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File System Improvements To the Windows Subsystem for Linux (microsoft.com) 110

An anonymous reader shares a new article published on MSDN: In the latest Windows Insider build, the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) now allows you to manually mount Windows drives using the DrvFs file system. Previously, WSL would automatically mount all fixed NTFS drives when you launch Bash, but there was no support for mounting additional storage like removable drives or network locations. Now, not only can you manually mount any drives on your system, we've also added support for other file systems such as FAT, as well as mounting network locations. This enables you to access any drive, including removable USB sticks or CDs, and any network location you can reach in Windows all from within WSL.
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File System Improvements To the Windows Subsystem for Linux

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  • good (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 20, 2017 @03:03PM (#54272109)

    I'm glad to see Microsoft fixing basic Linux problems. Perhaps this is the years of Linux on Windows on the desktop.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      This is MS fixing MS problems on Linux. Linux can already mount all those disk types just fine.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 20, 2017 @03:04PM (#54272115)
    Seems like Microsoft is headed rapidly towards migrating towards full Linux compatibility. Soon we'll be able to run WINE under Windows.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I think we're seeing Linux becoming increasingly irrelevant.

      Linux had an important place in the 1990s. Back then, both Windows and Mac OS offered systems that were nothing like traditional UNIX. So Linux stepped in and provided a robust, reliable, and very capable OS back when its main competitors didn't (Windows and Mac OS), were expensive (commercial PC UNIXes), very limited (Minix), or tied up in a legal quagmire (the BSDs).

      But times change.

      Mac OS X and now macOS have brought us an extraordinarily high q

      • by LVSlushdat ( 854194 ) on Thursday April 20, 2017 @04:59PM (#54272747)

        Man, you ARE delusional.. Linux is the ONLY OS that doesn't treat *your* data as belonging to either Microsoft or Apple.. I used/supported Windows for 20 years as a sysadmin but when I retired I decided I was DONE with anything MS.. And after seeing what a nightmare shitfest Windows 10 is, I thank my lucky stars that something like Linux exists..

        • Thanks for you comment. I was beginning to feel that I was alone. Feeling uneasy with the reaching of any OS into Linux. I fear security will be compromised, somehow..
      • by chipschap ( 1444407 ) on Thursday April 20, 2017 @05:34PM (#54272925)

        It still doesn't offer a desktop environment that's as pleasant to use as Windows .../p>

        I wouldn't characterize the Windows desktop environment as "pleasant to use" in any way, shape or form. I realize it's a matter of individual taste, but I've heard very few people (other than someone on the MS payroll) describe Windows as pleasant.

        Now, I don't know that I'd describe the various Linux desktops as necesarily "pleasant" but I would describe many as highly usable and an enabler in getting work done. I wouldn't describe Windows in such a way, either.

        • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

          Who the fuck modded you up? Linux is a pain to configure, 90% of anything needs to be done via the command line, that is not "pleasant".
          Reminds me of a quote from bash.org

          it only takes three commands to install Gentoo
          cfdisk /dev/hda && mkfs.xfs /dev/hda1 && mount /dev/hda1 /mnt/gentoo/ && chroot /mnt/gentoo/ && env-update && . /etc/profile && emerge sync && cd /usr/portage && scripts/bootsrap.sh && emerge system && emerge v

          • I don't want to give too much credence to your 90% statement as statistics are 97% made up. I mostly use BSD, but Linux comes across as quite usable from the desktop; much more than Windows where they keep changing everything around with every version. The first thing I have to do when opening the Control Pannel is type what I want in the search field.

            But what is impressive in your statement is that you actually can do this stuff from the command line. You see, computers are all about automation, and t
            • You see, computers are all about automation, and that means the ability to re-use your work. You can put it in a script so you don't have to type it again and share it with the world.

              And this is an incredibly relevant point, thank you for making it. Reusable scripts for a large variety of common tasks create enormous work efficiency. It takes a little time to set up a script, perhaps, but then over the next thousands of times you use it you reap the benefits.

              Just as an example --- the University of Hawai`i wifi requires a login pretty much every time you connect. I don't need to start up my web browser and click through things. I took an hour to make and debug an 'expect' script that a

          • Who the fuck modded you up? Linux is a pain to configure, 90% of anything needs to be done via the command line, that is not "pleasant".

            Well, at least you're not an AC. But if you read my post correctly, you'd see that I didn't describe Linux as necessarily pleasant. I did describe it as highly usable and an enabler for getting work done. I can't dispute your 90% figure either way, but there is little doubt that the command line is efficient, usable, and enables you to do a lot in a short time. Of course, you have to bother to learn to use it. I find that bother much more profitable a use of my time than trying to figure out where MS hid th

            • Look, I wasn't trying to be a troll and bash linux (pun intended) I use Linux at home for my media center and file storage, and Linux has gotten more friendly - but it still has a long way to go before it's as user friendly as Windows.

