunge into windows. The touch screen, the new browser, the new menu system, the promise of Universal Apps(sadly this didn’t come to fruition). Everything about it felt better than Macs. Initially, for about a month or so, I regretted my decision because I finally realized how dependent I was on *nixy  commands. I tried to manage with cygwin, but truth be told, it was just awful. Crashes and bugs and just a whole long list of disappointments and endless frustration and workarounds.  But I stuck with it.

I converted my shell scripts to python scripts for my dev work. And it was going okay.

Touch Screen

Meanwhile, evernote had started to fail me with constant crashes and multiple changes to UI, and I decided to switch to OneNote. Up until now, I was always looking for an excuse to use my digital pen. But now, with one note, I rediscovered (and in some sense had to relearn) the joy of writing. I will never ever go back to MacOs, or even  think about going back to it unless and until Macos has touch screen capability.  I was already sold on having touchscreen on a laptop, but now with one note, things got to a whole new level.

Then came Bash on Ubuntu on Windows

You can read about my excitement here: Ubuntu on Windows. This started to change everything. With the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL), I could start using some of my shell scripts again. SSHing to severs was easier, and my workflow became fun and my productivity just sky rocketed.

Then, (from what I remember), the WSL was separated from “Bash on Ubuntu on Windows” as a standalone thing with Ubuntu becoming a downloadable app from the Windows App store and other Linux distros were also introduced.

Gaming on Windows

After a long period of thinking “I have outgrown games”, I bought an Xbox One and rekindled my love for video games. Still not satisfied, I decided to build myself a gaming PC. Let’s be honest here, Windows is the best place to game on out of all the desktop operating systems.

SSH on Windows

SSH client is now natively built into windows, so I find myself using less and less of Ubuntu on Windows.

Windows Firewall

One thing that Windows has that Linux does not is a built in application level firewall. No, iptables is not enough and yes I do use iptables on some of my servers and UFW on other servers. Windows Firewall is THE BEST builtin out of the box firewall out of all the operating system I have used in my life. Paired  with something like Windows Firewall Control, I can have a very customized firewall, something that I have not found any other free or paid firewall do well.

WSL 2 is coming!

Windows Subsystem for Linux version 2 is coming and it could not have come at a better time. WSL 1 was like a translator between common Linux commands and the Windows Operating system. BUT, WSL 2 will be an actual real Linux kernel – THAT’s RIGHT! Windows will now ship with a Linux kernel. It will be a virtual machine, but Microsoft is saying, without the slowness of a typical VM. I assume they will be doing some sort of optimization to make this happen.

I was using Hyper V to get Docker working on Ubuntu since WLS 1 is not compatible with Docker. (Yes, I can use docker on Windows too). I do have Ubuntu installed on one of my desktop hard drives which I use when I feel like having a change. Recently, I found myself contemplating moving my work back to Ubuntu  Desktop, mainly because of consistency. I will not have to switch from git on windows to git on ubuntu or windows desktop to Ubuntu server etc.. etc…

I even tried it on Ubuntu Desktop for a few days. I missed Windows – I love Windows. With WSL 2, I hopefully will not have any reason to doubt calling Windows 10 my home.

So these are my reasons for using Windows Desktop. Working, note taking, gaming and just general ease of use, IMHO Windows 10 is currently the best desktop operating system.

Bash on Ubuntu on Windows

Bundows

At Build 2016, Microsoft announced, among other things, that developers will soon be able to run Bash on Ubuntu on Windows. If you are interested in this kind of stuff, then I know that you probably already know about this. I was stoked when I heard about this news about two weeks ago but I just did not have the time to blog about it, but now I finally do.

So what does this all mean?

It means that you will be able to run actual Bash on Ubuntu, … on Windows. I know it sounds like I’m just repeating myself here, but the news is that exciting and it almost sounds like it is not real. Many people in the past would have said that hell will freeze if and when something like this happens, and yet here we are.

This is not a Virtual Machine running Ubuntu! This is actual Ubuntu user-mode running on Windows. To accomplish this Microsoft created a Windows Subsystem for Linux. Microsoft has partnered with Canonical, the creators of Ubuntu Linux to make this all possible.

