Satyamania: Windows Subsystem for Linux

If there are corporate image rehab awards (and I’m not sure that there aren’t), Microsoft would probably have swept for the last two years. In the nineties it was the evil empire, in the 2000s it was the bloated but inevitable technology gorilla. By the 2010’s, while the company’s OS market share was still dominant, there were hints that its future looked increasingly moribund. Botch Windows releases, consumer electronics efforts, and an inability to disrupt Google’s search dominance found a company that dominate the present but didn’t seem to know its path forward.

While the groundwork for the new Microsoft was clearly laid during Steve Ballmer’s twilight years as CEO, most of the credit has been soaked up by current CEO Satya Nadella. In a lot of ways, the company is almost unrecognizable. Microsoft’s old strategy was to put Windows on everything. Ballmer threatened so many patent lawsuits against Linux user, stating at one point “every Linux customer basically has an undisclosed balance-sheet liability.”

This aged well…

So it’s really weird when the company introduced the Windows Subsystem for Linux. It essentially let’s Linux distributions into the Windows app store for easy install, allowing you to run familiar Linux applications natively with access to files on Windows. In his post, David Wesst points out this is a dev tool first and foremost. But for an occasional Linux hippie like myself, it’s nice to have access to some CLI familiarity when I’m forced to use Windows. It’s a much more elegant solution that a VM on my desktop, and takes up minimal space unlike dual booting (which wouldn’t really give you access to the Window file system anyway).

Now if I can just use Parallels to run Windows on my Mac so I can use the Windows Subsystem for Linux, I’ll be all set…

David Wesst comments:

With the Fall Creators Update for Windows 10, you can go to the Windows Store and install Linux.

Yeah, that’s a thing now and it’s pretty cool.

Read more at: Windows Subsystem for Linux is Cool. No really, it is.

About the author

Rich Stroffolino

Rich has been a tech enthusiast since he first used the speech simulator on a Magnavox Odyssey². Current areas of interest include ZFS, the false hopes of memristors, and the oral history of Transmeta.