              A LOT of people do not want to use, or learn how to use, the command line.

              Until the Linux developers figure that out (Mark tried with Ubuntu) Linux is not going to replace windows. It's that simple. You can spout the incredibleness of scripting and stuffs but if the
              • A LOT of people do not want to use, or learn how to use, the command line.

                Until the Linux developers figure that out (Mark tried with Ubuntu) Linux is not going to replace windows. It's that simple.

                Actually, even as a Linux fan, I have to take the other side and say Linux is NEVER going to replace Windows. And I don't even try to sell it to established Windows users. Linux attracts its own audience, which will stay a minority. I'm okay with that.

                (This is not an elitist thing, by the way. To each his own. Linux appeals to me, Windows does not, end of story.)

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I'm going join the chorus calling BS on this post, but since it has already been picked over, I'll just take these scraps:

        if you want a workstation OS you use macOS, or Windows, or FreeBSD.

        Plenty of developers that I have met and worked with prefer some flavor of Linux because they get a *nix-based system to test on that matches or closely approximates the platform they'll be deploying on, and, unlike macOS, they can customize the desktop environment to their workflow rather than conforming their workflow to the desktop environment. And WSL is still a sad April Fools joke

      • I run a Windows desktop at home, and Windows at work. (For various reasons, one of which is I have a self-written keyboard remapper that would be hard to port to Linux because of the way it hooks into the OS. At least I've never figured out how to do it.)

        But I do all my software development on Linux. It's just easier than on Windows. And from what I've heard, I'm the kind of person bash-in-Windows is intended for. I've already gotten rid of CygWin on my home Windows machine in favor of this new bash-in

  • Where will MS put their spyware after you've been "allowed" to do that all by yourself?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    ntfs-3g is terrified of touching a NTFS filesystem due to the risk involved with the journal not agreeing with the changes. Any chance we can reverse-engineer how WSL does it?

    • It probably translates all the Linux calls into Windows calls straight into Windows' NTFS driver. So, probably not useful for what you're thinking.
      • by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <slashdot@wor[ ]et ['f.n' in gap]> on Thursday April 20, 2017 @04:53PM (#54272715)

        It probably translates all the Linux calls into Windows calls straight into Windows' NTFS driver. So, probably not useful for what you're thinking.

        Indeed that's what it is.

        WSL is effectively "GNU/kWindows" where Linux ELF binaries can run on the Windows kernel using the Linux kernel personality that translates Linux calls into Windows NT Kernel calls and where security, filesystems, etc are handled by the Windows kernel as expected.

        There's no linux code actually in the system (other than perhaps headers translating the syscall numbers into actual system calls). Likewise, networking is done via Windows NDIS networking, as well as all the other kernel services. Several times I had to sit down and figure out what was actually happening - I had to add an /etc/hosts entry and i needed to figure out how it worked. (Hint: WSL is a kernel layer, so what happens is glibc will look at /etc/hosts, so I should edit the ubuntu /etc/hosts, not the Windows one. The Windows one is used by the Win32 resolver, while the Ubuntu one is used by glibc, and the tools I was using use glibc).

  • wow (Score:5, Funny)

    by mattyj ( 18900 ) on Thursday April 20, 2017 @03:12PM (#54272163)

    They ported the 'mount' command to Linux! How novel!

    What's next, 'dir'?

    • They ported the 'mount' command to Linux! How novel!

      What's next, 'dir'?

      I think it is the drvfs that is the new thing ;)

      Pretty neat syntax and rather flexible.
        mount -t drvfs D: /mnt/d
        mount -t drvfs "\\server\share" /mnt/sambashare

    • Actually the Windows command is "mountvol".
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Let me know when they're done porting it.

      I'm not surprised that the Windows subsystem for Linux can mount a windows file system.
      It was almost interesting when I saw it could mount "other" filesystems, but they clarified that to mean "FAT" (as opposed to vFAT and NTFS I guess?).
      At what point will it be able to mount ext4, xfs, reiserfs, btrfs, jfs, etc. And, further, the fancier layered ones that add encryption and/or compression, LVM, mdraid, glusterfs, ceph, etc.

