Meet ACS... Microsoft's new Linux-based operating system

Microsoft has just announced it's new proprietary version of Linux, that will power all the switches and network infrastructure they use and provide going forward...

Wasn't the main marketing slogan for Windows 10 that it would run on every device... now how many people understood that as "in a linux abstraction layer" lolz?

When they said "Windows" will run on every single device. I knew very well they were NOT talking about Linux. Little small IoTs devices run Windows 10 core. Phones run Windows 10 Mobile and Desktops and Tablets run Windows 10 Desktop OS.

As for This Linux Distro, i think what begs the question. Or the question I have is, what does this offer that Distros like Fedora or SUSE don't. There has to be a selling point for this. Which maybe I'm blind but i don't see it. If they wanted to support Linux they should of just Open sourced their services and let the community patch and fix things up. Which is technically what's happening with Windows now. Except we aren't modifying the source code. We just report "okay this shit is broken fix this, add this to the desktop" and so on.


"At Microsoft, we believe there are many excellent switch hardware
platforms available on the market, with healthy competition between many
vendors driving innovation, speed increases, and cost reductions.

However, what the cloud and enterprise networks find challenging is
integrating the radically different software running on each different
type of switch into a cloud-wide network management platform. Ideally,
we would like all the benefits of the features we have implemented and
the bugs we have fixed to stay with us, even as we ride the tide of
newer switch hardware innovation. The Azure Cloud Switch (ACS) is
our foray into building our own software for running network devices
like switches.

It is a cross-platform modular operating system for data
center networking built on Linux. ACS allows us to debug, fix, and test
software bugs much faster. It also allows us the flexibility to scale
down the software and develop features that are required for our
datacenter and our networking needs."

Too funny, and this from a company that wants Win 10 on every device so it can hoover up all the data and sell it....that last paragraph is just too funny, thanks @Zoltan made my day. :)

I think the selling point is clear: it comes standard with switches from all of these major manufacturers, and we've just bought legislation/regulation in the US and the EU, our main markets, to make sure that only manufacturer supplied software is even legal to use...

The main message from this is: Microsoft itself thinks that it's operating software is but a shell running inside a linux install by means of an abstraction layer... why would anyone treat any Microsoft software in any other way... except... why not use a real open source distro as a base, instead of some proprietary linux version by Microsoft... and that's just it... the mere fact that Microsoft, which has a long-standing commercial relationship with SuSE for instance, consciously refuses to use an open source existing distro, but - like Intel did with VxWorks - chooses a proprietary linux distro adapted to it's software... means that regular open source linux distros are a good antidote for whatever Microsoft and Intel and others are hiding and want to keep hidden...

The distinction between open and free suddenly comes to mind after the overuse of ¨Open¨ in this article...

Okay forgive me for being a bit of a noob here but what's the problem?

MS want to develop their own networking swtich OS to run their stuff on. So what is wrong with that? Big deal that it's based off Linux. There are alternative options so if you don't want to use it (not that it will even be available to the general public), then choose from an open source OS instead.


No problem, we're just having a bit of a laugh because Microsoft has finally lifted the curtain on the technical back end of their marketing slogans "Windows 10 will run on all devices" and "Windows 10 will be the last Windows ever"...

Do you not think that this is aimed at a different market then? I can't remember the last time I needed to look for an operating system for my networking switch. Can you? (and if you can I imagine you are a network engineer at a large data centre)

I'm definitely not an MS fanboy (especially with the new direction MS is going) but to me, this comes across as elitism in it's worst form - stupid elitism. We're laughing at a product most of us don't even have a clue about. I for one (and I'm a reasonable computer enthusiast - messing with ddwrt and the likes) have never heard of it's competitors Juniper Junos, Pica8 or Cumulus Networks. Even Google and Amazon Web Services have created their own networking gear and network operating systems. If this is the case, then maybe there is a market for this if some companies have to go as far as building their own OS for their networking stuff.

Maybe I'm wrong (very possible) and from a network engineers point of view, this is a complete joke but I've yet to see a factual point as to why this is a joke.

PS. Sorry for being the buzz kill.

