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Introducing "Cooperative Linux" - Linux for Windows, No Less

Introducing "Cooperative Linux" - Linux for Windows, No Less

Looks like the Israel Defence Force may have done it again. Already famous for spawning an entire generation of software geniuses now active in the world of wireless technologies, the IDF has now apparently incubated the technical talent capable of creating a project that could change the world: the ability to run Linux on Windows 2000/XP. 

21 year-old Dan Aloni, a graduate of an IDF computer unit, has developed a Linux application - called Cooperative Linux ("CoLinux" for short) - that is a port of the Linux kernel that allows it to run cooperatively alongside another operating system on a single machine. For instance, it allows one to freely run Linux on Windows without using a commercial PC virtualization software such as VMware, in a way which is much more optimal than using any general purpose PC virtualization software.

A member of the international open source community, Aloni developed CoLinux along with several Japanese programmers, collaborating over the Net. According to the Web site, they've written special core drivers for the host OS which modify the way the host OS receives notifications from the hardware - thus allowing both OSes to coexist peacefully - and run at a decent speed as well.

In Israel, acclaim for a system potentially capable of allowing organizations to run Linux and Windows in parallel on the same computer or server has been immediate.

Organizations would make great savings if they didn't any longer have to have separate machines for each OS, says Shahar Shemesh, a member of the Israeli open source forum. And Pini Cohen, a senior informations systems analyst at computer research company Meta Group Israel has called the development "an important stage in breaking Microsoft's monopoly."

"As the trend is for Linux to take a more important role in organizations," Shemesh continues, "Aloni's development is extremely interesting. The question is how Microsoft will react and whether it will allow support for Windows systems if they have Linux systems installed on them."

According to that is carrying details of this story, Microsoft has so far made no comment on Aloni's development.


More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

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Most Recent Comments
Zoue 12/19/04 09:32:56 AM EST

Best Wishes.

Gert van der Knokke 06/18/04 06:38:47 PM EDT

Why would anyone want to run a stable OS on top of an unstable base ? What's the point ?

Tom Kimpton 04/23/04 03:23:19 PM EDT

I think it's an interesting program, but at work, with win2k already taking 150M of my 512M just to boot, it's not going to be leaving much left for CoLinux. My home machine also only has 512M, and I usually run 100+M into the swap with my usual mix of programs (200+M if I'm running IntelliJ).

I already use CygWin for my worktime linux needs. When my current machine gets swapped out for a newer one, I'll probably be going with Fedora. I hope. :-)


linux is great! 04/20/04 02:51:24 PM EDT

Mixing windows and linux is wrong! I mean linux is so fast and versatile that its a pervect platform to use for games and media. I havent booted windows for several months - becouse its useless. I'm sick of having to reboot windows everytime I have to load a driver. In Linux I can just do "insmod" and thats it! I'm sick of all the "shitware", adware, virusware and such, that gets installed with every free windows software! This idea about mixing Linux and windows will only make windows slower and make people underestimate Linux! Windows sucks! Linux gives you power over your machine!

Genjix 04/18/04 06:50:04 PM EDT

Wtf? This is the worst thing ever.
Because it runs on a different application layer, it would have to make calls to the microsoft os. Not only would it run as slow as it, itd run slower.
This would put potential people off trying Linux. If people just started go with it a bit more they would realise they wont need Linux. 3 years ago I left windows, and after 6 months I had already found all the programs I need. I no longer missed the games and found new ones to play. I missed 3ds max, but instead of keeping that crap on the computer, and taught myself blender. I havent had windows on my computer since.
Whenever I use/see a windows pc, they always looks so bland and rubbish. Like windows 3.11.
Morale is, just stop using windows, find ways to adapt, it'll benefit you after a while when you get proper satisfaction out of Linux because you have this multi functional adaptable os, and arent dependent to switch to some crappy new relase of ms longhorn.

youdontrunlinux 04/16/04 07:22:56 PM EDT

those who think this is a nice idea, still run windows. some will install it, and never load linux on it, others may load it and boot it once or twice. although it is a nice point for cross-platform development, most people concerned with cross-platform development run dedicated machines with each os. the only way to experience linux is to run linux. install it on another partition and commit to using it for 1 month. many linux distros are easier and faster to install than 2000 or XP, and include all the software you need to get online, browse the web, read email, read/write office documents, listen to streaming music, watch a dvd, etc.

why would microsoft frown on this though? you are still using windows as a host os, you are locked in, you bought the license. and the security as ease of use of windows while running linux apps? your computer is only as secure as the weakest link, windows trojans can still wipe out your linux data if you information is stored on a virtual drive in windows file system.

so really, if you want to try linux, dig in. otherwise go back to your windows computer and shut your trap. dont post on a linux site because you heard of this cool os from techtv or maximumpc (both of which dont have editors that seem to have ever actually used a distro themselves).

i switched to linux 6 years ago, yeah i still keep on windows 98 partition alive on my primary desktop, but thats only for playing diablo once a month.

