• .Net

    The Confusing world of Text.Json and .Net 5

    So one of the base libraries over the years that has been our friend is Newtonsoft.Json – the stuff of legend maybe? Well, if not, certainly anyone whose done .Net and used any kind of Json formatted data certainly knows of Newtonsoft.Json… The “go to Json Serializer”! That is until Microsoft set out to prove to the world they could do it better. Better?

    Like many things in the world of .Net over the years, Microsoft watches these open source libraries… and notices when they become the defacto standard (meaning… Micro either left it out of their core offerings…. or more typical someone did better). Hence Microsoft’s System.Text.Json vs. NewtonSoft.Json.  Oh let the confusion begin!

    Now to Microsoft’s credit they have been working to finally bring System.Text.Json up to speed… but of course they continue to state the their intent is not to bring their Json library up to par with Newtonsoft. And there it is… the two world Json library view… now mostly the complaint I have deals with migrating old code up to using Microsoft’s. It’s a bit of a “rub me the wrong way” kind of careful reading as to which direction to take. Why? Well you get into dependency  issues where Newtonsoft and Microsoft’s library don’t always play well together- that can be a problem when it comes to wanting to use old code (NewtonSoft) in a new app while wanting to take advantage of faster MS .Net 5 serializations….. Yeah, why would one ever want to do that?

    Anyway, I take some time to read a great article @

    Layomi has a great write up of things to consider… especially in the section “Choosing between…” the two different libraries…. It’s a good read.


  • .Net,  .Net Core,  ASP.NET Core,  Microsoft,  Visual Studio 2019

    Dot Net 5 is Here… Check it out.

    Wow… some most excellent videos on what is what in .Net 5! Check it out on

    You can also find these on You Tube… search on .Net 5. The Conf 2020 Days 1-3 will be there…


  • Microsoft

    Backing up your WSL Distro and Copying it to another PC

    In our last article we talked about Moving an install WSL Distro from it awful install folder to another drive and path. So let’s make a back up of that distro, and then install it on a different PC.

    Using our new favorite tool LxRunOffline let’s make back up of a distro on our PC.

    However, as one starts down the path of using LxRunOffline, there is a slight issue when it comes to WSL2 Distros:

    lxrunoffline export -n openSUSE-Leap-15-1 -f suse.tar.gz
    [ERROR] The action/argument “export” doesn’t support WSL2.

    Ok, not a huge problem… this article just got longer…. LxRunOffline export will work for WSL 1 type Distros… So let’s do an example of both using LxRunOffline and WSL utilities.

    For WSL 1 type Distros:

    LxRunOffline has a command called List- from a Powershell window my list looks like this

    LxRunOffline.exe list

    Now the LX tool has a command to do a backup. This collects the distro into a Linux tar file (in Linux terms a compressed tape file).

    LxRunOffline export n <NameOfDistro> –f <pathAndNameOfExportFile>

    That’s the general format of the export.

    Now before one goes about exported a Distro – I would really do a WSL –shutdown Why? I think it’s best not to have any Distro’s running when you are trying to export them. It’s not a 100% required, but it is a good practice.

    For WSL 2 type Distros:

    Still do the WSL –shutdown.

    Now we use the WSL command to backup the Distro. Like the LX tool, WSL has basically the same set of commands.
    Get a list of Distros with:

    wsl --list
    Windows Subsystem for Linux Distributions:
    Ubuntu-20.04 (Default)

    And the backup command for WSL:

    wsl --export WLinux .\PengWin.tar.gz
        Directory: D:\cse.Linux
    Mode                 LastWriteTime         Length Name
    ----                 -------------         ------ ----
    -a---          10/17/2020 12:46 PM     9039769600 PengWin.tar.gz

    Now we have in either case a copy of our Distro that can be imported on another PC with WSL.

    When using WSL.exe

    --import <Distro> <InstallLocation> <FileName> [Options]
            Imports the specified tar file as a new distribution.
            The filename can be - for standard input.
                --version <Version>
                    Specifies the version to use for the new distribution.

    The –import command  Allows one to name the Distro, install to a location, from a filename. The options here, –version allows one to change the WSL version while it’s being imported.

