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Usage of Linux on Azure surpasses Windows Server

The usage of Linux on Azure has exponentially surpassed the Windows, confirmed Microsoft Linux Kernel developer, Sasha Levin, to ZDNet.

The battle between Windows and Linux has been going on for over a decade. While Windows became a clear dominant OS on desktops, the Linux has won the battle on server.

In 2016, Azure CTO Mark Russinovich had revealed that 25% of the Azure instances were Linux, which increased to 40% the next year. Then in 2018, Microsoft told ZDNet that around 50% of Azure VMs were Linux.

This shows that Linux hasn’t won the battle overnight. More and more enterprises are choosing Linux over Windows when it comes to server.

“Every month, Linux goes up,” Scott Guthrie, Executive VP of the cloud and enterprise group, Microsoft told ZDNet in September last year.

Microsoft users have been actively choosing Linux and open-source software for over 10 years, since Microsoft open-sourced ASP.NET. “We recognized open source is something that every developer can benefit from. It’s not nice, it’s essential. It’s not just code, it’s community,” said Guthrie. “We’re now the largest open-source project supporter in the world.”

Now, there are almost a dozen of Linux distros available on Azure, that too without considering the Microsoft’s own Azure Sphere.

READ NEXT: Microsoft to stop support for Windows 7 from January 2020


Microsoft releases first preview of PowerShell 7

Microsoft has released the first preview of PowerShell 7, with a plan to release a preview every month.

The tech giant has enhanced the compatibility of PowerShell 7 and made multiple fixes and improvements. The new version of PowerShell will support the .NET Core 3.0 which will not only bring performance improvements but also provide new APIs including WPF an WinForms.

This first preview contains some of the changes that didn’t make it in time for the 6.2 GA release, and marks our move to .NET Core 3.0,Steve Lee, a principal software engineering manager, PowerShell Team announced in a blog post. “We will be changing the support life-cycle to align with .NET Core. This means that we expect PowerShell 7 to be generally available (GA) about a month after .NET Core 3.0 GA.

Microsoft in its previous post reported that .NET Core 3.0 would be generally available sometime in September. If the discussed plans are accomplished, then the latest version of PowerShell would be commercially available soon near October.

PowerShell 7 works across all the operating systems (Linux, macOS and Windows), mainly focused on the Windows based PowerShell users who are not frequently upgrading and using the PowerShell framework as much as the Linux users.

Teams of Windows and PowerShell are working together to validate and update their modules to work with PowerShell 7.

“A big focus of PowerShell 7 is making it a viable replacement for Windows PowerShell 5.1. This means it must have near parity with Windows PowerShell in terms of compatibility with modules that ship with Windows,” added Lee.

Microsoft has plans of finding ways to use credentials in a secured way “from a local or remote based credential store.” It is also working on features that improve the error report formatting in the latest version of PowerShell.

ALSO READ: Microsoft adds new access control options to Azure Monitor Logs

The GitHub page has listed the preview bits of PowerShell 7 which users can download directly in different compressed-file formats for various operating systems.

Articles Cloud Cloud News

Top 7 announcements at Microsoft Build 2019 Developer Conference

At the Microsoft Build 2019 Developer Conference, the tech giant is making remarkable momentum in the cloud. It has announced a broad range of innovations that will help its Azure to dominate the world of cloud computing.

The three-day conference taking place in Seattle, WA, brings several new opportunities for the developers and the enterprises looking to dive into the latest cloud technologies, explore client development techniques, or discover new open source tooling and libraries.

The biggest news at Microsoft Build 2019 spanned Windows, Linux, Edge browser, Fluid Framework, and more.

Major announcements at Microsoft Build 2019 Developer Conference

1. Kubernetes Event-driven Autoscaling (KEDA)

Microsoft is adding a number of new features to its Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS), which includes Kubernetes Event-driven Autoscaling (KEDA) and Azure Policy for AKS.

KEDA is an open source component that supports the deployment of serverless event-driven containers on Kubernetes created with collaboration with Red Hat. It will bring a new hosting option for Azure Functions that can be deployed as a container in Kubernetes clusters. It is now available in public preview.