It's a joke for many reasons:

  1. It's called "ACS", which is the most used acronym ever by Microsoft and Cisco and the likes. It literally stands for just about everything. It stands for Access Control Service, which Microsoft has tried to launch as a peripheral or support software that they made to implement non-AD access control into Active Directory systems. The first thing they actually did in the beta of the thing, was to provide sign-in options with Facebook and Amazon accounts to Microsoft accounts (of course not Google and Apple accounts, which Microsoft considers its big competitors, even though they don't consider Microsoft as a competitor, but consider Amazon as their main competitor, but Microsoft sees it in a different way, Microsoft still thinks that people will prefer to use Edge over Chrome, that they will gladly pass on the Google Services to only use Microsoft services, etc...);

  2. Microsoft wanted to do what Apple and Google have done, both of those at the same time: they don't want to go for a full open source Linux based solution with a client on top of it, like Google does, because Microsoft's core model is to be like Apple, just steal what you need from open source when you're really with your back to the wall and outclassed in every way by open source, and have nothing left to sell but a name, stars and pink unicorns, and a lifestyle marketing ideal. Google's success is that they just use open source as it is (well, they tend to break stuff and all, but basically it should be possible to run all Google crap on any open source system of choice), and provide a client that also runs on proprietary systems like MS-Windows or iOS and OSX. This has lead to a situation whereby most people just go straight for Chrome - whatever platform they're on - and do everything through Google. Microsoft wants that too, but they want to be the operating system and want to sell the whole shebang, not just provide a client... but at the same time they're stuck with Windows 10, they can't pull it off any more, their technology has not evolved at all, they're still basically selling the same system they've inherited from IBM in the 90's, like the DOS system they sold before that after they bought it for a mere 25k USD from a Seattle based small company. Microsoft has never really made anything, they've sold a lot of things as their invention or their development through the years, just like Apple, but that game is very hard to keep up without problems, because all you need is being compromised once by a single hacker, and you know that that hacker has found out that what you sell as your software product, is actually Linux made proprietary with your company name on it. You can be damn' sure that that's exactly what's happened, and why Microsoft is coming out with the info that their software is actually nothing but a management interface shell running in an abstraction layer on Linux. Think of what this means for a second... does this mean that the management interface is written in .NET, in C#? Not very likely... it would rather imply that it's written in something Google would probably use in their early development days, something like Java, something that is freely available to run on Linux, but that at the same time can be closed source by paying a license fee to Oracle. Not everyone may see the comical consequences thereof, but many people will rofl...

  3. Microsoft has been putting a lot of energy into the downtalking of linux and the promise of "one single Windows on all devices". It turns out that the Microsoft software application they use here, only works on those networking devices because Microsoft deploys a Linux install with an abstraction layer on top of it. Remember how the big credo of Microsoft and Microsoft fanboys has always been that Microsoft is compatible with everything but Linux has seriously limited hardware compatibility? Well... not if that hardware compatibility can't be reserved with dollars lolz... and even that is not enough any more, now Microsoft actually has no choice but to use Linux itself to ensure compatibility with certain essential hardware, to even stay relevant in one of the most important, if not the most important field of IT for the moment, Microsoft has no choice but to use Linux...

  4. Remember how Ballmer used to diss Linux and open source as "something that will never work and is for losers because nobody wants to pay for it", and how he'd used to shout "developers, developers, developers"... well, as it turns out, 10 years later, Ballmer is gone, the developers have been sacked, and Microsoft has joined the ranks of the losers that don't want to pay for it..."... it's just funny how that goes...

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Not a buzz kill at all you are entitled to your opinion, of course we are also allowed, and frankly it's quite funny even if you don't get's ok.

To us this is on the same scale as Clinton saying he didn't have a affair with Monica Lewinsky, you knew he was telling a lie and was waiting for the whole truth to be told, in this case it's just a snippet of the truth about MS but it's funny none-the-less. It's always funny when a big corporation sez one thing then turns around and sez the exact opposite because they think no one will notice. (and yes I have a lot of distrust and dislike for MS as a company and it's not totally based on Win X but that is helping move it along)

Okay I get what you are saying to an extent and it is pretty funny. Their past attitude has come back to haunt them now that the only real option for them creating a networking OS, is to use the Linux kernel. From that point of view I can laugh.

I don't agree (and I think some people are confusing this) that this is simply a Linux distro with an MS badge on it. This is a custom built, task specific OS that uses the Linux kernel at its core. It's probably decent at what it does and integrates well within an MS Server environment.

And I don't agree about laughing at the "Win 10 last OS" marketing. This is a completely different product and I don't think it can be compared. Okay you could laugh at the fact they can't use their own kernel (I'm assuming is because it isn't PThreads compliant) but this was always going to be a different OS.

Basically what I'm saying is, I don't think the product is a joke, but Microsoft kinda is for the complete 180 they've done. But isn't this is kinda old news? And now pointing at another fact in the same joke? Okay the joke is still fresh I suppose...

@blanger I know MS have always hated Linux but they've said for a while now (since Nadella anyway) that are starting to embrace Linux and this isn't the first Linux thing from MS. Give them shit if you will but they are allowed to change their mind. Although again it is funny in them doing so.

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