Quantum, Linux and Dynamics: That's the week at Microsoft, not a '70s prog rock band
Sorry to disappoint
Roundup It has been a good week for Microsoft. While beancounters counted their cloudy cash, the rest of the Redmond kept itself busy.
A Quantum of coders
Though uptake of Windows 10 continues to hover around the 700 million mark (quite some way behind the billion promised at the operating system's launch back in 2015), the Microsoft Quantum team was trumpeting the "more than 650" participants that took part in its first Q# coding contest.
100 coders managed to solve all the problems (your correspondent is ashamed to say that he was not part of that number), and one burned through the challenges in less than 2.5 hours.
The winner may, or may not, be wearing their Microsoft Quantum T-shirt. It is, after all, Quantum, baby.
Keen to get a few more coders onto its vision of quantum computing, Microsoft has released the problems, along with a slew of tutorials as part of Quantum Katas. Hosted in Github – of course – Katas is a bunch of tutorials for those brave enough to dip a toe into the quantum-infested waters.
Skip Ahead to Windows 10 RS6 (or whatever it gets called)
Windows Insiders, rejoice! You may once again subject your computer to an operating system wobblier than an elephant perched atop a reinforced traffic cone. Microsoft has reopened Skip Ahead for a select cadre of its army of canaries in the Windows mine (or "Windows Insiders", as Redmond calls them).
Skip Ahead is now open! #WindowsInsiders can now choose to “skip ahead” to the next feature update of Windows 10. Please note: Only a limited number of Insiders will be allowed to skip ahead and once that limit has been reached, Skip Ahead will be closed. pic.twitter.com/Uw1xvPntDf— Windows Insider (@windowsinsider) July 23, 2018
Only a "limited number" of Insiders can volunteer to dive headlong into what will become 2019's iteration of Windows 10, and those enthusiastic enough to do so have likely already clicked the button (or are hitting "refresh" impatiently). The new code has yet to drop – Microsoft emitted a fresh version of the last build (now numbered 17713.1002) which broke the Windows Defender Application Guard. So be careful out there, OK?
Dynamics 365: More toys incoming
Microsoft shut 3,500 lucky participants in a room over in Seattle this week in order to talk Dynamics at them, as the software giant shared what was due to arrive in the CRM suite in autumn.
The 239-page PDF details hundreds of new toys, and Redmond is keen to once again show off its AI chops with Dynamics 365 AI for Sales, aimed at guiding decisions, coaching sales teams and, er, selling more stuff.
The "c" word (collaboration) gets a mention, with Teams integration in Dynamic 365 for Sales. LinkedIn heads into Dynamics 365 for Marketing while Skype hits the interview process using Dynamics 365 for Talent.
Microsoft was also keen to talk up Mixed Reality and its niche product, HoloLens, promising heads-up, hands-free video calling along with in-your-face annotations. While unlikely to hit general availability at the same time as the rest of the Dynamics 365 rollout between October and March, the technology is a pointer to where the future lies, as far as Redmond is concerned. If it can persuade anyone to buy the things.
Polarities are reversed as Powershell arrives on Linux
Since the Windows world got access to Bash via the Windows Subsystem for Linux, it seems only fair that Microsoft should reciprocate and hand its own command line interface, PowerShell, over to a somewhat more suspicious crowd of users.
It has been possible to get PowerShell on Linux since January, but it would be charitable to call the process to get the thing working anything other than "awkward". The packaging of PowerShell Core as a Snap will make life considerably easier for anyone wishing to transfer their PowerShell skills over to a new world.
A Snap is a containerised package, which should work over most popular distributions and keep itself up to date.
PowerShell remains the de facto standard for scripting on Windows Servers, while the likes of Bash own the Linux world and a large chunk of the cloud. By putting PowerShell on Linux, Redmond is hoping to challenge that dominance as administrators begin tentatively transitioning to the cloud via hybrid solutions.
El Reg had a crack at getting the Snap package up and running on the Ubuntu edition of Windows Subsystem for Linux (because such silliness amuses us) but failed, thus avoiding an Inception-like recursion of command lines.
And no one wants that. ®