Microsoft has been tightly integrating Linux into Windows 10. The company has been improving the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) to such an extent, Windows 10 OS users can now install and run Linux apps natively inside Windows using WSLg.
Windows 10 OS has a refined and improved version of WSL, called WSLg (short for Windows Subsystem for Linux GUI). As the name suggests, the feature allows Windows 10 OS users to run Linux apps with GUI (Graphical User Interface).
Support for Linux Graphical User Interface (GUI) apps now available in the Windows Subsystem for Linux:
Microsoft has been steadily integrating features and functionalities of Linux within Windows 10. The company even integrated a way to update apps through the Windows Terminal.
The WSL feature has been one of the powerful features of Windows 10 as it essentially allows PC users to easily run applications that work inside a Linux operating system. The WSL platform enables the near-native functionality of Linux apps. The company added WSL to Windows 10 last year and has been improving the same.
WSLg seems very promising. It took almost no effort to get UT99 up and running in WSL2 on top of Win10! Maybe some day we'll start saying "Microsoft brought Linux to the desktop" with a straight face #Microsoft #UnrealTournament #OldUnreal 😂 pic.twitter.com/B3AnGAiaEw
— Stijn Volckaert (@StijnVolckaert) May 26, 2021
The WSLg focuses primarily on the GUI aspect of Linux applications. Traditionally, Linux users have heavily relied on Command Line Interface inside the Shell or Terminal interface.
Microsoft has added WLSg inside the Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 21364 in the Dev Channel. WSLg requires at least Windows 10 Insider Preview build 21362+ and “is going to be generally available alongside the upcoming release of Windows, noted Microsoft.
How to run Linux GUI apps inside Windows 10 using WSLg?
Microsoft has offered a detailed blog post that explains the technical details about WSLg. The GitHub page for WSLg offers a lot of details about the feature, including how to get started with the same.
Once Windows 10 OS users are able to install WSLg, it will appear as a shortcut inside the Start Menu. Users can also launch the same from a Terminal Window.
— Pete Brown @ Microsoft/Windows (@Pete_Brown) May 26, 2021
Microsoft has cautioned that WSLg works with WSL 2. In other words, the older WSL is incompatible. Hence users must ensure their choice of Linux distro is compatible with WSL 2.
The revised WLS 2 platform includes a Wayland, X server, pulse audio server, and everything else needed to make Linux GUI apps work inside Windows. Official support from Microsoft also means users gain access to GPU hardware acceleration. The company has also offered audio and microphone support by default.
— Patrick Wu | possibly watching #MSBuild (@callmepkwu) May 26, 2021
Before experimenting with apps, run the sudo apt update and sudo apt upgrade commands inside Shell. To experiment with the platform, install GIMP (a powerful open-source version of Adobe Photoshop) by running the command sudo apt install gimp -y.
To launch GIMP, enter gimp in the Shell to launch the app with all its GUI. Similarly, sudo apt-get install audacity at the PowerShell prompt will install Audacity (open-source audio editor), and entering audacity at the prompt launches the app.