Linux GUI apps coming to Windows 10

Soon you’ll be able to run your favorite GUI apps directly on Windows.

Tuesday, Microsoft reported it was adding GUI app support and GPU hardware acceleration to its Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL). While you could previously run Linux GUI apps through Windows using a third-party X-server, installation was effortful and graphic performance was poor.

Now, Microsoft has developed a Direct X driver for its WSL that, it says, allows “applications running inside of the Linux environment [to] have the same access to the GPU as native applications on Windows.”

“Soon,” Microsoft added, “you’ll be able to use your favorite Linux IDE or other GUI application alongside your other Windows applications on your Windows desktop.” 

At its virtual Build 2020 conference, Microsoft also announced it would release a Windows Package Manager for developers to install their favorite tools, as well as a faster, more simplified install experience for its Windows Subsystem for Linux. All you need to do is run the wsl.exe -install command.

Self-employed Vadim Gromov told ITPro:

“As a developer, I see tons of benefits. It's very handy sometimes to fire up Linux terminal and use some built-in Linux tools on my developer Windows machine. And now there’s no emulation, and all those distributions run natively under Windows - it's tremendous. As for the GUIs, although I myself never used Linux non-terminal apps on Windows, I can see where some developers could benefit from this as well. For example, they can now use their most important Linux tools and apps on Windows, without switching between open source systems."

Related Resource

The IT Pro Podcast: Microsoft Build goes virtual

We dig into some of the most important announcements from this year’s show

Listen now

For the moment, you can download the source code for Microsoft’s Direct X Driver from Microsoft’s WSL2 Linux Kernel on GitHub.

Without specifying a date, Microsoft said Windows 10 power users will be able to update their Windows and run their favorite GUI Linux apps on their desktops later this year.

While most developers seem delighted by this development, some voice unease.

Bob of Linux Quest, for instance, told his YouTube audience: “I, for one, have my list of favorite Linux apps that if I jump over and run Windows I would definitely miss.”

Other observers speculate this WSL update might herald the cyber equivalent of a religious war. After all, this could mean developers booting into Windows more frequently than into Linux. Expect conspiracy theories to ensue. 

Featured Resources

The challenge of securing the remote working employee

The IT Pro Guide to Sase and successful digital transformation

Free Download

VMware Cloud workload migration tools

Cloud migration types, phases, and strategies

Free download

Practices for maximising the business value of digital infrastructure Consumption-as- a-Service subscriptions

IDC PeerScape

Free Download

Container network security guide for dummies

Enforcing Kubernetes best practices

Free download

Recommended

How to turn on Windows Defender
Software

How to turn on Windows Defender

14 Dec 2021
16 ways to speed up your laptop
Laptops

16 ways to speed up your laptop

8 Dec 2021
Microsoft Defender review: Effective, effortless protection for zero cost
antivirus

Microsoft Defender review: Effective, effortless protection for zero cost

3 Dec 2021
Microsoft patch fails to fix Installer zero-day affecting every version of Windows
zero-day exploit

Microsoft patch fails to fix Installer zero-day affecting every version of Windows

25 Nov 2021

Most Popular

How to move Microsoft's Windows 11 from a hard drive to an SSD
Microsoft Windows

How to move Microsoft's Windows 11 from a hard drive to an SSD

4 Jan 2022
Synology DiskStation DS2422+ review: A cube of great capacity
network attached storage (NAS)

Synology DiskStation DS2422+ review: A cube of great capacity

10 Jan 2022
Microsoft Exchange servers break thanks to 'Y2K22' bug
email delivery

Microsoft Exchange servers break thanks to 'Y2K22' bug

4 Jan 2022