Linux on Windows

Windows 10 to get support for Linux GUI apps

Soon you'll be able to run Linux GUI apps alongside Windows 10 apps without the need to third-party solutions.

Linux GUI apps on Windows 10 (source: Microsoft)

As part of the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL), Microsoft is working to bring support for Graphical User Interface (GUI) and Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) hardware acceleration, which means that soon you’ll be able to run graphical Linux applications on Windows 10.

The new improvements are possible because of WSL version 2 coming with the May 2020 Update (version 2004) that brings the full Linux kernel to Windows 10. However, the support to run Linux apps alongside Windows 10 apps will be available later.

The integration will be designed specifically to allow developers to run their preferred apps, such as text editors and Integrated Development Environments (IDE), without the need to use a dedicated virtual machine or X11 forwarding to stream a Linux application into Windows 10.

In addition, hardware acceleration will allow developers to use Windows 10 to run heavy workloads from Linux tools in many scenarios. For instance, in scenarios like parallels computation, machine learning, and artificial intelligence (AI) models.  

Alongside these improvements, the company is also making it easier to install the Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 using only the wsl.exe – install. In the past, you needed to go through extra steps to use Control Panel to enable the feature.

Microsoft isn’t sharing when these improvements will be available, but it’s saying that GPU hardware acceleration will show up in the coming months to testers with devices enrolled in the Fast ring of the Windows Insider Program. Also, about the Linux GUI apps support, the company will share more information before the end of the year.