Electronkz 04/16/04 01:52:00 AM EDT

First of all:
NukethePenguins: What the $%#"#$"&$ are you talking about??
Second: I have been using Linux for 2 months, and i must say that Linux Rocks!!
I migrate from Windows and it wasn't easy to learn a different OS, i am still learning, What i want to say is that Linux is not for everyone, most of the people will give-up using it after 1 hour, And most of the people doesn't want to try it out.
I think that CoLinux is great for persons that are obligated to use windows at their jobs, and nothing else.

Johnny Wezel 04/15/04 04:21:41 PM EDT

Nice. But I wish it was the other way round. I need M$ Word or Excel occasionly and need Windows running for a short (as short as possible!) time. Crossover Office is pretty cool, though.

Melvin L. Haun Sr 04/15/04 12:38:23 AM EDT

I cannot see myself messing with 2K or especially XP if I want to do Linux, but he idea is nice.
Most of my boxes are dual boot anyway.

I am bound to try it though.

someonewithcommonsense 04/14/04 06:10:18 PM EDT

>> To mix Linux with Windows is a crime! Anyone who uses Linux needs to upgrade and use Windows - it’s much better, more secure, looks better, and just plain easier to deal with.

ok, what? this person obviously never USED linux, or doesn't know that Linux is more secure that Windows (look at all the viruses for Windows and 1/2 per decate for Linux... hmm, that tells you something, right?)

>> Jody Dida from California writes: I have used Linux all my life and one day I got fed up with its poor graphics and old drivers that I decided to see what the big hoopla was about Windows XP and went down to a local store and bought it. To my surprise, installation was as easy as popping a cd in and the graphics, the graphic were amazing - I can finally see!! I can finally see!!

yes, this is probably someone that works for Microsoft or that must be using Red Hat 2.0! We could all argue that windows 95 sucks, because, like Red Hat Linux 2.0, it's been outdated for about 9 years! you're obviously going to see things like "poor graphics"...

>> John (Bill) Linux writes: I was born into the Linux family, not by choice, but by sheer bad luck. This whole time my parents brainwashed me into thinking Linux was “the bomb” and my last name – what was I to do!! One day I heard Madonna playing in the background from the TV in the living room, so I wanted to see what was up. To my surprise I saw something amazing – heck it was truly remarkable – it was Windows XP.

ok, is this person drunk or what? wait, don't tell me, I don't want to know...

>> I was impressed! I changed my name to Bill

wow, what is the world coming to?

NukeThePenguins 04/14/04 10:43:34 AM EDT

To mix Linux with Windows is a crime! Anyone who uses Linux needs to upgrade and use Windows - it’s much better, more secure, looks better, and just plain easier to deal with.

Here are some comments from long time Linux users:

Jody Dida from California writes: I have used Linux all my life and one day I got fed up with its poor graphics and old drivers that I decided to see what the big hoopla was about Windows XP and went down to a local store and bought it. To my surprise, installation was as easy as popping a cd in and the graphics, the graphic were amazing - I can finally see!! I can finally see!!

John (Bill) Linux writes: I was born into the Linux family, not by choice, but by sheer bad luck. This whole time my parents brainwashed me into thinking Linux was “the bomb” and my last name – what was I to do!! One day I heard Madonna playing in the background from the TV in the living room, so I wanted to see what was up. To my surprise I saw something amazing – heck it was truly remarkable – it was Windows XP. I thought – man this whole time I could have been seeing the zeros and ones represented like they should be – GRAPHICALLY! I was impressed! I changed my name to Bill, for family reasons I kept my last name, and I finally look forward to working on my computer whereas before it was always a chore…

So as you can see – Why mess up a good thing by introducing something as horrible as Linux into something as great as Windows. It doesn’t make since!

samuel lawson 04/14/04 01:19:07 AM EDT

I always thought that linux assimilating windows was better than windows assimilating linux.
Another point is that CoLinux opens the possibility for Windows developers to start cross-platform development side-by-side to their normal work flow. For example, they could compile the Windows app they are working on under Linux, linking it with wine-lib. This way, they can target Linux with minimal extra costs and efforts.You can keep your OSS applications like OpenOffice, Gimp, etc. etc. up-to-date with apt under Linux, so you only have to worry about keeping the windows-only apps up-to-date.

the vruz 04/13/04 06:34:13 PM EDT

Microsoft support ?
Don't make me laugh when I'm having tea !

