Windows Subsystem for Linux

If you are someone that uses Windows for (enter reasons for using Windows here) and someone who uses/administers Linux servers, you have probably attempted to use various combinations of software to either run Linux things in Windows, build Linux things in Windows or just to get a simple command-line for doing command-line things.

When I heard that Microsoft had released a subsystem for Linux, I was intrigued and leery. The more I read about it, I thought, hey, let’s give this a whirl. If this works, it can be pretty awesome. Microsoft’s announcements of availability of multiple technologies on Linux (SQL Server, PowerShell, .NET Core and Visual Studio code) the last couple of years indicate that there has been a change in how Microsoft views Linux.

A little over a year and a half later, it has shed the beta tag (it used to only be available if you were running in Developer Mode and that is a deliberate process) and it has added support for Fedora and OpenSuSE in addition to its already existent Ubuntu support.

My humble opinion is that it works very well. I am able to install one of the distributions (side note: yes, you can install multiple distributions and here’s a link to how that is managed) and do normal things like install packages, generate ssh keys and even install X (if you have an Xserver such as VcXsrv, you can display your X applications using that server). All of the Windows drives are available via /mnt and are mounted as their drive letters (e.g. /mnt/c is C:, /mnt/d is D:, etc.). It gives a full (enough) Linux experience short of dual(or more) booting.

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