Yes, Microsoft makes it very easy to run the Ubuntu Linux Bash shell of SUSE or Fedora on Windows 10 and no hell's frozen…
Carmen Crincoli, of Microsoft Storage, tweeted: “2017 is finally the year of Linux on Windows Desktop. "
With the help of Canonical (Ubuntu parent company), Microsoft has been able to add the Ubuntu Bash shell to Windows 10 since last year. It can run not in a container or on a virtual machine (VM), but with physical libraries and Windows programs: Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL).
As Dustin Kirkland, a member of Canonical's Ubuntu product and strategy executive team, explained at the time, "Cygwin's open source utilities are compiled from source to run natively on Windows. Here we are talking about bit-for-bit, checksum-for-checksum Ubuntu ELF binaries running directly on Windows. ”
Continuing, Kirkland reported on WSL: "It basically translates Linux syscalls to Windows OS syscalls in real time. Linux geeks can think of it as the opposite of 'WINE' - the Ubuntu binaries that are native to Windows. ”
Since then, Microsoft has continued to improve WSL. The Windows 10 Creators Update has added more than a hundred new features to WSL. But even before the Windows 10 Creators Update appeared, the SUSE showed us that you can run an openSUSE Bash shell in WSL.
The only thing that has really changed lately is that it is now much easier to install WSL and Bash with their availability in the Windows Store.
As Terry Myerson, Microsoft's Executive Vice President for Windows, explains:
"We have simplified the installation of Ubuntu by bringing it to the Windows Store. We are also announcing that we are working with SUSE Linux and Fedora Linux to run on WSL, to bring them to the Windows Store. Now, Windows is the only platform that can run both Windows and Linux applications side by side. ”
In fact, this it's not true. Thanks to VMs and WINE, an open source project that translates Windows application programming interfaces (APIs) into Unix-Linux, POSIX calls, one can run Windows applications on Linux for decades.
Except for the above inaccuracy of Terry Myerson, the new feature gives unlimited possibilities to developers and system administrators. Although the Bash shell will not be very useful to ordinary users, for IT it is a very serious tool to make Windows more useful in a server and cloud world that is increasingly dominated by Linux. Even in Windows Azure, over a third of the servers are Linux.
With Bash and WSL, you can run most shell tools. These include: apt, ssh, rsync, find, grep, awk, sed, sort, xargs, md5sum, gpg, curl, wget, tar, vim, emacs, diff, and patch. You can also run popular open source programming languages such as python, perl, ruby, php and gcc.
Additionally, WSL and Bash programs support server programs such as the Apache Web Server and Oracle MySQL Database Management System. In short, you can have a capable Linux development environment running Windows.
This is why, while the news about the ability to run Bash shell in Windows 10 does not make headlines in news sites, the most important news is that Microsoft is well on its way to moving the Bash shell to Azure Portal :
Azure Cloud Shell and Windows Server.
There, developers and administrators will be able to use the same scripts, tools, and container images they use in Linux containers on Azure and Windows Server container hosts using Hyper-V isolation. Here, WSL and Bash will really showcase their IT benefits.
So, yes, Linux is coming to the Windows desktop, but where things are really going to change making it even easier to run Linux server applications on Azure and Windows Server.