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How to run Linux desktop apps on Windows


When the news broke that Canonical and Microsoft were bringing Ubuntu to Windows 10, the official reason is that it was all about porting the Bash shell to Windows. I predicted that, while a Linux shell was great, we'd soon see "people trying to port all Linux userspace programs, including desktops, to Windows." A few days after Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) was released, hackers were bringing Linux graphical apps to Ubuntu on Windows. The first thing you need to do, after installing WSL and Ubuntu, is to add an X Window server to Windows. The one I used was Xming X Server for Windows.

Ubuntu 21.04 makes a play for the enterprise desktop


If you're reading this chances are you're fond of Ubuntu too. Besides hardcore Linux desktop fans, Ubuntu's also a hit with serious artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) developers. But you know where Ubuntu hasn't had much luck in finding users? In the corporate world where Windows still rules supreme. One reason for that is most enterprises rely on Microsoft Active Directory (AD) to manage users and connect them with network resources.

Discover the power of Bash, the Linux command line tool hiding in Windows 10


Microsoft Windows may be the dominant player on the desktop, but the rapidly increasing open source software market--especially for admin and dev tools--clearly favors Linux. Not to mention the mobile market, where Android uses Linux variants. If you're a developer on Windows, the drumbeat to get hip to Linux capabilities keeps getting louder. Over the years, Microsoft has introduced various workarounds for using Linux capabilities on Windows, such as PowerShell with SSH and Cygwin and MSYS. Running Linux inside a virtual machine is another option.

Ubuntu's Unity desktop shows the limits of Windows 10's Bash shell


Enterprising geeks have already found a way to launch Ubuntu's Unity desktop environment on Windows 10, thanks to the recent addition of the Linux-based Bash shell. But don't expect Unity and many other Linux applications to actually work properly in Microsoft's OS. While the hack demonstrates how powerful Windows 10's Bash shell is, it also shows its considerable limitations. Microsoft says it "does not aim to support GUI desktops or applications," but it is possible to run graphical Linux applications on Windows 10. When I first tried this feature, it was extremely unstable--but graphical applications are running a bit more reliably now, in my experience.

Windows 10's Bash shell can run graphical Linux applications with this trick


Microsoft said it wouldn't support graphical applications in Bash on Windows. But enterprising geeks like w2qw on Reddit have already figured out how to run graphical applications with Bash on Windows 10. The underlying code is much more capable than Microsoft initially let on. This is possible because the Bash shell for Windows is more than just a shell. Microsoft built an entire "Windows Subsystem for Linux" that allows Windows 10 to natively run Linux applications, even graphical ones.