SUSE announced this week that it now supports the Windows Subsystem for Linux in Windows 10. So you can now use SUSE Bash instead of Ubuntu if you’d like.
When Microsoft first announced the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) as a new feature of Windows 10 last year, Ubuntu Bash was the only supported Linux shell. But since this system is open, it’s possible to install other shells. Which is what SUSE has done.
I’ve not really covered this functionality too much for a variety of reasons. It’s aimed at developers and system administrators who work in heterogeneous environments and prefer or expect the familiarity of Bash, a command line shell that features prominently in UNIX and Linux. (It’s included in macOS as well.) Microsoft, for its part, makes a more modern and powerful command line and scripting environment called PowerShell, but its new openness to the real world needs of its biggest customers—businesses—has triggered the creation of the Frankenstein-like monstrosity of running Bash on top of Linux on top of Windows.
Anyway, you can tell that WSL isn’t aimed at normal users by the way you install it. You can use the hidden and hard-to-find Windows Features interface or prove your mettle by using the command line instead. Either way, what you’re doing is installing the WSL, an optional Windows 10 subsystem, and then running a user-mode Ubuntu Linux on top of Windows 10. That Linux version comes with the Bash shell.
But now those who need to bridge the Windows and Linux worlds have a second option. You will still install WSL, as before. But instead of using Ubuntu Linux, you can use SUSE instead.
“Running Linux binaries natively on Windows … that sounds awesome indeed,” SUSE’s Hannes Kühnemund explains. “However, it’s quite unfortunate that Microsoft enabled the wrong Linux (that’s my personal opinion) by default within the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) and it is time to change it to the real stuff.”
SUSE provides a step-by-step guide for getting this stuff installed., and you can choose between openSUSE Leap 42.2 and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 SP2. As with using Ubuntu, however, what you’re basically doing is getting access to the Bash shell, which can run alongside the Command.com command line environment, Windows PowerShell, and the Windows GUI.
As for why you might choose this integration, as SUSE explains, this combination of Windows 10 and Linux is more efficient than other ways of running both OSes.
“It’s hard to have both Windows and Linux truly accessible at the same time,” Kühnemund explains. “You’d either have to go with a dual boot setup, or you may leverage virtualization and run a Linux VM on Windows (or vice versa), or you might be familiar with Cygwin allowing you to run recompiled Linux binaries on Windows. All of those options have their advantages and disadvantages.”
God help us all.
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