Whereas, the Azure Policy for AKS will help in blocking violations happening at runtime and performs compliance assessments on existing clusters.

2. New features for Microsoft Edge

Last year, Microsoft announced its plans to adopt the Chromium open source project for developing Microsoft Edge on the desktop. The aim was to create better web compatibility for customers, and less fragmentation for the web for all web developers.

Now, the company is rolling out a number of new features that will be available with the next version of Microsoft Edge on Windows 10. These new features will include an Internet Explorer mode, Privacy Tools, and Collections.

The Internet Explorer Mode will bring the Internet Explorer to Microsoft Edge via a new tab. This will allow enterprises to run legacy IE-based apps in a modern browser.

The Privacy Tools will bring three levels of privacy in Edge browser—Unrestricted, Balanced, and Strict. These privacy levels will decide how third-parties track users across the web.

Whereas, the Collections will remove the information overload from users, by more efficiently collecting, organizing, and sharing content.

3. Shipping Linux Kernel with Windows

Windows loves Linux!

For the first time, the Linux kernel will be included as a component in Windows. Microsoft is adding an in-house custom-built Linux kernel to underpin the latest version of the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL).

4. Windows Subsystem for Linux: WSL 2

Microsoft has also unveiled a new architecture for the WSL for Linux. The updates will increase the file system performance, and enable full system call compatibility. This will allow customers to run more Linux apps in WSL 2.

The new architecture will update the way Linux binaries interact with Windows and computer’s hardware. Still, it will deliver the same user experience as in WSL 1.

5. Windows Terminal

Build conference has also witnessed the release of Windows Terminal, which is a new, modern, fast, efficient, and productive terminal application for customers who use command-line tools and shells, such as Command Prompt, PowerShell, and WSL.

6. Autonomous systems with Microsoft AI

Microsoft has unveiled a limited preview program for developers to build autonomous systems with Microsoft AI and Azure tools. These developers will be allowed to work with experts at Microsoft for developing intelligent agents that can autonomously run physical systems.

“Machines have been progressing on a path from being completely manual to having a fixed automated function to becoming intelligent where they can actually deal with real-world situations themselves,” said Gurdeep Pall, Microsoft vice president for Business AI.

“We want to help accelerate that journey, without requiring our customers to have an army of AI experts.”

7. New capabilities in Fluid Framework

Fluid Framework is a developer technology for building a new class of shared, interactive experiences on the web. It is getting three new capabilities.

First, it will support multi-person co-authoring on web and document content.

Second, it will allow authors to de-construct content into collaborative building blocks and use them across apps. They will also be able to combine the blocks in a new and more flexible kind of document.

Third, the Fluid Framework will now allow intelligent agents to work alongside humans for the purpose of translating text, fetching content, suggesting edits, performing compliance checks, and more.

 “We’ll make this technology broadly available to developers and integrate it into Microsoft 365 experiences like Word, Teams, and Outlook to transform the way that you work with these tools. We will launch both the software developer kit and the first experiences powered by the Fluid Framework later this year,” wrote Rajesh Jha, Executive Vice President, Microsoft Experiences and Devices, in a blog post.

Wrapping up:

Most of the announcements at the Microsoft Build 2019 are focused on developer tools, spanning Azure Kubernetes Service, Microsoft Edge, Windows, Linux, AI development, etc.

Also read: Microsoft rolls out new AI capabilities in Azure for developers and enterprises

Stay tuned with us for further announcements at Microsoft Build 2019.

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Red Hat Quay 3 brings support for Windows containers and multiple architectures

Red Hat has released the new version of its container image registry for the enterprises— Red Hat Quay 3. This is a major release of Quay that brings support for multiple architectures and Windows containers.

First released in 2013, Quay is a distributed and highly available container image registry that provides storage and enables enterprises to build, distribute, and deploy containers.

Red Hat Quay 3 is focused on security, scalability, and automation. The new support for multiple architectures will allow enterprises to run containers on more platforms. They will also be able to use different systems like IBM Power LE and Z System Workloads, ARM-based IoT devices, and Windows-based workloads.

