Windows Subsystem for Linux

The developer reaction to Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) has been quite good, and Microsoft continues to update it with pretty much every release of Windows 10. There’s some really great functionality with this update which should improve the experience even further.

Distros

There’s now additional Linux distros available in the Microsoft Store. If you are an Ubuntu fan, version 18.04 is now available, and Microsoft has a guide on how to update to the latest version. Also, Ubuntu 18.04 can be run on ARM devices, which is interesting.

There’s also WLinux, OpenSUSE 15, and SLES 15 available in the store now.

Microsoft has also added the ability to install WSL distros right from the command line, which should make setting up a new dev machine quite a bit easier.

Notepad

Announced at Build to much fanfare, Microsoft has updated Notepad to support Linux line endings, which means you can use Notepad to open files from Unix/Linux, macOS, or Windows.

Shift Right Click Menu

If you’ve ever been in explorer and thought wouldn’t it be great to be able to launch a Linux shell from right here, today is your lucky day. The shift right click menu will now have entry to launch a Linux shell here, which will open your default WSL distro to that path, much like the existing PowerShell option did already.

Improved Per-Directory Case Sensitivity Support

Case sensitivity is now off by default on new directories created in WSL, which fixes an issue introduced previously when new directories were created in WSL which would then not work well in Windows where applications expected the directory to be non-case sensitive. You can switch directories back and forth with the setfattr command as needed. If this has been a pain point for you, check out Microsoft’s blog on the topic.

Copy and Paste

With the latest update, there’s a new option in the console option window to allow copy and paste from the keyboard shortcuts of Ctrl + Shift + C and V.

Shell Updates and More Edge Updates
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  • SkyBill40 - Monday, November 19, 2018 - link

    It's "October Update +." Reply
  • Rookierookie - Wednesday, November 14, 2018 - link

    Windows 10 updates are proof that the early worm gets eaten. Reply
  • PeachNCream - Wednesday, November 14, 2018 - link

    "Likely one of the most annoying things on the web is auto-playing videos..."

    Oh, like the auto-playing CPU video Anandtech stuffed into the middle of every page of every article?

    On a serious note though, some of the features in the latest update look pretty good. I don't know why I'd ever want to run Linux inside of Windows, but I'd imagine someone has a use case for it. I'd rather VirtualBox Windows inside of Linux or just dual boot a box like I do currently with Windows 7 or use WINE for the Windows programs I still need. The dark UI features are a nice addition though some form of that was doable in prior versions of Windows dating back to 95 if you tweaked individual settings so that's not really a huge change.
    Reply
  • jordanclock - Wednesday, November 14, 2018 - link

    I use WSL because it offers near-native performance, none of the overhead of a VM and way more convenient than dual booting. I mainly use it on my work laptop and this also is much easier on my sysadmins to manage than dual booting. Reply
  • PeachNCream - Wednesday, November 14, 2018 - link

    Nice! I'm glad someone has a use for it. In my case, Windows plays a relatively minor role in life as I keep it for MS Office (not sure how much longer I'll bother since WINE provides a good enough framework for Microsoft Office these days) and playing an occasional game that doesn't have a native Linux build or is WINE friendly. Reply
  • 1_rick - Wednesday, November 14, 2018 - link

    Exactly. Not only that, but you can get an X server like XMing and run X applications on your desktop, if you like that sort of thing. Reply
  • HStewart - Wednesday, November 14, 2018 - link

    I would agree about the videos - and hopefully it is not flash related which is notorious for problems on systems. Reply
  • wintermute000 - Thursday, November 15, 2018 - link

    pretty much this, a godsend for fuzting around in python or ansible etc. Reply
  • nico_mach - Thursday, November 29, 2018 - link

    A full VM install is enormous for many machines, this is a very nice option to have. Reply
  • flgt - Wednesday, November 14, 2018 - link

    I wish our sysadmins would allow us to install WSL. Windows is still dominant for day to day work but as embedded Linux starts to take over in our embedded processors in our products it would be nice to go seamlessly between the two development environments. Reply

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