Bash on Windows - good for Haiku?

So Microsoft has got bash to run on Windows. I think this is supposed to help with development of open source software. But since Haiku also uses bash, could this be helpful to Haiku in any way? Could Haiku devs approach Microsoft and say something like, “You’ve got bash to help with Linux app development, but with some more work you could make it possible to develop Haiku apps as well - a 2 for 1 proposition”? Could you get a Haiku foot in the door, or would it likely be jammed shut?

Ask yourself this question - Why did Microsoft add Bash support to Windows?

Let’s read that again.

“Could Haiku devs approach Microsoft …”

You are proposing that a few guys who work on a hobbyist operating system in their spare time approach the world’s third largest corporation and tell them to change their key product to make it possible for the other handful of hobbyists who actually use that hobbyist operating system to develop apps that will never bring the corporation any money. Is that about right?

Syd, my friend, you have brass cojones coupled to enough chutzpah for a small nation. Or, more likely, you have absolutely no idea how things work in the real world.

Getting bash to run on Windows probably took them a week, since all the hard work was already done by Cygwin. And they did it for one simple reason: they thought that it would make more money for Microsoft. They may be right, they may be wrong, but that is the only reason that exists. Public corporations are obliged by law to maximise shareholders’ return on investment. Public corporations are not charities. So if you ever managed to discover which of Microsofts 118 000 employees is the right one to approach, the argument that “this would be nice for us at Haiku” would be laughed off the table.

Here endeth the sermon.

1 Like

Haiku and its users can only profit indirectly from Windows having a bash shell: They can use their shell scripts in Windows, and migration from Windows to Haiku becomes slightly easier, since you can take your scripts with you. :slight_smile:

I don’t use Windows at home, but I’m looking forward to get bash at work where I might automate some things. Since we were only recently switched from XP to Win7, I don’t hold my breath, though… :slight_smile:


Won’t make any difference at all to Haiku. Heck, you can’t even build Haiku with WSL currently (lots of problems), and WSL is slow. An Ubuntu VM with 4 virtual CPUs builds the cross-tools about 5x faster than WSL. Also, WSL has no access to the Win32 sub-system, nor can it launch Win32 apps. WSL only provides a limited Linux userspace designed purely for CLI usage. Basically think Ubuntu Server, and that’s what WSL gives you.

1 Like

I bash on Windows. I don’t know about how good it is for Haiku, but I feel better about it. Yes. I woke up a year + dead thread to say that. Totally worth it.

WSL is horrible generally speaking. Has issues with permissions (take nice for example). The interopt is a mess and how they have it integrated with the rest of Windows makes no sense. In short, Microsoft can do a better job than this. Heck I’d prefer a well supported BASH mode in PowerShell and be done with it. You can access WSL within PowerShell now by simply changing your shell (e.g., ‘bash’), but even that current experience is yucky. I think the worst thing I have experienced is Linuxbrew (kissing cousin to Homebrew for Mac) being really slow and painful when using it with WSL.

1 Like

I strongly disagree, enough that I’m about to probably write an opinion piece on it. :wink: Sorry if it gets that long, but it might.

What Microsoft will never understand is that to people who care about freedom of systems choice be it on Haiku, Linux, etc. (realistically, they think we will be made part of the WSL audience) is this: We would rather isolate Redmondian software on one disk or machine (and only if we are in a situation where we need to use said software) and use Haiku, BSD, Gnu (Hurd/Linux), Redox, etc. happily on our own hardware. I would never think of marrying an MS and Free OS ecosystem together and write blissfully about it.

WSL is not good; not so much because it’s prisoner inside a system that slows and limits it down, but because of (potential) intention. Particularly because of the “embrace, extend, extinguish” doctrine that the company has used in the past, (and it remains to be seen if it is being re-used). Part of the open software community genuinely is befuddled (and yet others are offended with a solid resolve). Is Microsoft doing this because they really care and “love” Linux or because they want it squished?