But what does this Really mean?

This is a sign of a ‘personality shift’ in Microsoft. This shows the openness that Microsoft has adopted. They know that to keep Windows relevant now and in the years to come, they need to make developers want to develop FOR Windows and develop ON Windows even if they might not be developing for Windows. We’ve seen this as a reoccurring theme from .NET going open source in 2014, Android app portability, and their recent acquisition of Xamarin.

But this news of Bash on Ubuntu on Windows by Microsoft, going as far as building a brand new Subsystem for Linux is HUGE! It took a while for this to really sink in for many people that I talked with – not that the technology was difficult to understand, but the fact that it was actually happening. It is a big deal – Linux and Windows coming together, open source and Microsoft coming together, Canonical and Microsoft coming together.

Actual Ubuntu user-mode means you will be able to run command-line tools like apt-get, sed, awk, grep, and you can even try Linux-first tools like Ruby, Git, Python, etc. directly on Windows.

This also means that web developers will find it easier to develop on Windows. Having the ability to run Bash on Ubuntu on Windows will make it easier for Start-ups to choose Windows development machines, since most start-ups are initially short on cash and often choose open source software including Linux operating systems, eliminating the need to have separate Linux development machines.

What do I think of this?

If you have not already figured this one out, let me tell you, I’m going nuts over this news. I moved from Mac OS to Windows about 6 months ago, mostly because I believe that Microsoft is really going in the right direction and paving the way to the future with their HoloLens technology, Windows 10 Universal apps, touch screen capabilities for the Windows Operating system and much more. The one thing that I had always missed was the ability to run Linux commands and Bash scripts. Mac OSX is built on Unix so this was never an issue, but it was not possible to do that on Windows. An option was to learn Windows command line, which in all honesty sucks!

I have used Cygwin until now, and for the most part it does the job, but it still was not Linux. From time to time I run into problems with it, installing libraries and programs is okay – it works except when it doesn’t. But now with Bash on Ubuntu on Windows, I’ll have access to Ubuntu’s apt-get – this is amazing!

What is the Future of Bash on Ubuntu on Windows?

For now, Bash on Ubuntu on Windows is still in its beta stage. You will not be able to install it unless you are on “Windows Insider”. I personally will stick to Cygwin for now, until the stable version gets released because currently my main Windows machine is my only Windows machine.

In the future Bash on Ubuntu on Windows is sure to be a better option than Cygwin. Sure Cygwin has been time-tested but the Bundows (there you go, I just coined a new word) has the advantage of the backing from Microsoft and Canonical and it will be using the Windows Subsystem for Linux.

Should you use Bundows?

Yes, and No – it depends on who you are. I would not recommend installing it on your main Windows machine, or if you are not willing to work with something that might not work sometimes – as I said, this is still in beta stage. Do NOT use it on production machines.

If you are a student, then yes, do it now. You should be trying to be on the cutting edge of things, trying betas and alphas, making stuff, breaking stuff, getting stuck and learning from it. In my teens and early twenties, I did a lot of tinkering with different operating systems and programs and that is what taught me so much of what I know.

How to install Bundows?

First you need to be on Windows Insider. You can start here https://insider.windows.com/
Your next step is to turn on or install Bundows: https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/commandline/2016/04/06/bash-on-ubuntu-on-windows-download-now-3/

Surface Book

I was really looking forward to watching Windows 10 Devices event today. I knew the Surface Pro 4 was coming out and they showed off the hololens, the new Lumia and continuum in action which was really cool and I thought okay this is all great, but then I was surprised when Microsoft’s first ever laptop, the Surface Book was revealed. I was already pretty stoked and THIS HAPPENED!

“Holy Sh!t…. This is insane!” Are the exact words that I involuntarily yelled out around 59 seconds into this video while watching the Windows 10 Devices live event today!

This is a game changer! This is Microsoft’s first ever laptop, and what a laptop it is! If what Microsoft has already done with windows and continuum was not enough(check out my article on Windows 10) Surface book definitely pushes me over the edge. I Want a Surfacebook! And it comes at the most perfect time because my 6 year old Macbook Pro is now coming to the end of it’s life and although I love Macbooks, what Microsoft is doing with Windows10 and now with Surface Book is mind blowingly awesome!

Microsoft calls it “the ultimate laptop”. The surface pro showcases  a

  • 6th generation Intel core i5 or i7 processor
  • 13.5-inch with a resolution of 3000 x 2000
  • an integrated backlit keyboard
  • optional dedicated graphics card
  • 5 points of touch glass trackpad.
  • It weighs 1.6 pounds (728g)(am I reading that right?)
  • Microsoft claims that it has battery life of 12 hour1 for all day use
  • comes with a surface pen – the same pen works with surface pro 4

Pricing

  • 128GB  SSD / Core Intel i5 – 8GB RAM: $1,949 CAD
  • 256GB SSD / Core Intel i5 – 8GB RAM: $2,199 CAD
  • 256GB SSD / Core Intel i5 – 8GB RAM / dGPU: $2,449 CAD
  • 256GB SSD / Core Intel i7 – 8GB RAM / dGPU: $2,799 CAD
  • 512GB SSD / Core Intel i7 – 16GB RAM / dGPU: $3,499 CAD

As you can see the surface book does not come cheap. But this laptop is for some serious work and of course as it comes with Windows 10 pro. This laptop is for content creators, musicians, video editors, developers, architects, engineers on the go.

The Surface Book on its own is pretty cool, but what blew my mind away was this:

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Ya..okay so that’s a laptop. ..and…
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What sorcery is this?en-INTL-L-Atlas-Devices-CR9-00001-RM2-mncoSnake hinges?

 

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Makes me want to be an architect..

 

It separates from the base and becomes a separate device that you can use in tablet mode, or as Microsoft puts it, “Canvas” mode. It’s the size of an A4 paper.

One thing that seems a bit of confusing is that the Surface Pro 4 is supposed to be the device that will replace your laptop and tablet, and then they reveal the Surace Book. From my perspective, it’s a high end laptop that replaces your Macbook Pro, your tablet and to some extent your desktop because that is the exact thing that it does for me, and in fact I had been wishing for someone to build this devices for at least 3 or 4 years.

Now it all boils down to price…Am I willing to spend this much on a laptop? I don’t know yet, but I think if there is an ultimate laptop title, then it definitely goes to the Surface Book.

That’s my take on the all new Surface Book, What’s yours?

Please leave a comment below, share if you this article! And thanks for reading!

Windows into the Future

I have been wanting to write this article since I watched the Windows Keynote earlier this year!

I never imagined saying this but I believe that new the Microsoft Windows will be in the driving seat to shape the future of what operating systems look like. Engadget titled an article on it’s website When did Apple become the boring one? I tend to agree with that question. Apple has started to get  boring. In fact I am seriously considering moving back to Windows after being in love with MacOSX for the past 6 years. So why am I so excited about Windows ? One word…well.. two.. Windows 10!

Apple has Mac OSX which powers desktops and laptops and IOS which powers their smart phones and tablets. Google has Chrome OS which runs on laptops and desktops and Android which runs on phones and tablets. Microsoft has Windows for desktop, Windows for mobile and an operating system for Xbox. Most of these companies try to make their operating systems on different types of devices work together, but they are still all separate operating systems.

“10” to Rule them All

Screen Shot 2015-04-30 at 18.13.20For the first time, we will get to experience one operating system that will work on all (windows) devices. Windows 10 will work on laptops, desktops, phones and Xbox. Windows 10 will be the new Universal Windows Platform which will give a unified experience on all devices. ( One confusion I would like to clear out is that although Windows 10 will be working on all your(Windows) devices, it won’t be exactly the same. There will be 7 different version of Windows 10. I still think this is ridiculous as people often end up in choice paralysis. In this respect, Apple gets it right – one operating system for mobile, one for desktop/laptop and one for server. )

Microsoft is aiming to run Windows 10 on 1 billion devices in the next 2 to 3 years and to accomplish this Microsoft will be providing free upgrades to anyone who owns a Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 device.

Windows 10 will be a free upgrade.

