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Wintel part deux? Microsoft Azure first for Intel Clear Linux

Stateless Linux data center released into the wilds

By Gavin Clarke, 19 Jan 2017

An alliance that dominated the PC industry is entering the world of fluffy white stuff and open source: Microsoft Azure is the first public cloud to include an Intel initiated and container-oriented Clear Linux OS.

The Wintel union loosened with the rise of Linux - runing on x86 - and the fall of the PC as peoples' primary computing device. As things unravelled, Microsoft' struck out with campaigns against Linux - something it called a cancer.

But the power duo are back, in a way, only smaller – and less proprietary than before - to actually embrace what came between them.

Clear Linux, nearly two years old, is only for Intel x86 - it’s optimized for Chipzilla’s hardware out of the box with compiler optimisation set by default. It uses AutoFDO for optimised binaries and employs KVM-based Clear Containers.

The OS is available through Microsoft’s online cloud shop as a VM, a container image that includes the Docker container runtime, and a piece of software for use in Machine Learning that comes with a selection of open-source tools.

Clear Linux targets cloud and data centers with a key feature being its statelessness – one that Microsoft has championed.

Jose Miguel Parrella, Microsoft, product manager, Open Source, claimed in a blog:

“By separating the system defaults and distribution best practices from the user configuration, Clear Linux simplifies maintenance and deployment which becomes very important as infrastructure scales.

“This also pairs well with bundles, a powerful way of distributing software that allows for scenarios like this system update with new kernel and reboot in just a few seconds.”

Clear Linux OS joins Ubuntu, openSUSE, Debian, CentOS, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, SUSE Enterprise Linux and Oracle’s Linux on Azure.

Back in the desktop world, Windows 10 will now run SUSE Linux. Windows 10 Anniversary Update in August 2016 included Bash for Windows, or Windows Subsystem for Linux, to run Ubuntu Linux apps natively.

Now, however, SUSE Linux has updated the Windows Subsystem to work with its shell. You can install openSUSE Leap 42.2 or SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 SP2.

Instructions are here. ®

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