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    Can someone please help me understand how the announcement of a Linux subsystem for Windows becoming generally available is spam?

    Prior to this you needed to be running a Windows Insider build in order to run it. I’ve seen a thousand thousand distro announcement posted here without getting this kind of treatment.

    What am I not understanding about the rules and guidelines for this community? Or are people just as downright nasty with the flagging as they seem to be to me?

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      Could be that FOSS purists flagged it since WSL enables people to run Linux on a proprietary OS. (Which, if true, is a very silly reason IMO.)

      I think WSL is great. It was a godsend on my previous job which was mostly a Windows kinda place. Before that I used Cygwin, but WSL is much much more convenient.

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        I am a WSL user on some of my Windows systems, and I greatly appreciate it. That being said, a few points regarding “spam”:

        • The linked website is Canonical; Canonical has had some controversy regarding contribution to FOSS (back in the day, the company was monetizing a FOSS-derived OS - from Debian, without giving back to the FOSS community). I can only assume that some of the readers saw the intention of Canonical here as to monetize piggybacking on the Microsoft’s WSL2 availability.
        • There are multiple text-based advertising paragraphs in the blog post, which mention the enterprise/corporate offering of Canonical and WSL (paragraph 4, and the first paragraph, and the title of the last section)
        • The article (May 2020) mentions availability of an O/S in the WSL store. A tutorial (which is mostly generic, applies to almost any WSL2 migration/distro) is also present on the blog post. Ubuntu fails to mention what exactly is the WSL2 OS good for, how does it compare to other distros (or to the main release), what does it bring new (except enterprise support).

        Now, some of the above may have not triggered some members of the community. I’m human, so I’m mostly biased, and while I haven’t flagged or hidden this particular story, I can imagine myself having a bad day and flagging an article from a company monetizing FOSS without contributing back as spam (see Google, Amazon).

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          I can imagine myself having a bad day and flagging an article from a company monetizing FOSS without contributing back as spam (see Google, Amazon).

          That would be working against the site guidelines. Lobste.rs has always been a place for technical discussion, how that tech is monetized or if its proprietary, GPL or BSD licensed and how the company/individuals contribute back / if at all should have no impact if a story is on topic or not.

          Judge the content, not the person/entity behind it.

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            Now, some of the above may have not triggered some members of the community. I’m human, so I’m mostly biased, and while I haven’t flagged or hidden this particular story, I can imagine myself having a bad day and flagging an article from a company monetizing FOSS without contributing back as spam (see Google, Amazon).

            Right, and you yourself seem to agree that doing so is a mis-use of the flag mechanism.

            The appropriate response would be either a constructive comment or maybe even if you cared to / had time a private message around how the article lacks technical merit and probably doesn’t belong here, accompanied by a simple non upvote.

            Or maybe we need a new flag “lacks technical merit” :)

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            What am I not understanding about the rules and guidelines for this community? Or are people just as downright nasty with the flagging as they seem to be to me?

            It’s definitely not just you. I’ve noticed frequent “flagging as spam” of late as well - just monitor Recent for a while and you’ll spot it immediately. The articles that are being flagged would certainly not have been flagged a year or two ago. Perhaps this warrants a wider discussion…

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              Me too. I had a definitely-not-spam submission flagged the other day as well. I asked the mods to delete it; I don’t submit spam but hell if I wanted to offend anybody. As it turned out, others upvoted so it worked out okay.

              But it left a bad taste in my mouth. I know we’re all supposed to assume positive intent, but as long as we’re not identifying anybody individually, I have a weird feeling that there’s something deliberately negative going on here. I don’t know what, but it doesn’t feel right. Content can be poor quality, bad advice, poorly-written, dated, or off-topic without it being anywhere near spam. In that case just don’t upvote it, or make a comment explaining what you think may be technically bad about the piece. (You know, you might be mistaken! I am mistaken quite a lot) I am concerned something’s not working as it should.

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                It’s definitely not just you. I’ve noticed frequent “flagging as spam” of late as well - just monitor Recent for a while and you’ll spot it immediately. The articles that are being flagged would certainly not have been flagged a year or two ago. Perhaps this warrants a wider discussion…

                I definitely think this warrants a wider discussion as well. Take a look at @gerikson’s comment above. There’s no bad intent there, but he’s using the SPAM flag as “I feel this article is lacking in technical merit”. He chose to un-flag as did the other person after I called the flagging choice into question, but I think we need to do some work as a community to come to a common understanding of what the flags are FOR and how we want to use them to make the community better.

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                  Yes, agreed. Taking a look at a recent story, How To Make Ubuntu Work Like Windows 10, it currently has a score of 5, made up of “+12, -2 off-topic, -5 spam”. Quite a mix, suggesting that there are some differing views about what posts are appropriate.

