Windows Subsystem for Linux

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In order to do my Canasta work, I need Linux. I'm challenging myself at the moment to use a Windows desktop OS in order to learn all the tools and process required by Windows-oriented developers who have never used Linux as their desktop OS and aren't as familiar with the Linux perspective. In Linux, you ask "Where's my shell?" because you can directly use the "shell" interpreter[1] to invoke any number of a seemingly limitless collection of Linux commands. Because Linux has always been a multi-user system, with remote access, all users have a 'shell' environment which is the interface for the remote user. In Windows, everything is point and click, and based on a single user desktop environment. If you click open a 'Windows PowerShell' instance, it might look the same (text on a black background), but it will not understand any of the commands you know from BASH. The way to make PowerShell more powerful[2] is to install the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL). The WSL guide over at takes you through all the important steps to getting up and running as a (Linux) developer on Windows.

Like all things Windows, WSL is an executable binary c:\WINDOWS\system32\wsl.exe

Prerequisites[edit | edit source]

To install WSL on Windows, you have one requirement to meet; you must have a Windows 10 64-bit computer Build 18917 or later.

Press the 'windows' key Win and type winver to run the Windows Version utility.

References[edit source]

  1. The default interpreter for most Linux OS is BASH or the Bourne Again Shell. BASH derives from the Bourne Shell. Gotta love that naming! There are many options for shell scripting interpreters: The KornShell, Z shell, C shell, Emacs shell, etc.
  2. It's almost always the case that when you look at the 'name' given by a corporation for a product, that thing is NOT what the name says. In this case "PowerShell" doesn't have the power of Linux baked in. You have to add a whole subsystem yourself to make it powerful. They should have called it WeakShell, HalfShell, or StarterShell. They could have called it MicrosoftShell or .Net Shell. For various reasons none of the "truthy" alternatives will do, so call it everything that you want it to be: PowerShell.