Linux on Windows

Some time a go I saw an interesting project called andLinux. andLinux is a complete Ubuntu Linux system running seamlessly in Windows 2000 based systems (2000, XP, 2003, Vista, 7; 32-bit versions only). The idea is that it runs almost all Linux applications without modification and you see the applications on your Windows screen like normal applications. Even cut&paste seems to work in most cases.

Earlier when you wanted to run Linux applications on Windows you needed to consider using a virtual machine (like vmWare player), Cygwin or coLinux. They all use different approaches to allow you to run Linux applications on your Windows PC.

andLinux actually uses coLinux (a port of the Linux kernel to Windows) as its core. Although this technology is a bit like running Linux in a virtual machine, coLinux differs itself by being more of a merger of Windows and the Linux kernel and not an emulated PC, making it more efficient.


andLinux uses Xming X server + virtual network interface driver to get Linux applications to show on your Windows desktop. The audio goes through PulseAudio sound server. I must admit that this andLinux worked as promised and was pretty easy to set up.

The biggest downside of it seems to be that it seemed to take noticeable amount of computer resources when it runs (memory was short on the system I tested it). Other things that make me worry what is the security of this whole system. The lacks of 64 bit Windows system support is also a minus at times when 64 bit OSes are coming more and more common.


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  2. Damien says:

    No, this is NOT a port, this is a cooperative kernel designed to run along another kernel. The coLinux kernel is a stock linux kernel configured for cooperation, and accesses to the host resources through a Windows driver. The driver also makes sure there is no race condition between the two kernels. Otherwise, everything including the kernel code is perfectly stock.

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  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Microsoft has already built-in feature to run Linux in Windows:

    Ubuntu on Windows 10

  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Windows 10 Creators Update preview: Lovin’ for Edge and pen users, nowt much else
    What about the rest of us?

    Microsoft has released a new preview of Windows 10′s Fall Creators Update, showing off elements of its new Fluent Design System and introducing a host of features.

    At the Build developer event last month, the company announced the Fluent Design System as a move away from the flat design language which characterised the “Metro” approach of Windows 8 and carried forward into the Windows 10 Universal Windows Platform (UWP). Now there’s depth, lighting and motion effects, translucent backgrounds and, of course, smooth scaling across different screen sizes.

    The Windows Subsystem for Linux is still in beta, but no longer requires Developer Mode if you want to enable it. More significant is that Microsoft promises to enable multiple distributions “very soon”, which will enable use of SUSE and Fedora alongside the existing Ubuntu option, and to run them side by side.

    This new preview shows that Microsoft is executing on the promise of regular new features in Windows, part of its “Windows-as-a-service” concept. How many of these features will matter to most users is another question


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