      • Does Drvfs have a loop device? (or, if the question is wrong, does WSL have a loop device, working with no trouble on files on Drvfs volumes)
        Does WSL have FUSE? If so there are a number of things that should be doable, some rather basic stuff like sshfs and curlftpfs for a start. There's a ceph-fuse package for example, so while you might not want to run a ceph node, unless you don't care about speed / CPU or warts I don't know about, I assume it might be usable to access data on a ceph data store.

        Will Drvf

  • by freeze128 ( 544774 ) on Thursday April 20, 2017 @03:28PM (#54272255)
    What is the Windows Subsystem for Linux, and why would I want to use it? Can't linux already mount SMB shares? I don't understand this.
    • Re:What is it? (Score:4, Informative)

      by markhb ( 11721 ) on Thursday April 20, 2017 @03:45PM (#54272347) Journal

      It's an Ubuntu subsystem on Windows 10 that allows you to run (some) ELF binaries directly from within the Windows environment.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by wjcofkc ( 964165 )
        You can now use any Linux distro as a subsystem. All-in-all, it's pretty great.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by wjcofkc ( 964165 )
        I should also point out that you can run X-Windows under MS Windows. In combo with the subsystem, I have had no problem running Linux X apps under MS Windows.
        • by aliquis ( 678370 )

          There's no such thing as X-Windows.

          The system is called X Window System, the last (large) version is 11, hence X11 or followed by R and the revision number.

          The most used implementations today is X.Org and XFree86.
          Wayland is in alternative to X Window System (as in not X Window System)

    • Re:What is it? (Score:4, Informative)

      by brianerst ( 549609 ) on Thursday April 20, 2017 @03:46PM (#54272355) Homepage

      It's basically an Ubuntu (?) distribution that runs within Windows - not as an emulation / WM but as a subsystem that converts the Linux ABI into Windows calls. A very large chunk of the user space Linux stuff will run in Windows now.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Call it "LINE" for "LINE Is Not an Emulator", and it makes slightly more sense. LINE for Windows is kinda-sorta-not-really like WINE for Linux. Embrace Extend Extinguish continues.

    • by Dr. Evil ( 3501 )

      So that you can use GNU software without straightjacketing yourself into a Linux desktop.

      See the summary https://itvision.altervista.org/why.linux.is.not.ready.for.the.desktop.current.html#Summary [altervista.org]

      Web developers have been relying on MacOS for years to get a decent Unix environment. MS is looking to take that market before Apple comes to their senses and starts manufacturing hardware again.

  • The FAT file system has been coughing blood for 30 years. What's next, support for hard-sectored CP/M floppies?

    Does this stupid thing at least acknowledge .ISO files yet? As everything else does?

  • Please Microsoft.

    Or any other file-system with checksums.

    • They're introducing ReFS in Windows 10, or un-hiding it.
      It lacks quotas, compression, lacks quite a few things but checksums is what it is for.

      • by aliquis ( 678370 )

        It can also correct errors? Not just detect them?

        • I think so, yes. Data scrubbing. I even saw a screenshot where in the GUI for checking a drive, you get a popup that tells you you can't run the drive check nor need it (in drive properties, whatever)

          Maybe you have Storages Spaces for "RAID 1" or spanning drives with some parity, I don't know the details of that.
          Don't look for NTFS specific features etc. though.

  • by MrKaos ( 858439 ) on Thursday April 20, 2017 @07:32PM (#54273419) Journal

    Meanwhile Cygwin [cygwin.com] already does this and much more. Essentially bash on Win 10 that seems like an admission that powershell, whilst powerful, is about as an inelegant and clunky as it gets.

    As a fallback my colleague did a installation of cygwin on Windows 10 and it seems to be broken after working flawlessly since XP. I've got a new install of Win10 for testing cygwin on as the Microsoft offering is pretty primitive. I don't understand why microsoft doesn't get behind the cygwin project and make it better as it already does what they are attempting to do, only better.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Because you can't fork() from win32. The cygwin1b.dll implements emulated fork functionality but it is slow as shit after decades. By creating a native subsystem, you can fork/exec at the same speed of CreateProcess with the added benefit of being fully binary compatible.

      There was an effort to add Linux ABI support on top of cygwin years ago, it worked for linux32 applications, it was called LINE.

      A real subsystem is better in every way.

      • I was going to reply with "CreateProcess() isn't exactly fast." When compared with fork() in modern Linux, it isn't. But when I started digging into the Cygwin source to find the CreateProcess (or NtCreateProcess) that I knew it would inevitably call, I found it buried a lot deeper than I expected.

        https://cygwin.com/git/gitweb.... [cygwin.com]

        Obviously, since WSL isn't open source, I can't dig into it and see what they're doing. But if I had to guess, I'd imagine they're doing something in kernel space that makes fork()

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