Now you can run Linux Apps on Windows (Thanks to WSL)

Several interesting announcements were made at the recent Microsoft Build 2020 Developer Conference. I don’t know if you’re enthusiastic or skeptical about this – but Microsoft is more than ever at the center of our concerns.

And between all the announcements, emphasis was placed on the possibility of running graphical applications on WSL (Windows Subsystem for Linux).

Don’t forget the failure of renaming Xamrin.Forms in MAUI, which violates the existing open source project (Maui project) by Uri Herrera of Nitrux Linux.

In case you don’t know, WSL is an environment where you can only use Linux with a Windows 10 console. It is also one of the best ways to run linux commands on Windows.

While the announcement in the blog post (DirectX ❤ Linux) could have been PR ace according to Liam Dawe. But it’s still something worth discussing.

Linux GUI application support on WSL

Microsoft recently announced a number of new features that will appear at an online developer conference in WSL (also known as WSL 2).

The introduction of Windows Package Manager, Windows Terminal 1.0 and some others were the highlights.

But support for hardware acceleration of GPUs for the Windows subsystem for Linux 2 was something important.

Does this mean you can run Linux applications on Windows via WSL? It seems that…

Microsoft plans to do this with a brand new dxgkrnl Linux kernel driver. To give you a technical reference, here is a description of your advertisement:

Linux kernel driver Wsl Linux kernel driver Wsl

Dxgkrnl is a brand new kernel driver for Linux that exposes the /dev/dxg device to the Linux user mode. /dev/dxg exposes the IOCTL set, which is very similar to the native service level of the WDDM D3DKMT kernel in Windows. Dxgkrnl in the Linux kernel connects to its Big Brother on the Windows host via the VM bus and uses this VM bus connection to connect to the physical GPU.

I am not an expert in this field, but it means that Linux applications on WSL will have the same access to the GPU as native Windows applications.

Support for GUI applications will appear later this autumn (not with the May 2020 update), so we’ll have to wait and see when that happens.

Microsoft focuses specifically on developers who need the convenience of running their Linux IDE on Windows. Google is also targeting the same user group by bringing Linux GUI applications to Chromebook.

This is good news for users who want to stay with Windows. But, really?

Microsoft loves Linux – Really?

Microsoft loves Linux Microsoft loves Linux

It is certainly a good thing that they accept Linux and its benefits because of their efforts to make the Linux environment work on Windows.

But how does this really help Linux desktop users? I don’t really see the point in it right now.

Maybe you have a different opinion here. But I think the development of WSL has no real value for Linux desktop users. At least not so far.

It was interesting to see that someone in the Linux Unplugged podcast emphasized the Microsoft movement as something from the EEE (Embrace, Extend and Extinguish) line it is known for.

Who knows? Of course, their efforts to do so are worth evaluating – but it’s both exciting and confusing.

Does this mean that Windows users will no longer migrate to Linux?

If Microsoft uses Linux on its platform, it is because they know what it is capable of and why developers (or users) prefer to use it.

But with the WSL 2 updates I tend to agree with what Abhishek thinks if this continues:

At some point the Linux desktop will only become a Windows desktop application to a limited extent.

Of course, the local experience is always superior. And you will rarely see that current users of Linux workstations use Windows. But this remains a cause for concern.

What do you think of all this? I’m not going to judge the benefits of WSL for users who are forced to use Windows – but do you think Microsoft’s progress in using WSL will be something hostile or something that will help Linux in the long run?

Share your thoughts with me in the comments!

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