Red Hat Quay will now support storing of Windows container images. Users can also use Red Hat Enterprise Linux-based images for the Quay container. The company said that building Quay on an RHEL-based image can bring more reliability, security, performance, and consistent operational model.

On the security front, Quay will now come with support for multiple authentication systems and identity providers. For instance, it will provide vulnerability scanning via integration with the Clair security scanner. Furthermore, it will provide encrypted CLI passwords, detailed logging of events for auditing, etc.

For the users of Red Hat OpenShift, the company mentioned that Quay is well-suited for these users because of its security and automation features. Red Hat will build tighter integration between OpenShift and Quay in the future.

“By including a configuration UI in this release, we are making strides toward our goal to help make Quay easier to run on Kubernetes and other deployments. It can automatically deploy changes to nodes and can trigger Kubernetes blue-green deployments of Quay containers for configuration updates,” explained Dirk Herrmann – Principal Product Manager Red Hat OpenShift, in a blog post.

“This can help make running Quay on OpenShift easier because you can deploy changes to the configuration of Quay itself more easily than in previous versions.”

Also read: Red Hat collaborates with public cloud giants to launch Kubernetes marketplace

Along with it, Red Hat has also changed its logo after around 20 years of its proposition.


Ubuntu 19.04 released with focus on open infrastructure, developer desktop, and IoT

Ubuntu 19.04 ‘Disco Dingo’ is finally here.

Canonical has released the latest version of Ubuntu with a focus on open infrastructure deployments, developer desktop, internet of things (IoT), as well as cloud to edge software distribution.

Ubuntu is a leading open source Linux distribution based on Debian, and an operating system for desktop, server, and cloud computing.

The latest version of Ubuntu will bring integrations with the main open infrastructure projects, including OpenStack, Kubernetes, and Ceph. There will be advanced life-cycle management for multi-cloud and on-premise operations.

For IoT, it will add support for AWS DeepRacer, a developer-centric model for autonomous ground vehicle community development. Along with this, Ubuntu 19.04 will also have integration with the Edge X stack and multiple smart display solutions.

The company said that over 2,000 independent software publishers distribute their apps to Linux desktops, appliances and cloud virtual machines (VMs) via the snap store. This is an increase of around 30% since October 2018.

For developers, Canonical has added Microsoft Visual Studio Code to the set of tools published as snaps. Developers will be able to install multiple instances of the same snap for CI/CD, testing or phased rollouts.

If Ubuntu is installed on VMware, the open-vm-tools for bi-directional clipboard will get installed automatically.

Users of Ubuntu who upgrade to v19.04 will also get GNOME 3.32. It comes with higher frame rates, icons that load faster, smoother animations, and faster loading for CPU and GPU.

Also read: GitLab puts power of Kubernetes in developer workflow with extended integration

It is worth noting that Ubuntu 19.04 is a standard release which will be supported for next nine months.

“The open-source-first on Ubuntu movement in telco, finance, and media has spread to other sectors. From the public cloud to the private data center to the edge appliance or cluster, open source has become the reference for efficiency and innovation,” said Mark Shuttleworth, CEO of Canonical.

“Ubuntu 19.04 includes the leading projects to underpin that transition, and the developer tooling to accelerate the applications for those domains”


Kubernetes 1.14 brings support for Windows containers

The latest Kubernetes release is expanding the ecosystem from Linux only, to support for Windows containers.

Kubernetes 1.14, the latest version, is the first Kubernetes release of 2019. It will come with 31 enhancements—10 of which are moving to stable, 12 are in beta, while 7 are net new. But the most important enhancement is the production-level support for Windows Nodes.

For years, Kubernetes has been all about managing workloads using Linux containers. But the project is now making a major shift by graduating support for managing Windows containers from beta to stable.

This is the culmination of a tremendous amount of work over the past year across a number of Kubernetes Special Interest Groups (SIGs) including Windows, Node, and Architecture. The result is that Kubernetes, the de facto most popular open source container orchestration platform for Linux, now comes to Windows,” wrote Derek Carr, Senior Software Engineer, Red Hat, in a blog post.