    Now LXRunOffline is a little different:

    lxrunoffline install
      -n arg                Name of the distribution
      -d arg                The directory to install the distribution into.
      -f arg                The tar file containing the root filesystem of the
                            distribution to be installed. If a file of the same
                            name with a .xml extension exists and "-c" isn't
                            specified, that file will be imported as a config file.
      -r arg                The directory in the tar file to extract. This argument
                            is optional.
      -c arg                The config file to use. This argument is optional.
      -v arg (=2)           The version of filesystem to use, latest available one
                            if not specified.
      -s                    Create a shortcut for this distribution on Desktop.

    As we see the install command has a few more options beyond Name, Directory, and tar filename.

    Happy WSL’ing,

    Prev Article: Moving your installed WSL Linux Distro

    Go Back to Index of WSL articles


  • Microsoft

    Moving your installed WSL Linux Distro

    Why start this series with moving Distro’s around and not just about installing? Simple, The distro’s tend to default their install on the C: drive in the login user App Data space (don’t even get me started on over loading c:\users\<YourUserName>).

    So what’s the problem with c:\users\<YourUserName>\AppData\Local?  where do I begin… protected? hidden? Filling up your c: drive… pick one. But the most annoying one when it comes to Windows WSL distros… the install places these in the package folder. So c:\users\<YourUserName>\AppData\Local\Packages, and it does it in a way that usually involves a GUID like naming… Get the picture?

    Ok, enough harping on it… Let’s get to moving things about.

    You start with getting the most handy little utility called LxRunOffline. You can go to their GitHub page:

    Lots of mucking about with install verbiage (that’s a bit on the side of… yeah you really don’t need to do all of that on windows 10). Just go to the release page and download the zip file already:

    Unzip to a favorite directory… one that is in your execute path works fine. This gives one a exe that will execute from either a command window or powershell.

    So let’s step through it…

    First go ahead and install one or more of your favorite distros for WSL.

    Next we move it….

    ##  We will do this in Powershell
    ##  Start with choosing a place we want our distro's to live... in my case the root distro I do is D:\cseWSL\<distroName>
    ## Find your user
    ## I get something like
    ## Next for the location you wish to move the distro to... i.e. in my case d:\cseWSL\Ubuntu18
    ## I'm doing my Ubuntu 18.04 
    ##  We set some access control to that directory
    icacls d:\cseWSL\Ubuntu18 /grant "scott:(OI)(CI)(F)"
    ## Here we are setting some inheriate properties and full file access to my user
    ## you can lookup icacls and what those parameters are from the internet
    ## Finding out what the distro names are
    LxRunOffline list 
    ##This is same as the WSL -l  command
    ## You can list the current location of a distro using
    LxRunOffline get-dir -n Ubuntu
    ## The -n <distro Name> is required for the get-dir command
    ## For my Fedora distro I get something like this
    ....  \AppData\Local\Packages\WhitewaterFoundryLtd.Co.FedoraRemixforWSL_kd1vv0z0vy70w\LocalState
    ## Now the magic part... Moving a distro
    LxRunOffline move -n Ubuntu -d d:\cseWSL\Ubuntu18
    ##  the -n and -d are required for the move command
    ##  if the named distro exists and the directory exists, then this will move the distro over
    ## To check that everything is ok with the move
    ## Do another LxRunOffline get-dir -n
    ## and see the new location
    ## Then of course, run your distro to make sure it starts up
    ## LxRunOffline provides a run command
    LxRunOffline run -n Ubuntu
    ## Or start the moved distro in the normal way

    Seems a little much to do… but not really.  It comes down to Create a Directory destination, set some permissions, and then run a command.

    There we are… distros located in a Happy Place.

    Next up: Backing up your WSL Distro and Copying it to another PC

    Back to Index of WSL Articles




  • Microsoft

    WSL Linux on Windows 10 Series of Articles

    Ok it’s time to start a series on WSL.

    I make no apologies when I say I’m not huge Linux fan, but I’m also not lacking when it comes to understanding how to utilize this OS in my Microsoft world.

    First off, I’m not a newbie when it comes to matters of Linux or Unix- I spent a number of years working on HP UX with Window-X/Motif apps I had to support (so to all the Linux Trolls… yeah whatever).

    So why is a “Microsoft Heavy” a.k.a. Me, ScottGeek bothering with the Linux side? Simple, over the past few years with MS moving to an inclusive approach with it’s Development tooling for cross OS apps, why wouldn’t I add Linux to my stack? Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not about to start writing code in Java or some other fork of the C language beyond C#.  But Linux as a OS to deploy apps on, Linux as an IOT host, Linux as an place to share my API’s that the non-MS folks want to use- yeah that works.