Please deeply consider this, if you want something like WSL on Haiku. And also that it’s because of MSFT that Be died. Sure, Apple not selecting BeOS and the BeIA shift wasn’t good, either, but it was lockout that ultimately did it. Be had nowhere to turn on x86. Internet Explorer crushed Netscape, until Mozilla rose up with a vengeance, and other browsers like Galleon, Konqueror, Safari, Chrome, etc. came up. The whole reason Windows 98 included such a Web “integration” focus was because Microsoft was afraid of losing their #1 stance. Just in the same way they feared competition then, they fear Linux now. Under Ballmer, Linux was a “cancer” and the only thing that I believe changed their collective mind is an awakening realization most heavy computing is now using Linux. Schools are using Chromebooks (built on Linux) and they even tried Win RT and Win 10 S to fight this like “Palm-size PCs” vs Palm. Remember that, too? Or WMP vs WinAmp/Real? That was Microsoft.

And more recently, though Microsoft did not create Secure Boot, it is strangely reminiscient of Pallidium and has a major advantage – they have guaranteed licensing as “genuine software” (think Secure Computing lacing at its finest). Haiku cannot work on SB, and neither can a lot of other projects. Windows 8+ have a home advantage: OEMs sign the keys that Windows is provisioned to use. Only the major Linux vendors have a way in, such as Red Hat/Fedora and Canonical. The blasted feature is on all computers sold in America right now. Sure, you can turn it off – but can you in 2020? And this is on both Intel and AMD <insert here: stop the Intel monopoly!> systems.

As a dual systems citizen that runs both Haiku and systemd-free versions of Gnu (Hurd/Linux), I’m worried. And I think all of us should be. I don’t doubt Haiku will support Secure Boot in the future, but why do we have to do this at the hands of a company that “loves” Linux and yet threatens it simultaneously?

So, I’ll say this now. I’d be the first to loudly and audaciously oppose any partnership between Microsoft and Haiku, Inc. or any WSL-like implementation. The cost of liberty for free support is not worth it. Maybe MSFT repented their evil, but it has yet to be seen.

I close my post with this excellent quote earlier in this thread for thought:


Microsoft can not and never will be able to crush Linux. Majority of the Internet (including IoT) runs on a Unix version one way or the other. If Microsoft thinks it could crush Linux why did it change strategy then and moves towards “X as a Service”? They know very well they can’t win against Unix in the long run since it just has way too many advantages over the monolithic design of Windows. Bash on windows is not going to change anything on this.


Excellent rant. I fail to see where we disagree unless you misunderstood what I said. I said I bash on Windows. I said nothing about liking Microsoft in the slightest. I think perhaps you meant to quote dcatt. Cheers. :joy:

1 Like

My view on this would be that they added bash (and the whole Linux thing) because they’re desperate to stay relevant. Microsoft had the end user market all for them (ok, with some for Apple), but these users are now shifting to mobile devices with Android and iOS. They have the professional market with Office 365 except for some places where Apple is leading (in multimedia stuff). And they lost most of the battle on servers (it’s *BSD) and development machines (it’s Linux).

As a result they have adjusted their strategy. This includes new open source software like VS Code, and in general more collaboration with Linux and the open source community. They are not in a position to embrace, extend, extinguish anymore there. When I have to work under Windows, installing some decent bash shell and not the crummy old COMMAND.COM is one of the first things I’ll do. And if they want developers to continue making apps for their OS, they have to allow for this in some way.

And anyways, they are switching to a “service provider” business model where they will rather sell subscriptions to Office 365. Then it doesn’t matter which OS you use to connect anyways. So Windows isn’t all that important to them anymore.


Well, maybe it’s that I (mis)understood the “totally worth it” part as relating to Haiku, which got me to typing. :slight_smile:

I think I have strong convictions on WSL. Microsoft already has a tentacle inside the Linux world; I definitely wouldn’t want to see that happen to Haiku. But now that you mention it, I see where I probably read your post wrong. But – I don’t regret rambling about Microsoft though. Someone had to mention the Borg. :smiley:

1 Like

I agree with the staying relevant part as well, but I still wonder if Microsoft is doing all this in open source with a dark motive, or if they truly care. I guess history and time will tell. I don’t like the default shell, either, but they do have PowerShell. :slight_smile:

It doesn’t have to be a dark motive. They do business where they can earn money. Would you buy an OS without bash? :wink:

1 Like

PowerShell is certainly better than the old Command Prompt but it’s definitely not equivalent to BASH (or ZSH for that matter)!