Enterprises will now be able to add Windows nodes as worker nodes and schedule Windows containers. This will eliminate the need for enterprises to choose separate orchestration platform for Windows applications and Linux applications. It will help them increase operational efficiency across their deployments, regardless of operating system.

Enabling Windows containers in Kubernetes will bring support for Windows Server 2019 for worker nodes and containers, support for out of tree networking with Azure-CNI, OVN-Kubernetes, and Flannel. Further, it will improve the support for pods, service types, workload controllers, and metrics/quotas. The improvements are aimed to match the capabilities delivered for Linux containers.

Furthermore, Kubernetes 1.14 brings kubectl plugins from beta to stable release. This will enable developers to write Go code and extend kubectl with new commands.

Kubernetes team mentioned that they have rewritten the documentation of kubectl from the ground up with a focus on managing Resources using declarative Resource Config. The kubectl has now got new logo and mascot.

Also read: Red Hat collaborates with public cloud giants to launch Kubernetes marketplace

Kubernetes 1.14 is now available on GitHub for download. It can also be installed using kubeadm.


Linux Foundation unveils ELISA for development of Linux-based safety-critical systems

The Linux Foundation has launched a new open source project to make it easier for enterprises to build safety-critical systems based on Linux.

Called ELISA (Enabling Linux in Safety Applications), the new project has been founded by Arm, BMW Car IT GmbH, KUKA, and Linutronix, and Toyota.

ELISA project will contribute in developing a shared set of tools and processes which will be used in building safety-critical systems and applications like robotic devices, medical devices, smart factories, transportation systems, and autonomous driving.

Humans are not completely confident about using the systems whose failure could cause loss of life, and damage property or environment. They are not sure how these systems respond to user errors, hardware failures, and changes in environment.

To be fully-trusted for humans, such systems should meet certain functional safety objectives. The enterprises need to demonstrate their systems and applications to show that they are reliable, and meet demand for quality assurance, risk management, development process, and documentation.

“All major industries, including energy, medical and automotive, want to use Linux for safety-critical applications because it can enable them to bring products to market faster and reduce the risk of critical design errors. The challenge has been the lack of the clear documentation and tools needed to demonstrate that a Linux-based system meets the necessary safety requirements for certification,” said Kate Stewart, Senior Director of Strategic Programs at The Linux Foundation.

“Past attempts at solving this have lacked the critical mass needed to establish a widely discussed and accepted methodology, but with the formation of ELISA, we will be able to leverage the infrastructure and support of the broader Linux Foundation community that is needed to make this initiative successful.”

Also read: Microsoft joins OIN, open sources its patent portfolio to Linux community

Certification authorities and standardization bodies will contribute to ELISA project create the way Linux can be used in safety-critical systems.



Windows 10 Preview adds support for Linux files, and Chrome extension for timeline

In the latest preview version of Windows 10, Microsoft has added support for Linux files, improved gaming, a new Chrome extension for timeline, and made improvements and fixes for PCs.

These changes are coming with Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 18342 (19H1) and will be available to Windows Insiders in the Fast ring.

One of the most significant changes coming with this version is the addition of Linux files inside Windows apps like File Explorer and VSCode. It will allow users to access Linux files in a WSL distro from Windows.

“Access your files by navigating to \\wsl$\<distro_name>, or see a list of running distributions by navigating to \\wsl$,” explained Microsoft in a blog post.

Improvements have been made to gaming technology in Windows 10 that will allow games to run well with parental controls. The installation process of games has also become stable with a fix made for the game being stuck in ‘Pending’ rather than downloading.

Microsoft has also released an extension that can collect activities from Google Chrome browser and add them to Timeline in Windows. The new Web Activity extension is now available for download in the Chrome Web Store.

To do this, users will just need to login to Chrome extension using Microsoft account, visit any website, and then see the activities appearing on Windows Timeline.

Your Chrome activities will also sync with Timeline on Android devices using the Microsoft Launcher app. Give the new extension a try and let us know what you think in the Feedback Hub. This is just one of many updates inspired by Insiders to make Timeline even better!” added Microsoft.

