This is amazing news. Microsoft appears to be interested in including a working native OpenSSH in some future version of Windows. I guess news of trojaned Putty actually sunk in enough to get Microsoft to consider the obvious.

The fact that this did not occur in April of 2001 immediately after OS X was released is one of the most gratuitously stupid situations in the history of systems software. But hey, Microsoft had some pretty stupid leadership which the announcement could barely conceal.

Given our changes in leadership and culture, we decided to give another try and this time, because we are able to show the clear and compelling customer value, the company is very supportive.

There it is, folks, exactly what I’ve been saying about Microsoft for 20 years, i.e. that clear and compelling customer value was not something the previous leadership cared about one bit. Or if they did care, they were too stupid to recognize it. I suspect both.

While this news is pleasantly surprising it’s not as shocking as it would have been a few years ago given Satya’s radical new policy of avoiding brazen stupidity.

But crawling out from under their rock is not going to be easy for Microsoft who still has a long way to go. Off the top of my head, here are some of the things that I require for Microsoft to be something I would even consider.

  • Now that the transport security is there with SSH, how about a proper rsync? Please do not mention Robocopy, another willfully stupid and superfluous Microsoft abomination.

  • Bash. A proper native port, maybe something like this but ready for prime time. Not the sad Cygwin experience which feels like trying to swim up a waterfall. Chance of me ever seriously using PowerShell without substantial compensation - 0%.

  • Package management for public software. Working precompiled binaries in repos (or go Portage/Ports if you like). If you need a non-Linux example, think of Homebrew. Come, Microsoft, join the civilized world.

  • A proper C compiler. Perl. Python. Like SSH, it’s not like this costs money.

  • Finally, and here’s the big one, there needs to be a free version of Windows. Alternatively, Microsoft could offer very comprehensive Wine support with official dlls and support which I will pay money for if I can run Windows games on Linux. What these two things have in common is that I will never pay to buy Microsoft’s rotten clown OS in order to use some completely unrelated software. If Microsoft is materially improving the software (I’m thinking DirectX in games could reasonably add value) then that may be worth something. But I will never be paying for the opportunity to sabotage my computer’s performance and security with a completely brain dead and unfixable OS.

2017-12-17 UPDATE And two and a half years later…. Looks like Microsoft finally delivered on the promise of an Open SSH client. I don’t even know what to say to that. Actually, my wishlist is looking pretty good these days.

  • Presumably with the SSH, rsync will be on the way. Maybe choco install rsync.

  • Bash is native on Windows 10 now.

  • This choco package management stuff seems legit.

  • C compiler - choco install mingw

  • Python is pretty normal for Windows sufferers now. choco install python

  • And although they’re still charging money for this crap, at least Wine is working amazingly well these days. The stuff that Steam supports with Wine is amazing and I’m finding frame rates can be better than on native Windows.