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                    I also notice that the flag explanations link in the About page seems broken. I’m going to message the mods about that, might help people to understand the goals of the mechanism better.

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                      For what it’s worth I went and hunted down the explanation of what flags are for. “Spam” says “promotes a commercial service”. The explanation is in the middle of the “Ranking” section: https://lobste.rs/about

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                        I think the problem is that some people use “spam” as a catchall when flagged posts they think are inappropriate. I know that some people leave a comment when they do so, at least explaining their thinking, but they’re in the minority.

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                  I found it borderline, flagged it but I have since unflagged it.

                  What I’d like to see: a post that describes the differences between WSL1 and WSL2 and how it pertains to Ubuntu; why WSL2 is worth the update; what changes Ubuntu made to accomodate WSL2, etc.

                  Also what I’d like to see, what distribution (if any) is best for WSL ?

                  For Ubuntu, the more mindshare they have among WSL users, the better. So this entry can be seen as marketing.

                  Final edit I removed a bunch of mildly self-pitying and sarcastic remarks around this comment being flagged, but it looks now I was mistaken. I stand by my words above.

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                    For Ubuntu, the more mindshare they have among WSL users, the better. So this entry can be seen as marketing.

                    Final edit I removed a bunch of mildly self-pitying and sarcastic remarks around this comment being flagged, but it looks now I was mistaken. I stand by my words above.

                    If you look at the description for the Spam flag it says: Promotes a commercial service.

                    WSL is in fact a closed source proprietary commercial product sold by Microsoft. It’s certainly not a ‘service’ and I personally feel that while this article probably lacks technical merit, it’s probably not Spam under the current definition of the flag either.

                    I actually thought long and hard before posting this, and what ultimately swayed me was the fact that WSL now being available to main line Windows 10 users not part of the Windows Insider program seemed like technical information that could be useful and interesting to the community here.

                    So I guess the question for this community is - what do we want to be? If release announcements aren’t of interest because they lack the kind of deep technical content we want to see, then perhaps we should consider being clear about that.

                    Anyway, lots of good discussion here. Thanks for taking part in it, and again thanks for explaining your motivations.

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                      a post that describes the differences between WSL1 and WSL2 and how it pertains to Ubuntu; why WSL2 is worth the update

                      As I understood it, the main difference is that WSL1 was an emulation layer that translated system calls into the corresponding Windows API calls, whereas WSL2 is a (lightweight) VM running an actual Linux kernel.

                      See: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/wsl/compare-versions

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                        I actually installed WSL1 yesterday, and was mildly disappointed my computer is not yet updated to be able to handle WSL2.

                        What I meant was I’d like Canonical to expand more on how they’ve worked (or not had to!) to work with WSL2.

                        Edit apparently WSL2 is faster, which I appreciate. I’ve been using Cygwin before and reading and processing 10k files there was very fast, in WSL1 it’s painfully slow.

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                          Yes WSL1’s lackluster performance is well documented. It’s why the put so many engineering hours into creating WSL 2, and the results are impressive.

                          Sorry your computer isn’t up to the 2004 version required - I know not everyone is just running Windows at home for themselves and may be locked down by IT or other constraints, but for those who do control their own systems the 2004 update is fully released and anyone can go grab it, it just hasn’t been queued for automatic deployment yet.

                          Also I wanted to thank you for your cards up post around why you flagged and un-flagged the article as Spam. I think there’s a disconnect in this community around how flags are used. It seems to me that the mods created flags as a means of allowing the community to police and bar raise itself, but people are instead using them as you did as a way to say “This article lacks technical merit” or in some cases even “I disagree” which to me is an even more egregious abuse of the mechanism.

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                            I’ll have to check whether I can update to 2004… we’ve gotten new practices re: computer management from the mothership.

                            I’ve actually been quite happy with Cygwin for my purposes but figured the WSL is The Future(tm) now.

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                              Interesting that you find Cygwin’s performance better than WSL1. I’ve used Cygwin off-an-on for many years but tend to prefer a Linux VM (via Vagrant) when forced to use Windows. In my limited usage I’ve found WSL1 to be a better experience than Cygwin, at least for shell interactive usage - I’ve not done any heavy processing with it.

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                                Glad to hear Cygwin meets your needs. It’s certainly battle tested!

                                One of the things that others have cited in this thread that WSL brings to the table is official support from external tools like IDEs.

                                I can write and debug my code in VSCode or Pycharm, and then deploy and debug in WSL because both tools explicitly have first class support for it.

                                This is a pretty compelling feature for some of us.

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                              I actually installed WSL1 yesterday, and was mildly disappointed my computer is not yet updated to be able to handle WSL2.

                              Dunno if you saw this most recent announcement. They backported it even further. Hope this helps!