Arend 04/13/04 10:39:43 AM EDT

I have to agree with Scott in that I think CoLinux is a great tool with a lot of potential. Sure, there are some things that have to mature (i.e. installation, etc.), but then it can become a very useful migration tool. It opens the path towards a gradual migration from Windows to Linux without $$$ attached.
Once this cristalls out, it will probably even be possible to integrate Linux applications with the Windows start menu, so the user never has to know he's running a Linux application. That way, companies can switch to Linux/OSS application for application, migrating in small steps instead of one giant leap into the dark.

Another point is that CoLinux opens the possibility for Windows developers to start cross-platform development side-by-side to their normal work flow. For example, they could compile the Windows app they are working on under Linux, linking it with wine-lib. This way, they can target Linux with minimal extra costs and efforts.

And finally, it allows the end user to combine Linux's security and maintainability with Windows's applications offerings.
For example, you can work with AutoCad under Windows while running your e-mail and browser from Linux so you don't have to worry about virusses.

You can keep your OSS applications like OpenOffice, Gimp, etc. etc. up-to-date with apt under Linux, so you only have to worry about keeping the windows-only apps up-to-date.

And finally, you get completely new possibilities. For example, you could run an ssh-deamon under Linux, so you can access your Windows desktop remotely using vnc and ssh's port forwarding/tunnneling features.

asko 04/13/04 10:34:15 AM EDT

Well, I want that for OS X.. :) That is, if Windows is not on the way, why should Darwin?

Ability to run not only X11 apps but Linux/PPC binaries on top of OS X would be - cool. And for my multiplatform development needs, highly practical.


Ralph M. Deal 04/13/04 09:16:09 AM EDT

To Lee who asked why I linked cygwin to RedHat: Cygwin is listed on the RedHat site and is apparently a supported project. Note for example this excerpt from a recent cygwin update:
Note that downloads from (aka
. . .
On the issue of RH9 and Fedora, RedHat no longer maintains RH9 as it formerly did and Fedora, nor does it maintain or even support Fedora, as RedHat explicitly states:
"The Fedora Project is a Red-Hat-sponsored and community-supported open source project. It is also a proving ground for new technology that may eventually make its way into Red Hat products. It is not a supported product of Red Hat, Inc."
I used to depend on that RH maintainence and so am disappointed. I'm not quite sure just what the nature of
their support of Cygwin is - it surely has many contributions from outside RedHat.

Scott Goodwin 04/13/04 08:42:02 AM EDT

This is great news. Those that are running Linux already may not see the point of this development. The point is that it tremendously minimizes the barrier to entry, the barrier to trying out Linux, for those who are enmeshed in the world of Windows. Most of these people may very well like to try Linux but are not going to go to the effort of installing it in either dual-boot mode or getting another system to put it on, nor are they going to shell out $$$ for a virtual OS capability.

Think about it this way: if you have a car that already works (even if it is a bit of a clunker) how likely are you to test drive another car if you have to build another garage for it *just* to test drive it?

Dave Lozier 04/13/04 08:33:25 AM EDT

I think this overlooks the most obvious reason someone would run Linux in the first place, to get away from Windows. An end user still needs a licensed (well to be legal) Windows install to run their Linux. That's like having to own the road before I can drive my car on it. It's just not right!

A better application would be something that grabs a user's settings and stored information from windows and moves it to the related Linux app of choice. (this may or may not exist already but I haven't seen such a thing)

Wesley Parish 04/13/04 04:22:05 AM EDT

First thing I thought was, wrap it with WiX - let Microsoft stew over the implications of that being the first use of their Open Source Windows installer. It's their problem, not ours.

