Windows 10 will gain support Unix (Ubuntu GNU/Linux) utilities



Microsoft is reportedly working on adding a new subsystem for Windows 10, which will make it possible to run apps compiled for Unx systems. They have released a demo video showing several Unx tools running on Windows, without a VM. These tools include the Borne Again SHell (bash), vi(m), emacs, git, gcc, and others.


These tools appear to have come from Ubuntu’s code base (14.04.4, Trusty Tahr, FYI). Ubuntu is one of the most popular GNU/Linux distributions in the GNU/Linux community. Apparently, Microsoft has been working with Canonical Ltd., the company behind Ubuntu, for some time. In their demonstration, they installed the GNU/Linux version of git using the apt-get command, which is used on Debian-based GNU/Linux distros, including Ubuntu and it’s derivatives, to install software packages.

This is definitely a change from Microsoft’s previous views on free (as in freedom) and open source software, as Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer had previously compared [GNU/]Linux to communism. And now, since Bash, GCC, and other Un*x tools are licensed under “copyleft” licenses, most notably the GNU General Public License, Microsoft will have no legal choice but to join the FOSS world, even if for a moment.

It’s worth noting that this is not just a few utilities ported from Ubuntu. Rather, these are Ubuntu’s native binary files that are running without any form of modification. From the sounds of it, Microsoft is probably creating a set of software wrappers to run Unx programs, which will sit on top of the WIN32/64 API. These wrappers will probably work much like WINE, except in reverse: turning Unx library/system calls into Win32/64 calls. And, they will be running as user software, as opposed to lower-level system software.

This new Un*x subsystem is expected to be distributed through the Windows 10 app store. At the moment, there are still some kinks that need to be hammered out. One of my favorite process monitoring tools, top, reportedly does not work, and there are still tools which, according to Microsoft, have not yet been fully tested. At the moment, I have no idea when this new subsystem will see a stable release. I also have know idea how much processing power this new subsystem will require, since combining two different types of binaries will inevitably add some overhead.

At the moment, this new subsystem is targeted at developers, not end users. Microsoft seems to be interested in supporting CLI tools, not graphical tools. Therefore, it’s unlikely that any of Ubuntu’s graphical utilities (including it’s Unity desktop environment) will be supported.

On a personal note, I find it quite interesting that Microsoft is using 14.04, a “long term support” or “LTS” release of Ubuntu, right when 16.04, another LTS release, is on the verge of being released as well. I can’t help but wonder if Microsoft will be adding 16.04 in the future. Canonical will stop supporting 14.04 in 2019, while Windows 10 until 2025.


PS: I forgot to post a link to a demo video Microsoft has released on msdn, showing what Windows 10’s Un*x subsystem is currently able to do. In this video, they demonstrated installing git via apt-get, compiled a Hello World program with GCC, modify a Ruby program, and even demonstrated using ssh.

Of course, the video would be better if Rich Turner wasn’t so bent on expressing his disbelief and amazement, as if he didn’t know know any of this was possible. (He is credited at the beginning of the video as the Senior Project Manager, so obviously he knew what was happening. Or, he was very stupid.)

PS: I was using tools like bash before it was cool.:cool::p;)


Since Server 2008, Windows servers have generally been moving towards terminal-based configuration for more and more tasks.
I find it odd that they choose to implement native support as PowerShell can be set up to emulate the entire ancient shell.
However, I used to advocate the excellence of the bash shell myself and for many years one of the clones for Windows was installed right after the OS.
I am only guessing, but many probably still prefers working in this environment and if enough of them are working in international corporations some pressure to support it has made it all the way to Microsoft HQ :slight_smile:

This is not at all bad though, I for one would find it refreshing to actually have one environment and one set of commands to work with and I have absolutely nothing negative to say about BASH. It is much easier to learn than Powershell for one, and it gets the job done which is my main concern.

As for Microsoft representatives comparing Linux to communism, I can only guarantee you they know nothing of communism, cause if they had any knowledge thereof, they wouldn’t. On paper, that ideology is actually rather nice, but does not work due to a rotten human brain, fueled by greed and egocentric thoughts which by the way suits capitalism just fine. Now everyone can have the facts, having a biased opinion on the other hand is some kind of art :rolleyes:

@TSJnachos117: I was totally unaware of this, thanks for bringing the news, surely they will add support for 16.04 :clap: :flower:


Just finished watching the videos… [B]This is nothing short of sensational!!![/B]

Professionals can start practicing the definition of their coming working day soon, head over to spare hardware or vm, set up a Win 10, join to get the insider builds and get on…
:clap::clap::clap: This will be a NEW day. Incredibly cool :bigsmile::bigsmile::bigsmile: