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/

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.

You can follow Okinara on Twitter and Facebook to get web and software and general tech related updates.

 

The Stylus is Making a Comeback

‘If you see a stylus, they BLEW it’

-Steve Jobs

7986400732_4d90b1c2d1_zIf anyone had asked me a week ago, “When was the last time you wrote something with your hand?”, it would have taken me a long time to think of a time when I was actually writing with my hands. I recently got into handwriting for a few minutes a day and I also started sketching designs on my whiteboard which I had not used in many years instead of doing it directly in Photoshop.  I have heard many times that the act of writing something with your hand connects different portions of your brain and in doing so you retain more information and are more likely to follow through on what you write about.

However, now I am beginning to fall in love with handwriting again. So much that I am actually contemplating on cancelling my order for the Galaxy S6 and getting myself a Note 4.

samsung-galaxy-note-4-9024As you may already know the Note 4 uses a stylus with many interesting and productivity boosting features. You can easily write a note with S memo. You can do cool things like smart select to select text freely with the Stylus. Write on a screenshot or existing picture and do some doodling. A stylus mostly is thinner and more precise than your fingers and that gives finer control over what kind of strokes are applied to the image or document that you are working on. It acts as a cursor on the screen so you can do things more accurately. Taking out the S pen from its docked state fire up the Air Command to allow you to quickly start doing some work with your pen.

surface-pro3-pen-2Microsoft Surface, the tablet/laptop hybrid also uses a stylus.

The Surface Stylus takes things up a notch with the ways in which you can use it. You can click the top button to open OneNote. Double-click to capture a screenshot. The right click button acts like the right-click button on a mouse. Click it once in apps like OneNote to open a menu, to choose pen color, thickness, and other options. Microsoft on Friday confirmed it bought the stylus and display interface technology for the Surface Pro 3 from the company that made it. This signifies a big win for the stylus.

Other tablets that use a stylus are the Lenovo ThinkPad 10, Asus VivoTab Note 8, Toshiba Encore 2 Write, Dell Venue 11 Pro 7000Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1Samsung Galaxy Note 12.2HP Slate 7 Extreme.

Not only that, it is rumoured that Apple’s new iPad will also use a stylus. Steve Jobs was strongly against the use of a stylus and even said

“if you see a stylus they blew it.”

“Who wants a stylus? You have to get ’em, put ’em away, you lose ’em. Yuch! Nobody wants a stylus. So let’s not use a stylus.” – Jobs said while introducing the iPhone

“God gave us 10 styluses. Let’s not invent another”  Jobs said about the stylus, according to Walter Isaacson’s biography.

So if the rumours of the iPad getting a stylus is true, it is definitely a big deal! The stylus is really making a come back!

 

 

 

 

 

A Simple Home Media Center Setup

Before I begin I would like to state a disclaimer. I’m not suggesting going out and buying all the things that I have mentioned below. This is more of a very basic guide of different components that you can use if you are thinking of centralizing your media and have some old hardware lying around or you plan to make some purchases in the near future.

Media Server

If you have an old PC that you are not using because it is too slow or just doesn’t function the way it used to, you can reformat the hard drive and install Xubuntu.

logo-lightbg-largeXubuntu is an officially recognized flavour of the popular Ubuntu operating system. Since it is a Linux based operating system it is very secure.  It is very easy to use compared to some of the other Linux distributions and can run very smoothly even on old hardware. I’m using a 9 year old PC that has seen better days. 

So we have the Operating System that our server is going to use, as for the actual media server software we are going to be using Plex. Plex is awesome because it is very simple to install, has a very clean user interface, keeps track of where you stopped watching a movie on multiple devices, it provides movie trailers and extras, and a whole lot more. You will need to get the premium service if you want to watch your movies on Xbox or Playstation. At little under $5 a month, it is a worthwhile investment.

Xbox

Xbox-one-logo-2

If you missed it, here are some reasons to pick Xbox as your gaming console. You can control your Xbox with the Xbox One SmartGlass app (Android, IOS, Windows, Windows Phone). You can also download apps on your Xbox which will make it easier to consume media: Youtube, Netflix, TED etc… Then you can pair the Youtube app on your  phone/laptop/tablet with your Xbox One, you can cast all the above apps and others from your phone/table to your Xbox. Leave a comment below if you need a detailed step by step guide and I’ll write up another post for you.

Set-top Box[optional]

If you want you can add a set-top box like Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV to the mix, but that really just makes it redundant.I chose not to add any of these because Xbox One meets all my requirements.

If you really need to have cable TV you can add that to the mix too. Bell Fibe TV is pretty amazing. It has a very clean and fluid user interface and I have grown accustomed to the “Restart” feature which lets you restart a program if you tune in late. The only thing that bugs me is that you cannot fast forward a program that you have “restarted”. Bell Fibe TV has a very useful mobile app which you can use to control the box.

Sound Bar

513I1ZA2L7L._SL1200_Sound bars are great because they are mostly compact and a lot of them can act as a style statement. Of course they won’t sound as great as a full fledged home theatre system with a receiver and surround sound speakers but with recent improvements in technology sound bars have come a long way. I personally wanted something that was compact, had a decent sound output, fitted well under my TV, blended well with all my other devices and took in multiple HDMI inputs. The Sony HT-CT370 2.1 Channel 300W Sound Bar with Wireless Subwoofer, Bluetooth, and NFC is just the sound bar that I was looking for. I plug my Bell FIbe TV set-top box, Xbox One and sometimes my laptop to it. It has 3 HDMI inputs, something which is not too common in sound bars. I don’t have to go to the back of the cabinet to fiddle with wires. And everything gets neatly tucked behind the sound bar. Another thing that I later came to appreciate about the sound bar is its NFC capability. A lot of the times I simply place my Android phone on top of the sound bar and connection is established automatically.

Apps

These are some of the must have apps to make your home entertainment experience even better:

  • Xbox Smart Glass remote
  • Fibe Remote for Bell Fibe TV subscribers
  • Rogers Anyplace TV – for Rogers subscribers
  • Samsung Link – for Samsung devices
  • SongPal from Sony
  • SoundCloud
  • Crackle
  • Youtube
  • Netflix

Songza

Songza-logo-and-monster_660x660Songza deserves a spot of its own because this app is simply amazing. You can listen to this on your phone, on the web, cast it on your chrome device or simply stream it to your bluetooth speakers which is something that I usually do. Songza is a free music streaming and recommendation service for Internet users in the United States and Canada. Stating that its playlists are made by music experts, the service recommends various playlists based on time of day and mood or activity.(Source: Wikipedia) It’s best feature is concierge mode. Just chilling with friends at home on a Friday night, relaxing at home on a Saturday afternoon, need to recover from last night – no problem just make those selections on the concierge mode and let Songza provide a playlist and do its thing.

Extras

Wireless Keyboard 

If you decide to hookup your PC or if you have an Xbox without Kinect  a wireless keyboard certainly comes in handy. The Logitech K400 Wireless Touch Keyboard with TouchPad is the best wireless keyboard under $50.

TV Cabinet

It’s important to choose a cabinet which hides all the wires and is functions. Ikea usually has pretty sleek looking, compact and functional cabinets.

20150427_221216Take for example the cabinet above. It contains the following devices:

  • Xbox One with two controllers
  • Bell Fibe TV set-top box
  • Nintendo Wii
  • A wireless keyboard
  • TV
  • Sound bar
  • Subwoofer
  • DVD player
  • Bluray player

It is a simple design, there are a lot of wires behind the cabinet but they’re all very neatly tucked away. Of course you don’t have to go out there and buy a new cabinet, but if you’re in the market for a new one, these are some of the things that you might want to think about. There are also many ways you can organize your wires to keep look neat.

That’s my take on a simple home media center setup. If you have suggestions please leave a comment below.