How to use Linux apps on Windows 10 with WSLg

Using Linux apps on Windows 10 is nothing new, just as the Microsoft-Linux debate is not new. If we take it out because of the attitudes, Linux is an example of humility and empathy with its open source code; Microsoft insists that it owns the planet with its private systems. But Microsoft has been giving in with WSL (Windows Subsystem for Linux) for some time and until now it was already possible to run various Linux things inside Windows. The gap was definitively broken and this is new: WSLg came out, where the “g” refers to GUI (Graphical User Interface). Now we are going to be able to run Linux on Windows optimally and we are going to see how to use Linux applications on Windows 10 with WSLg.

What does this mean? Now Windows, through WSLg, allows the use of Linux distros and their graphical applications for users… I mean, definitely all Linux from Windows. This of course is in a testing period, but it is still a great advance and a fundamental tool, especially for developers.

WSLg: Linux apps on Windows 10

WSL is an initiative that has been running for some Linux applications on Windows for almost 30 years, and it arose from the demand of the same users. In the first version of WSL there were many limitations, but with the second version it was possible to run full kernels with graphic tools. However, everything was still very basic and limited.

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With the new version called WSLg everything changed and for the better, they now work independently, the Linux distro below Windows, but it is not noticeable. And that’s not all, now you have full access to the Linux file system, integration with the Windows applications menu, X11 support, Wayland, PulseAudio and 3D hardware acceleration support. For developers this is a great advantage, It is the best shortcut, without rebooting and entering each of the operating systems or transferring files from one computer to another… They can now develop on both systems, test, run, etc. Although there are several ways to integrate the two operating systems on a machine, WSLg promises «a more integrated, user-friendly, and productive system.»

Linux apps on Windows 10 with WSLg

How to use WSLg?

WSLg works with Windows 10 version “Insider Preview Build 21364”. Using it is very simple:

  • If you don’t have WSL installed, all you have to do is the following:
    • From the Linux distro in the terminal with administrator privileges, execute the command wsl --install -d Ubuntu and then reboot when prompted. After reboot, the installation will continue.
    • They will ask you to enter a username and password, which do not have to match the Windows credentials.
  • If you already had WSL installed, run the command wsl --update from the Linux distro in the terminal with administrator privileges.

All instructions, specifications, files, programs and other important things you get it in the WSLg repository that is on GitHub.

WSLg repository

If you are interested in knowing many more specifications, There is also a presentation on Youtube from Microsoft developer Craig Loewen, who explains it all in detail.

For us, simple mortal users, it is a great advantage, without a doubt. I hope you take advantage of this super shortcut, and more so if you are a developer.


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