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Windows Subsystem for Linux: How Good is It?


Genuinely curious as I’ve never used it before. I’m just wondering how flexible it is as my laptop for school must run Windows, but everything I work on is exclusive to Linux.

If the 6820HKs iGPU could be enabled then I would give KVM a shot but as it stands it appears impossible. My laptop solely uses the 1070 it has for graphics and the iGPU is disabled for all else.

Thinking of a way to handle this right now…



Filesystem access is painfully slow.

WSL 2 should help that and make more things compatible but is just recently announced-



I found a few small rough places trying to adopt it into my workflow, for example, in emacs if you type “-z” which you may do often in a bash script like "if [ -z … " the point just goes to the edge of the frame and then goes nuts if you keep trying to type. I have looked the WSL preferences to see if -z triggers some kind of hotkey, but if it does I can’t find it.

/tmp doesn’t get cleared after each reboot, which I discovered when I eventually ran out of space on my windows partition.

Also, the default distribution was ubuntu 14.04 when I tried it. Although apparently you can run do-release-upgrade on it.

All in all, I did not find a compelling reason to switch from Putty to remote into machines or a full VM when I want to run something locally. It sounds like Microsoft is putting effort into improving WSL, so I will try again in the future.

Edit: I forget about the one that took me a long time to figure out: There are also some weird interactions with git and MSVC. If you initialize a git repository in WSL on the mounted native partitions, if there are spaces in the file path, like there would be if your projects are stored in “C:\users\user\Documents\Visual Studio 2017 …” (which would so up in WSL as /mnt/c/users …") then either git fails to index or msvc fails to find its temporary project files which shows up as missing intellisense/compile command data.



I would suggest using a VM rather than WSL1, unless your workflow needs tight integration between windows and linux for some reason.

WSL2 looks to be much more impressive.



Ah man. That whole thing with Git sort of kills it for me. I do a lot of work with Git as I help maintain CarbonROM… We have tens of repos that have to be maintained regularly.

Thanks so much for pointing that out. I’ll see if WSL2 addresses this somehow and if not I’ll look elsewhere for another solution.



Starting to look like it might just be easier to approach this from the other direction and see what I can do in terms of virtualization… Uniformity would be nice though.



WSL 2 is a VM rather then a compatibility layer, sooo that might end up being what you use.

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Never thought I would be the one wanting to use Linux tools on Windows… Thank God for my desktop.



Don’t let that alone scare you away, I just changed my default projects directory to C:\users\clifford\src and everything was fine. It was figuring out why it was broken in the first place that was such a pain in the ass.

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Thanks! I’m going to wait for WSL2 and see how that pans out. Actually pretty excited to try it as I’ve never had a need to yet.



anything on windows is painful whenever you are used to linux… its not there yet though. still run into a few issues. it will be nice actually having full linux…

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I have found Docker on Windows Pro to be useful at times (depending on what you are doing of course) it creates a Linux VM in hyper-v and you can run Linux apps natively in the containers.

The alternative I use to WSL on my company laptop (where I am not allowed local admin rights or WSL) is to install Mona Xterm which includes a version of Cygwin and pre-compiled modules can be added. This is even less real Linux than WSL as all binaries are compiled to run on Windows, but it lets you get work done.

I seem to be recommending MobaXterm a lot. They should give me a free upgrade to the pro version :slight_smile:

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I just downloaded Debian from the MS Store… And it felt so weird…



And wrong



Huh… I was able to upgrade to Sid. Nice job Microsoft. Never thought I’d say that.



That’s pulling double duty beta testing :slight_smile:

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That’s how I like it. Having newer tools is pretty important to what I do :wink:



The Windows subsystem is really good for the Linux as it has the access which the user needs and it will also make the user to use other applications on that as well. But there might be a slight problem of Microsoft compatibility telemetry and it should be taken care seriously.



IMHO though it is a solution looking for a problem.

Genuinely curious on the use case? If you need linux, spin up a virtual machine. You’ll get pretty close to native performance. If you use VMware you can even share folders between host and guest.

What’s the use case you guys have for it? Running specific Linux apps?



I wish you had taken Batman seriously.