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Bash plus Windows 10 equals Linux GUI apps on the Windows desktop

Microsoft has been actively exploring Linux, with SQL Server 2016 coming to the OS sometime this year. But one of the major talking points from Build 2016 was the inclusion of Bash for Windows 10. The news was well received and the functionality was soon demoed on Channel 9.

Now, thanks to the availability of Build 14316 of Windows 10, a dev/redditor by the name of w2qw discovered the ability to run Linux GUI apps on the Windows 10 desktop. He discovered the trick by installing and configuring X Server and running the following command:

DISPLAY=:0 firefox

w2qw points out the apps don’t run as fast this way, as they would with a native Windows 10 version. This is because they are essentially running on a server app, installed on the Windows 10 machine.

Another redditor, starlig-ht was even able to run Xfce, a Linux desktop environment used by some Linux distros, on Windows 10.

With all this functionality being opened to Windows users, what’s to say the functionality won’t end up being exploited and run in the opposite fashion? Windows 10 machines that boot directly into a Linux desktop environment and native Windows 10 apps then run in the Linux GUI?

If you want to try all this for yourself, you need to do the following:

  1. Enable Developer Mode (Settings > Update & Security > For developers)
  2. Enable the Windows subsystem for Linux (beta) Windows feature
  3. Open a command prompt and run bash

If you give it a go, or have already tried this, let us know you experiences in the comments, or leave a post in the Windows Support section of the forum.

Source: Reddit via Windows Clan | Images courtesy of w2qw and starlig-ht

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