    So shall we begin with some topics on WSL:

    Moving your installed WSL Linux Distro
    Backing up your WSL Distro and Copying it to another PC


  • Containers,  Microsoft

    Standing up Portainer using Docker Desktop on Windows.

    So as I find useful Docker tools… I’m finding that Portainer is a very useful for my running Docker Desktop…

    The thing of it is… like a lot of images/containers… depending on what type of images you are set to run (Windows vs. Linux), the actual running of the Portainer varies.

    If one is on windows images…

    #First time running Portainer
    #Now make sure that the directory C:\ProgramData\Portainer exist or change the second volume property (-v) below 
    docker run -d -p 9000:9000 --name portainer --restart always -v "\\.\pipe\docker_engine:\\.\pipe\docker_engine" -v C:\ProgramData\Portainer:C:\data portainer/portainer

    This gives one access to Portainer on Localhost:9000. In the first go around you will need set an admin user and password.

    Now onto the Linux version…

    # Do volume if one does not exist
    docker volume create portainer_data
    #Now start the image
    docker run -d -p 9000:9000 --name portainer --restart always -v /var/run/docker.sock:/var/run/docker.sock -v portainer_data:/data portainer/portainer

    The key to doing this is to choose the type of containers before executing the RUN or PULL of the portainer image.

    Because you got it, if you are running Windows containers – The RUN or PULL will get you that type of image for the OS… And one must Run the container based on the type. Indeed- the volume property is different between Windows and Linux….

    Be Happy with your Containers….


  • Containers,  Microsoft

    Docker Desktop WSL 2 Ports Access Denied

    As I’ve been trying to work with Linux containers and images, I ran into a problem with assigning ports to Linux containers. The Linux distro is running under WSL 2 on my Windows 10 2004… and when I set the -P x:y, Docker would fail to start the container will an error Access denied. 

    So after lots of internet looking… and port mangling… noon of which work… I find that the Linux distro (Ubuntu 18 something) seems to require root… so here we go…

    I open a bash terminal under the distro that docker is using… and do the following:

    sudo groupadd docker
    sudo usermod -aG docker $USER
    sudo chown root:docker /var/run/docker.sock

    Now the first groupadd should report that the docker group already exist… not a problem. This only means you are in the right distro…

    The next two commands put the docker socks code under the ownership of root.

    And there you go, one can assign ports in the run.


  • Containers,  Microsoft

    Docker Desktop and Windows 10 2004

    Ok as I previously talked about getting Docker up and going on a PC that really does not support the level of Hyper-V that is needed by Docker Desktop… there is a another solution. Windows 2004 update…

    Now I’ve been putting off the move to version 2004 because it was known to have had problems… But I finally made the move… no real problems yet. So why do this… with Windows 10 2004 one get’s WSL (the Windows Subsystem Linux). This is key to getting Docker Desktop to work without using Hyper-V!

    So lets do some stepping through this:

    First move one’s Windows to version 2004 (hours and hours and hours later) – make sure you enable – Windows Subsystem for Linux- it may or may not be turned on.
    Second install Docker Desktop – if WSL is installed and ready the opening installer for Docker will have a WSL 2 enable selection. Make sure you select that.
     **One might also have to update a default distro to WSL 2 if you have linux distros already on your PC. One will get a warning and where to go to do that.

    Now when Docker Desktop finally gets loaded or running… go into Powershell and do a wsl -l -v:

    PS C:\ps_Home> wsl -l -v
      NAME                   STATE           VERSION
    * Ubuntu                 Stopped         2
      SLES-15                Stopped         2
      Ubuntu-20.04           Stopped         2
      Debian                 Stopped         2
      kali-linux             Stopped         1
      docker-desktop-data    Running         2
      docker-desktop         Running         2
    PS C:\ps_Home>

    If, again, everything is ok… you should see a similar list to the one above… these are the Linux Distros. As one can see I have several.
    ** You can select which Distro is used in Docker, but it must be a WSL 2 version… Now one can convert version 1 (in my list that would be kali-linux) by doing a wsl command-

    wsl --set-version kali-linux 2

    You can Enable the other Distros for Docker within the Docker Desktop app. Settings => Resources => WSL Integration.

    And now you are good to go.