Windows 10 Platform – A Developer’s Oasis

In order to make an operating system successful, it of course needs to be user friendly and robust to handle all kinds of situations, however, no one is going to use the operating system if there is a weak collection of 3rd party apps available to be used in conjunctions with the operating system. Microsoft knows this very well and that is the reason it has made sure that Windows 10 is an operating system for developers!

Web

Developers will be apple to publish web apps to the windows store. As the owner of a web development company  I cannot express enough how excited I am about this news. (Check out our services at Okinara.com or visit our Okinara’s Facebook Page. We provide end to end E-Commerce Solutions from development to marketing and hosting.)

Developers will be able to use APIs  to provide locally install app kind of experience for their web services. This can be used in very creative ways and is a win-win for developers and consumers.

.NET& Win32

An easy way to import  all existing apps to windows store and there will be an easy install and uninstall feature similar. This again is a win-win for developers and consumers. Consumers will not have to wait long for their favourite programs to be compatible with Windows 10.

Android – Java/C++

Android_robot.svgDevelopers will be able to reuse java and C++ code used to develop Android apps and for Windows. Windows phones will have an Android subsystem which will use android code and these apps will also have access to Windows-specific extras.

IOS – Objective C 

125px-Apple_iOS_new.svgDevelopers will be able to use their Objective C code for IOS and bring it to Windows. This is bold – Microsoft is trying to take a bite out of Apple.

 

This is great for developers and consumers. Developers will quickly be able to import their existing Android and IOS apps to windows, cutting cost, effort and time. Consumers will no longer be face with dreaded feeling of realizing that the app that they really want is available “only on Android and IOS” and would not have to wait for long.

In addition to that, there will be a single code that will run across all devices – this is huge! Apple developers need to code for Mac OSX and IOS, Google developers have to code for Chrome OS and Android.

There are bound to be some performance issues for ‘imported’ apps, but the ability to quickly import apps at least gives  boost to Windows development which will help developers quickly push their apps and updates to all platforms and can then later tweak performance after launch.

Store

There will be a more unified experience when it comes to shopping for apps across all your devices and as I mentioned above, even web apps will be available for installation. In addition, carrier billing will make shopping experience easier.

The Edge.

Edge is the name for the new Microsoft Internet browser. Microsoft ended Internet Explorer’s run and rightfully so. It was the stupid weirdo that no one liked. Most of you will try and run away from this new browser too, but I have a good feeling about this one, so please give it a try before you pass judgement. Check out my review of Microsoft’s new Inter Browser.

Cortana and Continuum

As a consumer I am most existed about Cortana and Continuem. Cortana is the Siri of the Microsoft world, but Cortana does a lot more than Siri. Microsoft is moving towards developing a true AI personal Assistant much like the Cortana from the Xbox Halo series. By studying they way you use Windows, the kinds of apps that you search for and use and your internet browsing habits, it will make suggestions for new apps and settings, news and more. You will be able to talk to Cortana and give it(…um.. her?) commands like “Cortana message Tim on Whatsapp that I will be late for today’s meeting” Cortana will then open up Whatsapp, search for Tim and send the message.

All this is great, but everyone owns more than one device and this is where Continuum comes in. You will be able to start and stop your work on any device and still get a seamless experience. All this looks good an ‘paper’, but will it actually work? I think there is a good chance that it will. Since there will be one operating system installed on all (windows) devices, and the code base for apps will be the same, the chance of this working is very good. We’ll just have to wait and see if it actually works in reality.

Microsoft is really getting in the driver seat when it comes to software technology with Windows 10. All this is really great, but is this cool or creepy?(especially Cortana and Continuum). Windows 10’s timing is perfect for me since, I am due for a laptop upgrade and I am leaning heavily towards Windows and Surface Pro.

Microsoft is also taking a leap forward with holograms and their HoloLens. I’m not going to talk about this, you can read more here.

This is my take on the upcoming Windows 10, if you like what I have presented for you, please like and share. If you notice errors, please do let me know as I am juggling between writing, developing and running and expanding my business.

If you have tips, or if you would like me to write about something specific that you like, please feel free to get in touch with my on Twitter, Facebook,  Linkedin, or contact me via my contact page.

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