Review of Windows Services for UNIX 3.5

Posted by bink on January 28 2004, 3:05 PM. Posted in Unix.

As many of you may remember I did a review of Windows Services for UNIX 3.0 (SFU) a few months ago. I remember being frustrated with that release because it seemed to me that all Microsoft did was throw something together just to be able to say "Hey look, we have this". I thought, since Microsoft released version 3.5, I would revisit and see what changes were done with it. I downloaded the beta version a while back and from the beta I was very impressed with the improvements that Microsoft made. Being a beta version it was buggy and some things just didnt quite work. I finally got the final version of the OpenBSD-based SFU 3.5 and this release makes dynamic leaps and bounds over previous releases of this software package. I am glad to see a lot more work was put into this release.

What is Windows Services for UNIX

 Windows Services for UNIX is intended as an interoperability package. This is a far cry from previous versions which were inteded to be migration packages, enabling UNIX customers to leave UNIX and bring their skills and resources over to the Windows platform as well as run some older UNIX apps and scripts. While migration strategies are part of the role of 3.5, Microsoft did a lot of work so UNIX and Linux admins can seamlessly integrate Windows into their current infrastructure.

What Windows Services for UNIX is not

SFU is not an operating system. It is a subsystem and we will discuss how this differs from Cygwin and UWIN later on in this review. SFU is tacked on as a process that houses sub processes. SFU is a full UNIX environment to to let UNIX developers continue their Linux/UNIX work but leverage the advantages of the Windows platform but you must have Windows 2000/XP Professional Server 2000/2003, it no longer runs on Windows NT and it cannot be installed on Windows XP Home Edition. SFU does not make you immune to viruses or security issues. Make sure you keep up with Security patches and virus updates to make sure your systems are secure. SFU is not a Linux or UNIX killer. I will stress this point because of many of the initial responses I have seen regarding this release, SFU is intended for Interoperability and in certain scenarios, migration that is all.

I am also going to answer some misconceptions people have approached me about. It is not illegal to use UNIX software with SFU and it does not violate the BSD or GPL license to port Open Source software to SFU or the Interix subsystem. Microsft has ported many Open Source tools to SFU and Interop Systems also makes many free and proprietary tools to run on SFU. Also, it is not illegal to use Microsofts development tools and or .NET to develop Open Source software.

Continue at source for: The new features of SFU 3.5, Performance, Positives, Negatives, Comparisons to other Interoperability tools and conlucsion