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                                Thanks, I did see that! Unfortunately corporate policy still has me stuck on a version that’s too old…

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                          It’s a little sad to see this. Perhaps this kind of behaviour could be looked at and addressed? Il not sure what to call it, but it feels distasteful to me.

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                            I think it’s a simple matter of the community not having a good shared understanding of what the flag feature should be used for.

                            My impression is that the moderators meant for it to be a relatively serious step that could be used to censure posts that are VERY far afield from the intent of the community, but instead people are using it for making statements like “I disagree”, “This lacks technical merit” or “This represents a commercial interest engaging in marketing” which I’d personally assert is part and parcel of “lacks technical merit”.

                            I don’t know how we get the word out about this though without being too heavy handed.

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                              I see some comments with explanations already, which is great, as knowing why is going to be key in finding a better way to solicit the feedback that this is aiming for.

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                          I’ve recently switched my laptop from NixOS to Windows, and I use WSL for all my development needs. Some notes here.

                          WSL 2 is pretty seemless when it comes to Linuxy development on Windows, and with VSCode remote you can edit from a native Windows application, with all extensions and tools running inside WSL 2 (example).

                          I used to use macOS; but nowadays you can’t even get Nix installed easily on a Mac, so I’ve given up on the Apple ecosystem entirely (they do make great hardware though).

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                            Out of curiosity, why Windows over something more libre (Linux, BSD)? And with regards to development, Windows has been fairly clunky and annoying to work with (source: colleague uses Windows)—how has it faired for you?

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                              And with regards to development, Windows has been fairly clunky and annoying to work with

                              People keep saying it, but I’m almost certain it’s with the implied qualification for POSIXy development, and it’s quite obvious a non-Unix isn’t fun to develop in for things that expect nothing but Unix. But that doesn’t make Windows bad for development; I was my most productive using Visual Studio instead of fighting CMake and gdb.

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                                Personally I stick to windows because I much prefer the desktop environment, compared to Linux or even macOS. It’s possible to get a dev env working well but you have to know the quirks.

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                                  What kind of development?

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                                    Python Flask / general backend web dev, I’d say.

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                                      Both Pycharm/IDEA and VSCode have excellent WSL Python support for deployment and debugging. Really love that.

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                                    why Windows over something more libre (Linux, BSD)?

                                    As explained here, I use both and thereby get the best of both worlds - from a technology, application support and user experience points of view. Free Software is a great and all, but I’m personally not going to compromise on the aforementioned factors.

                                    And with regards to development, Windows has been fairly clunky and annoying to work with (source: colleague uses Windows)—how has it faired for you?

                                    With WSL 2 you essentially get a Linux development environment. I do everything in command line (neovim and tmux, for example), so it has not impacted my experience except in a couple of unimportant cases.

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                                      I’ve been using wsl lately and for me it’s that everything just looks and feels much better. I didn’t want to like it.

                                      Before switching I had stopped using tiling window managers as an experiment and felt good about it, once I didn’t feel dependant on them, trying wsl wasn’t unreasonable.

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                                        You didn’t ask me so I hope you’ll forgive my answering your question anyway.

                                        Mostly, I run Windows as well as Linux because as @srid says I feel like doing so enables me to get the best of both worlds, and additionally because I chose poorly when I bought this laptop and its compatibility with Linux is somewhat unstable at best (Laptops with the Nvidia Optimus chipset are notorious for this).

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                                        I can totally imagine the situation you’re in right now. As I pointed out on my blog, after a decade spent investing in the Apple ecosystem, I am at a crossroads. I love the Apple hardware, but am at odds with Apple becoming a gatekeeper of its macOS ecosystem. I have used Windows prior to 2010, and during its darkest days. A lot has happened since then, and I have to say, suddenly, thinking of using Windows for *nix development doesn’t sound outlandish at all.

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                                          That’s the thing, I had to excise a whole bunch of Windows 95/98/early NT era scar tissue before I could objectively look at what Windows 10 + WSL 2 is today.

                                          For some at least I suspect if they can successfully do this it could be a compelling option.

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                                        Does anyone know if WSL 2 will work if Windows itself is already running inside a virtual machine (e.g., VirtualBox)?

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                                          VirtualBox supports nested virtualisation so it should work, you’ll just need to Enable Nested VT-x/AMD-V in your VM settings.

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                                            I’d be surprised if it did given that they explicitly say it won’t in their FAQ, but hey! Somebody should give it a shot and report back :)

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                                              Hrm, I think we’re reading the same FAQ differently :)

                                              Can I run WSL 2 in a virtual machine?

                                              Yes! You need to make sure that the virtual machine has nested virtualization enabled.

                                              From the same FAQ that you linked to earlier.

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                                            Most likely it won’t :(

                                            See the FAQ for details.

                                            You can run WSL 1 in a VM though. I run it regularly in my Amazon Windows Workspace.

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                                              Thank you for the link – it answered some additional questions I had as well.