Also read: Windows File Manager now available for download on Microsoft Store

Additionally, the tech giant has fixed a number of Windows Sandbox issues, improved error reporting in Windows Sandbox, and added ability in the Sandbox to capture hotkeys in full screen. The Windows Light theme will now be referred as Windows (light).


Ubuntu 18.04.2 LTS arrives with support for Raspberry Pi 3

Canonical, the developer of Ubuntu, has released the Ubuntu 18.04.2 LTS for desktop, server, and cloud.

Ubuntu is a leading open source Linux distribution based on Debian, and an operating system for desktop, server, and cloud computing. The developers behind it roll out new updates every six months, and long-term support (LTS) releases every two years.

Ubuntu 18.04.2 comes with hardware enablement stacks like the previous LTS series, for use on newer hardware. Support for hardware enablement stacks is delivered on all architectures. When users use one of the desktop images, it gets installed by default.

The latest LTS release of Ubuntu will also support the other flavors of Ubuntu, which include Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu Budgie, Ubuntu Kylin, Ubuntu MATE, and Xubuntu. This means that following derivatives of Ubuntu are also available now:

  • Kubuntu 18.04.2 LTS
  • Ubuntu Budgie 18.04.2 LTS
  • Ubuntu MATE 18.04.2 LTS
  • Lubuntu 18.04.2 LTS
  • Ubuntu Kylin 18.04.2 LTS
  • Xubuntu 18.04.2 LTS.

Talking about the Ubuntu Server, it will install the GA kernel by default. If users want to use HWE kernel, they will be able to select it from the installer bootloader.

The new release will also bring Raspberry Pi 3 as a supported image target for Ubuntu Server. The existing Raspberry Pi 2 image support will also continue to be available.

“As usual, this point release includes many updates, and updated installation media has been provided so that fewer updates will need to be downloaded after installation.  These include security updates and corrections for other high-impact bugs, with a focus on maintaining stability and compatibility with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS,” wrote Ubuntu developers.

Also read: Visual Studio 2019 to be launched in April this year

As part of Ubuntu 18.04.2, the company will provide maintenance updates for Ubuntu Desktop, Ubuntu Server, Ubuntu Cloud, and Ubuntu Base for five years. Whereas, the flavors of Ubuntu will get maintenance updates for three years.

The new release is available for download here. Ubuntu 16.04 users will get an automatic upgrade to the latest release via Update Manager.


Azure IoT Edge now supports virtual machines

Microsoft is growing support for Intelligent Edge with the availability of Azure IoT Edge on virtual machines (VMs). The tech giant aims to create an open and strong ecosystem and provide users choices in deploying their edge solution.

Azure IoT Edge is a solution that brings cloud intelligence to the edge and allows users to act on data in real-time. Microsoft had made it generally available last year in June, and also open sourced the service on GitHub. This allows users to make changes to code and go for an open container approach for deploying Microsoft and third-party services across edge devices.

With the recent announcement, customers will be able to run Azure IoT Edge on a VM using a supported operating system. Although it will support most of the operating systems that can run containers, Microsoft said that all of them are not equally supported.

“While this works for multiple virtualization technologies, VMware has simplified the deployment process of Azure IoT Edge to VMs using VMware vSphere. Additionally, vSphere 6.7 and later provide passthrough support for Trusted Platform Module (TPM), allowing Azure IoT Edge to maintain its industry leading security framework by leveraging the hardware root of trust,” explained Chipalo Street, Principal Program Manager, Azure IoT, in a blog post.

Further, the tech giant said that the family of host OS should always match the family of guest OS used inside a module’s container. What this means is that customers will be allowed to run Linux containers on Linux only, and Windows containers on Windows.

Azure IoT Edge will run on a wide range of hardware, including microcontroller units (MCUs) that run Azure Sphere, and cloud and edge experience powered by Azure Stack.

Also read: Microsoft pushes preview of Open Enclave integration with IoT Edge

Microsoft has designed the solution to meet demands of customers in every scenario. For example, home appliance makers can use Azure Sphere certified chips in their products to make sure that their operations are secure, textile producers can detect weaving defects by adding industrialized PCs running Azure IoT Edge to their production lines.

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