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Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL)

Discuss various technical topics not related to Mozilla.
tanstaafl
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Post Posted October 29th, 2017, 12:57 pm

I'm using Windows 10 x64 and would like to also be able to run Linux in order to test Thunderbird under Linux, and occasionally experiment with some software (mainly console programs) that is Linux-centric. I've dual booted before on a previous PC and don't want to switch to Linux.

WUBI is discontinued. Cygwin is very useful but won't let me run the software I want. Booting Linux off of a flash drive would work but would be too slow. coLinux doesn't support 64 bit Windows and is essentially discontinued. I could use a virtual machine, dual boot (probably have to disable both secure boot and fast boot) or use WSL.

I'm thinking of installing Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) once the fall creators update for Windows 10 manages to install :) It would be faster than a virtual machine and I wouldn't have to worry about occasional trashing of my boot record like I've had when dual booting. I'd also (hopefully) be able to do side by side comparisons of a Windows and Linux version of Thunderbird.

WSL currently supports Ubuntu, openSUSE and SLES. Fedora and several other distros are supposed to be added later on. I'd install openSUSE. The main limitations I'm aware of with WSL are that it:

* Only supports the NTFS and FAT file systems, though you can manually mount drives. See file system improvements
* You have to avoid changing any Linux files via Windows programs. Changing Windows files with a Linux program is allowed.
* You can not run Docker under WSL but can workaround that by running it alongside WSL under Windows
* No UNIX socket functionality, a key requirement for most Gnome and KDE applications that use dbus. For some applications you can workaround this by editing the dbus session.conf file to use tcp-ip rather than a temp directory.
* Its really meant just to let developers run native Linux command-line tools directly on Windows though you can run some graphical applications. This is the biggest issue, and why the subsystem was originally called "Bash on Windows". I'm hoping that buggy as that is, its good enough for my needs and will gradually improve.

Does anybody have any experience using WSL? Especially using it to run Firefox or Thunderbird?

Articles such as https://virtualizationreview.com/articl ... linux.aspx say you can run graphical applications if you install a X server which runs on Windows 10 such as Xming or VcXsrv and set DISPLAY=:0.0 in Bash. https://www.ctrl.blog/entry/how-to-x-on-wsl says xeditor and SciTE text editors run fine under WSL but some other graphical applications won't work, or it takes several attempts to get them to run. https://www.suse.com/communities/blog/m ... en-part-5/ talks about "plain xserver applications like xeyes, xclock, gkrellm, xterm are working quite fine when using openSUSE on WSL, others like gnome-terminal or similar simply quit out with an error message". "WSL already implemented crucial syscalls and maps those to their Windows counter parts. But, a few important ones are still not there. Some of those are providing UNIX socket functionality, a key requirement for most of the Gnome and KDE applications using dbus. For some applications it might be enough to change the dbus session.conf file under /etc/dbus-1 ...." and a "public github project called WSL-Programs where you will find a quite comprehensive list of how well (or not) Linux binaries run on WSL"

https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/thunderbi ... uirements/ says Thunderbird requires X.Org 1.0 or higher but I assume VcXsrv will work instead based on old threads such as https://www.reddit.com/r/Windows10/comm ... from_bash/

https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/comman ... rs-update/ (whats new in WSL in fall creators update)
https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/wsl/20 ... m-support/ (WSL file system support)
https://github.com/Microsoft/WSL
https://github.com/kbobrowski/WSL-launch-GUI
https://askubuntu.com/questions/808474/ ... n-x-server (GUI workarounds)
https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/commandline/wsl/about (WSL documentation)
https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/commandline/wsl/faq (WSL FAQ)

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Post Posted October 29th, 2017, 2:36 pm

#KeepFightingMichael

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Post Posted October 30th, 2017, 6:26 am

I saw something about the WSL a while ago and it was similar in content to this article. Bash issues downplayed
There's also this with some mention Which news do you want first
I also saw something recently in another new article but so far this is what I found.
Personal experience would be with Bash, care should be taken with regard to permission levels and logging.
The opening of various file-types during admin levels could bolex up either Thunderbird or Firefox or other packages, changing levels and dumping settings (personal experience on this one)
Maybe another way not sure - Q4OS

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Post Posted November 19th, 2017, 7:13 pm

Have you tried a virtual Linux machine? There would be three benefits here. First, you would be using the actual Linus os. Second, it is easy to backup the entire VM just in case you blow up something. Third, it is just a double click away.

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