Wrap it up as a distro - probably Knoppix-based - burn onto cdroms, and distribute at MSDN meetings, etc.

cynyr 04/13/04 01:24:49 AM EDT

okay just to start this off this way.... to all those that would be bitching about the multiple desktops that's part of the idea, CHOICE!!!, letting me do what i want, how i want, and not doing anything i don't want.
i like this idea as much as the next person, but honestly there are very few apps out there for linux that people "need" well.. i have mine of course, the kernel(yes i know not really an app but hey). i know mandrake will install to a file on a windows partition. I'm sure there are others as well

desmond 04/13/04 01:22:30 AM EDT

Yawn! I cannot comprehend the general euphoria at this. It doesn't sound very useful to me. If you want to run Linux and Windows on one machine just install them in separate partitions. It does nothing to break Microsoft's monopoly at all. In fact it would appear to reinforce it, since it requires a licensed copy of Windows to run. The benefit of running Linux inside Windows is lost on me. Surely it should be the other way around? How many "legacy" Linux apps do you need to run under Windows???

Joe 04/13/04 12:09:51 AM EDT

It sounds like a nice way to migrate to Linux without having to go whole hog and screw yourself. It also sounds like a boon for software developers trying to write software for multiple platforms. It saves the trouble of an extra piece of software to purchase, which is what most home users are trying to avoid by migrating to linux, and it would save you some desk space if you needs to run the two simultaneously for software development.

Rob - wow your special so can most everyone else, the trouble is 90% of the population dosen't know what root is and would ask what trees have to do with PCs.

Rob 04/12/04 11:17:38 PM EDT

Seems to me this defeats the whole purpose of running Linux, namely to avoid the overhead and resources associated with the WindowsOS.

Call me uninformed but since I can run Linux distros on PCs that would choke on later versions of Windows, why would I want to put it on Windows box and slow it down?

Ami I missing something here do to my relative novice approach?

Lee 04/12/04 06:57:34 PM EDT

I think you guys have missed the point of the article, it is talking about running linux kernel native, not under a emulator like vmware etc there is a incredible overhead to running these. And to Ralph M Deal RedHat have moved RH9 to the community model, they provide heaps of resources etc to Fedora so I think it is a bit rough with your comment about maintaining RH9, and what does that have to do with cygwin anyway?

Ralph M. Deal 04/12/04 03:40:02 PM EDT

I've been using cygwin on my wife's ME M$ machine for some time in just the fashion discussed here as if it were a new idea. I find it very useful. It's being constantly updated despite RedHat's no longer maintaining RH9. Works very well.
If you have any problems with it, let me know.

Oli 04/11/04 05:03:33 PM EDT

Mmm coffee: installing Linux on Windows (both FAT and NTFS) was already done by many distros for years. Today the most popular such distro is probably TopologiLinux.

Oli 04/11/04 04:55:47 PM EDT

SpyHunter: Windows can only enlarge partitions. But luckily Linux can both enlarge and shrink NTFS safely for some years now and actually many distro provides this functionality: Mandrake, SUSE, Xandros, etc. There are more info at

cygwin 04/11/04 03:18:20 PM EDT

If CoLinux caught your attention, you might be interested in cygwin:

Simon Lyngshede 04/11/04 11:05:11 AM EDT

I guess you could use this for testing something or trying out Linux, but I don't really see the application for coLinux. I would never recommend people who wish to try out Linux to run it like this, nor do I recommend using vmware. If you want to try Linux, do it right, remove the Windows safty blanket, it is the only thing that will teach you to use Linux.

Mmm coffee 04/11/04 11:03:10 AM EDT

Good idea, this distro. I was thinking about this just a few hours ago (no joke) that someone should make a distro that installs on a Windows system. That is, everything is kept in a Windows directory (c:\linux\) and thus you can dual boot a GNU/Linux system without having to mess with your system. The only thing that would be touched would be your bootloader. Would help a lot of people dip their toes into GNU/Linux that normally wouldn't do so due to having to backup everything, repartition, etc.

This comes pretty damn close to that idea.

Queztion 04/11/04 11:02:06 AM EDT

So from a network perspective, do you have to think of this technology as two computers?

selderrrr 04/11/04 10:53:03 AM EDT

for linux noobs like me, this is greeat news ! this will allow me to run a distro at work where xp boot is obliged. i hope they come up with an installation tutorial & extensive documentation soon (no docs for now on th website)

HawkPilot 04/11/04 10:51:55 AM EDT

Cooperative Linux sounds like a great idea, though I would prefer more stable and free ways for windows apps to run under linux.

