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

Four cyber security essentials that your board of directors wants to know

The insights to help you deliver what they need

Download now

Data: A resource much too valuable to leave unprotected

Protect your data to protect your company

Download now

Improving cyber security for remote working

13 recommendations for security from any location

Download now

Why CEOS should care about the move to SAP S/4HANA

And how they can accelerate business value

Download now

Recommended

How to factory reset Windows 10
operating systems

How to factory reset Windows 10

4 Mar 2020
How to wipe a laptop easily and securely
Security

How to wipe a laptop easily and securely

17 Nov 2020
Log-On Wave for IBM Z simplifies highly virtualized environments
virtualisation

Log-On Wave for IBM Z simplifies highly virtualized environments

16 Nov 2020
How to move Windows 10 from your old hard drive to SSD
operating systems

How to move Windows 10 from your old hard drive to SSD

10 Nov 2020

Most Popular

Cisco acquires container security startup Banzai Cloud
Security

Cisco acquires container security startup Banzai Cloud

18 Nov 2020
macOS Big Sur is bricking some older MacBooks
operating systems

macOS Big Sur is bricking some older MacBooks

16 Nov 2020
46 million Animal Jam accounts leaked after comms software breach
Security

46 million Animal Jam accounts leaked after comms software breach

13 Nov 2020