Could Microsoft’s love for Linux be extending into Windows 10 territory? Microsoft to show Bash on Linux running on Windows 10 article says that newly leaked session title from Microsoft’s upcoming Build 2016 developer conference has us Microsoft watchers speculating that you’ll soon be able to run Ubuntu on Windows 10.
Microsoft and Canonical partner to bring Ubuntu to Windows 10 article says that according to sources at Canonical, Ubuntu Linux’s parent company, and Microsoft, you’ll soon be able to run Ubuntu on Windows 10. This will be more than just running the Bash shell on Windows 10. Ubuntu users will be able to run Ubuntu simultaneously with Windows and this will not be in a virtual machine, but as an integrated part of Windows 10. Let’s wait to see what this turns out to be.
Some late additions and clarifications when more material has become available:
At Microsoft’s Build 2016 developer’s conference, Microsoft and Canonical, Ubuntu’s parent company, announced a partnership that will allow Ubuntu to run using native Windows libraries. This is far from the first time that Windows has been able to masquerade as a Unix-like operating system as from its inception, Windows NT included something called the POSIX subsystem (was supported up until Windows 8). After all, thanks to programs such as Cygwin or MSYS utilities, hardcore Unix users have long been able to run the popular Bash command line interface (CLI) on Windows.
But now things are somewhat different. According to Ubuntu’s bash and Linux command line coming to Windows 10 article this new Linux addition is rising from the ashes of Project Astoria. Microsoft built a Linux subsystem for Windows for Project Astoria, its system for running Android apps on Windows 10 Mobile (on February the company confirmed that Astoria was dead). To make all this work the company has developed some Windows kernel components (lxcore.sys, lxss.sys, presumably standing for “Linux core” and “Linux subsystem,” respectively) that support the major Linux kernel APIs. They implement the Linux kernel API using the native Windows NT API that the Windows kernel provides. Microsoft is calling this the “Windows Subsystem for Linux” (WSL).
For this to be useful you need user mode applications, and Microsoft is turning to Canonical, creators of Ubuntu, for help. Canonical has provided a system image containing the Ubuntu versions of the various command-line tools that are typically found in a Linux distribution. Ubuntu’s bash and Linux command line coming to Windows 10 article article assumes that Microsoft is running unmodified Ubuntu Linux programs using “Windows Subsystem for Linux” (WSL) – Ubuntu will primarily run on a foundation of native Windows libraries.
Microsoft is describing this in terms of providing a Linux-like command-line environment at the moment. Kevin Gallo announced that you can now run “Bash on Ubuntu on Windows.” This is a new developer feature included in a Windows 10 “Anniversary” update (coming soon). After turning on Developer Mode in Windows Settings and adding the Feature, run you bash and are prompted to get Ubuntu on Windows from Canonical via the Windows Store. This isn’t Bash or Ubuntu running in a VM. This is a real native Bash Linux binary running on Windows itself. This isn’t a virtual machine at all. There’s no Linux kernel booting in a VM under a hypervisor. It’s just the Ubuntu user space.
Running bash on Windows hits in the sweet spot. It behaves like Linux because it executes real Linux binaries.This is an genuine Ubuntu image on top of Windows with all the Linux tools I use like awk, sed, grep, vi, etc. Now you can get bash environment on Windows (for that you’ve historically had a few choice like Cygwin, run an entire Linux VM or Docker container). This is a developer-focused release that removes a major barrier for developers who want or need to use Linux tools as part of their workflow. When Windows Subsystem for Linux installed, the machine appears in the file system in linux-style in its own directory. There are limitations, for example through the bash can not start Windows applications.
Linux comes through familiar tools in Windows to open in drop by drop.
But “Windows Subsystem for Linux” (WSL) could be potentially opening the door to running a wide range of Linux programs natively on Windows, if Microsoft wants to do that one day. At the moment they do not seem to want to provide that. Linux familiar tools comes through available in Windows to open in drop by drop. According to Developers can run Bash Shell and user-mode Ubuntu Linux binaries on Windows 10 blog after you’re setup, you can run apt-get update and get a few developer packages.
It is not an understatement to say this could be the most important development in operating systems in the last 10 years. Nice to see this happen on year when Linux turns 25. Finally, I imagine some of you — long time Windows and Ubuntu users alike — are still wondering, perhaps, “Why?!?” This is an almost surreal endorsement by Microsoft on the importance of open source to developers. From Microsoft’s perspective, a variety of surveys and user studies have pointed to bash and Linux tools — very specifically, Ubuntu — be available in Windows, and without resource-heavy full virtualization. Canonical and Microsoft are doing this because Ubuntu on Windows’ target audience is developers, not desktop users.