jeremi 04/11/04 10:50:48 AM EDT

This is great for Linux people who are stuck at companies where everybody is required to run Windows on their PC... they can just boot Windows, double click the "Cooperative Linux" icon, maximize the Linux window, and forget about Microsoft for the rest of the day

there's a CoLinux Mailing List too 04/11/04 10:44:53 AM EDT

colinux-devel Archives 1041 messagesApproximate
subscriber count: 108(go to Subscribe/Unsubscribe/Preferences) Cooperative
Linux development mailing list

CoLinuxRocks 04/11/04 10:42:30 AM EDT

There's a great Wiki site for this project too, topics include:

  • Getting Started with coLinux
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • How to Ask a Question
  • I found a bug; where do I get support?
  • Dan Aloni 04/11/04 10:42:10 AM EDT

    It was on Slashdot in January, takes a long time for news to propagate, isn't it?

    Mind the factual errors copied from the Israeli article, just see the project's homepage:

    TheKea 04/11/04 10:13:05 AM EDT

    If this gets the attention that I think it deserves, this could literally shake apart the entire foundation of the folks who continue to decry Linux. Now a savvy admin who wants to use the Linux versions of Windows crapware can do so, without reinstalling the OS and incurring the wrath of the Microsofties. He gets the best of both worlds: high-quality free software running on top of the "sanctioned" OS. The only drawback to this thing, IMO, is that it may stifle the efforts of people who are trying to port some of the more sophisticated Linux apps to Windows, and may simply give up when they hear that because of this, no porting is required. But I doubt that will be a major issue.

    Here's to hoping this project goes somewhere!

    pardasaniman 04/11/04 10:12:28 AM EDT

    Way back when I wanted to try linux. (now 2-3 years ago) I searched far and away to find this ability, because my dad would have gone bonkers should I have installed/booted another OS.

    I get the question quite alot. "Can linux run in Windows"... To which I must roll my eyes and explain that it's another OS.

    This is going to be very helpful in convincing people to run linux.

    Nick Fortune 04/11/04 10:11:24 AM EDT

    Anyone think redmond will allow this to gain a significant user base? Or will they do an XBox and nobble it with a bug fix, where the bug is defined as "runs linux"

    I know which way I'm betting...

    t0qer 04/11/04 10:10:44 AM EDT

    I always thought that linux assimilating windows was better than windows assimilating linux.

    swordboy 04/11/04 10:10:03 AM EDT

    This is huge for Linux. Now if we could get the desktop situation sorted out, we can start implmenting Linux on the desktop.

    TheSpoom 04/11/04 10:09:18 AM EDT

    This is, as far as I can tell, a MUCH better idea than the MS Virtual PC image we were supposed to download from our school's server for use in our C++ course (which we are basing in Linux, we're banned from using .NET for it, which I think is pretty cool).

    SpyHunter 04/11/04 10:08:11 AM EDT

    I think the promise of this approach may strech beyond people trying out Linux to helping people install Linux alongside Windows. I can imagine a new Linux install process that doesn't require booting from a disk or CD. Instead you download a giant executable which starts a coLinux system. Once it is running it can cooperate with part of the installer still running as a Windows process to resize the main Windows partition, create a Linux partition, and install Linux there. (I think it's possible in Windows to resize an NTFS partition online, correct me if I'm wrong though...) It could also take network and other

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    SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM Cloud Data Services has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. IBM Cloud Data Services offers a portfolio of integrated, best-of-breed cloud data services for developers focused on mobile computing and analytics use cases.
    "Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
    WebRTC has had a real tough three or four years, and so have those working with it. Only a few short years ago, the development world were excited about WebRTC and proclaiming how awesome it was. You might have played with the technology a couple of years ago, only to find the extra infrastructure requirements were painful to implement and poorly documented. This probably left a bitter taste in your mouth, especially when things went wrong.
    The broad selection of hardware, the rapid evolution of operating systems and the time-to-market for mobile apps has been so rapid that new challenges for developers and engineers arise every day. Security, testing, hosting, and other metrics have to be considered through the process. In his session at Big Data Expo, Walter Maguire, Chief Field Technologist, HP Big Data Group, at Hewlett-Packard, will discuss the challenges faced by developers and a composite Big Data applications builder, focusing on how to help solve the problems that developers are continuously battling.
    Nowadays, a large number of sensors and devices are connected to the network. Leading-edge IoT technologies integrate various types of sensor data to create a new value for several business decision scenarios. The transparent cloud is a model of a new IoT emergence service platform. Many service providers store and access various types of sensor data in order to create and find out new business values by integrating such data.