  • Containers,  Microsoft

    Docker Oh Docker

    The  dark world of Containers and Images…oh my.  As I step my feet back into the Container World… and bring back the horror that is Hyper-V… I am reminded that my personally built Mage Dev PC does not really fully support the whole of Hyper-V- as least not how Docker Desktop wants to use it. Ya, it work fine on my ThinkPads (including my mini- Yoga X1)… but alas not the main desktop dev.  Oh woe!

    But wait… there is a way…. I ran across this blog entry Docker without Hyper-V … and it really works… The long and short of it…. two methods to the madness…

    Option 1 script:

    # Install Windows feature containers
    $restartNeeded = $false
    if (!(Get-WindowsOptionalFeature -FeatureName containers -Online).State -eq 'Enabled') {
        $restartNeeded = (Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -FeatureName containers -Online).RestartNeeded
    if (Get-Service docker -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue)
        Stop-Service docker
    # Download the zip file.
    $json = Invoke-WebRequest https://download.docker.com/components/engine/windows-server/index.json | ConvertFrom-Json
    $stableversion = $json.channels.stable.alias
    $version = $json.channels.$stableversion.version
    $url = $json.versions.$version.url
    $zipfile = Join-Path "$env:USERPROFILE\Downloads\" $json.versions.$version.url.Split('/')[-1]
    Invoke-WebRequest -UseBasicparsing -Outfile $zipfile -Uri $url
    # Extract the archive.
    Expand-Archive $zipfile -DestinationPath $Env:ProgramFiles -Force
    # Modify PATH to persist across sessions.
    $newPath = [Environment]::GetEnvironmentVariable("PATH",[EnvironmentVariableTarget]::Machine) + ";$env:ProgramFiles\docker"
    $splittedPath = $newPath -split ';'
    $cleanedPath = $splittedPath | Sort-Object -Unique
    $newPath = $cleanedPath -join ';'
    [Environment]::SetEnvironmentVariable("PATH", $newPath, [EnvironmentVariableTarget]::Machine)
    $env:path = $newPath
    # Register the Docker daemon as a service.
    if (!(Get-Service docker -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue)) {
      dockerd --exec-opt isolation=process --register-service
    # Start the Docker service.
    if ($restartNeeded) {
        Write-Host 'A restart is needed to finish the installation' -ForegroundColor Green
        If ((Read-Host 'Do you want to restart now? [Y/N]') -eq 'Y') {
    } else {
        Start-Service docker

    This works just fine… and Option 2 (use DockerMsftProvider)


    $paths = $env:psmodulePath.Split(';')
    $modulePath = Join-Path $paths[0] "DockerMsftProvider"
    if (!(Test-Path $modulePath)) {
      New-Item -Path $modulePath -ItemType Directory
    $outfile = Join-Path $modulePath 'DockerMsftProvider.psm1'
    Invoke-WebRequest -UseBasicParsing -OutFile $outfile -Uri https://raw.githubusercontent.com/ajkauffmann/MicrosoftDockerProvider/master/DockerMsftProvider.psm1
    $outfile = Join-Path $modulePath 'DockerMsftProvider.psd1'
    Invoke-WebRequest -UseBasicParsing -OutFile $outfile https://raw.githubusercontent.com/ajkauffmann/MicrosoftDockerProvider/master/DockerMsftProvider.psd1
    Install-Package Docker -ProviderName DockerMsftProvider -Force

    Now Option 2 – don’t forget to do a Start-Service docker … or things will complain…

    Now I did change up the module path a bit to push docker up to my system module area instead of to my user’s doc path… and I did notice that Option 2 got a newer version of docker… Oh well you choose.

    And yes docker commands work… Kitematic works… and Portainer works…

    Btw if you want Portainer… 

    docker pull portainer/portainer
    docker run -d --restart always --name portainer --isolation process -h portainer -p 9000:9000 -v //./pipe/docker_engine://./pipe/docker_engine portainer/portainer

    There you go!



  • Microsoft

    C# Full Timestamp

    Because I’m always having to look this up… a full (useful) timestamp should always look like this…

    YYYYMMDD HH:MM:SS.fff   => 20200730 14:58:00.000   

    string timeStamp = DateTime.Now.ToString("yyyyMMdd hh:mm:ss.fff tt");  //Example 20200730 03:02:39.591 PM
    string fileTimeStamp = DateTime.Now.ToString("yyyyMMdd_HHmmssfff");    //20200730_150535040
    string fileTimeStamp2 = DateTime.Now.ToString("yyyyMMdd_hhmmssffftt");// 20200730_030707929PM