Debian, Kali Linux, SUSE or Ubuntu on Windows 10: how does it work?


It is now possible to simply install access to a terminal via Debian, Kali Linux, SUSE or Ubuntu within Windows 10, and enjoy some of the benefits of Linux without dual boot or virtualization. Here's how to proceed. During the March 2016 Build, Microsoft unveiled many new features that were waiting for Windows 10, including one that was particularly surprising: the arrival of the Ubuntu Bash. To put it simply, it was to propose a terminal as you could use it in the Canonical OS, but accessible directly from Windows.
Native operation
As was explained then, then detailed a few weeks later (see our analysis), there is no question of virtualization or even containers, but of a native operation. Microsoft has worked on a set of components that make up its Linux subsystem (WSL) to achieve this result.
Introduced in build 14316 of Windows 10 Redstone (1607), it was reinforced with the Fall Creators Update release late 2017, in different ways. Indeed, its installation has been greatly simplified even if it still depends on optional components. It is also possible to choose between different distributions.
So we decided to publish this little guide to explain how to proceed.
Several distributions, an installation by the Microsoft Store First of all, you should know that contrary to what one might think, it is not reserved for Professional or Enterprise editions of Windows 10. Even the Family Edition can benefit, what we confirmed by several tests. However, you must use a 64-bit version.
After a long beta phase that required the activation of the Developer mode, this step is no longer necessary. In reality, you only need to launch the Microsoft Store and look for the term "Linux". As a reminder, the Store is accessible even if you have not connected a Microsoft account to your machine or you are not connected.

Three choices will be offered: Ubuntu, openSUSE Leap 42 and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12. But if you look good you will also have access to Debian and Kali Linux, a distribution devoted to computer security. If this is your first approach to Linux, we recommend the first choice, even if it will depend primarily on your knowledge and needs. Ideally, do not hesitate to test the different possibilities.
Fedora was also to be present, but the distribution is still not offered. To install, it's as easy as any other application: just click Get (if it's your first time) or Install.
Activation of the Linux subsystem remains necessary
Once this step has been completed, it will be necessary to activate the Linux subsystem. This time, it will happen in the old Control Panel. Here again it is possible to simply access the right menu, by typing "features" in the Start menu and then selecting "Enable or disable Windows features".
A window will appear at the bottom of which you will find the necessary option:

Note that you also have the option to use PowerShell in Administrator mode to proceed. Two commands exist, one to check the state of the Linux subsystem, another to activate it:
Get-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName Microsoft-Windows-Subsystem-LinuxEnable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName Microsoft-Windows-Subsystem-Linux
You will need to restart your machine. Once this is done, by typing "Ubuntu" (for example) in the Start menu you will see a command to execute in order to finalize the procedure. It may take a few minutes. You will then need to choose a UNIX user name and then a password. The bash will then be fully functional.
In the case of Ubuntu, you can use APT to update the distribution and applications. This is 16.04 for the moment. Note that if you use multiple distributions on the same system, the wslconfig tool will manage things best and select the one to use by default.
In the same way, you can launch a command line in the Linux subsystem directly from the classic terminal with wsl. It takes this form:
wsl sudo apt update
A terminal like Linux, but where everything can not be started
Therefore, an "Ubuntu" application (for example) will be available in your start menu, you can also launch it from a terminal by typing the command bash or wsl. You will be connected with your UNIX account, several terminals can be launched simultaneously.
You will be able to navigate the data from your Windows hard drives mounted on / mnt / c where the last letter is that of the drive you are targeting. Conversely, you will be able to find the Linux subsystem data in the data of the installed application. These will be in a directory in the form:
C: Users [Utilisateur] AppData Local Packages [Application] LocalState rootfslxss
Of course, everything will not be possible, but since the first time things have moved in the right direction. For example, you can have a web server installed via apache2 directly through APT. Most of the command-line tools can be used, from Git to Lynx to vi.
What help Linux developers, familiar with Linux, to enjoy the simplicity of some commands like curl and tar (soon natively supported on Windows 10), or wget without having to look for a specific version or use Cygwin.
However, this should probably not convert the purists or those who are not great followers of Ubuntu to migrate daily Windows 10. As always, do not hesitate to share your impressions and tips on this integration of bash Ubuntu within Windows 10 via our comments.

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