Dustin Kirkland, Ubuntu Product and Strategy at Canonical, is attending the Microsoft Build 2016 developer conference that takes place this week in San Francisco, between March 30 and April 1, 2016, and he was proud to announce the “Ubuntu on Windows” project.
Everyone was talking today about the rumors ZDNet started on the matter of a new, secret partnership between Canonical and Microsoft to bring the Ubuntu shell to Windows 10, natively integrated into a Windows 10 cmd.exe console, and guess what? The rumors proved to be true after all.
Canonical has just announced Ubuntu on Windows, a new project created in collaboration with Microsoft to bring the Ubuntu user space to the Windows 10 platform, for Windows developers working on cross-platform applications, helping them be more productive.
“I embarked on a super secret (and totally mind boggling!) project between Microsoft and Canonical, as unveiled today in a demo during Kevin Gallo‘s opening keynote of the Build conference,” said Dustin Kirkland. “An Ubuntu user space and bash shell, running natively in a Windows 10 cmd.exe console!”
Here’s how Ubuntu on Windows works
An interesting project indeed, but don’t get too excited about it, because, as said before, it’s here only for developers who want to be more productive working on cross-platform applications, for both Windows and Linux (not that there are too many of those lately) and don’t have time to switch between different operating systems.
Basically, if you’re using Windows 10 to develop cross-platforms apps, with the “Ubuntu on Windows 10” project you’ll be able to access the Linux bash shell directly from the Windows Start menu. Just type “bash” (without quotes), press Enter, and a cmd.exe console will open, running the /bin/bash binary from Ubuntu.
The project currently gives users full access to all of Ubuntu’s user space, as well as tens of thousands binary packages available in the Ubuntu repos, including, but not limited to, commands like apt, ssh, rsync, find, grep, vim, emacs, awk, sed, ruby, tar, sort, php, mysql, perl, python, wget, md5sum, gpg, curl, apache, gcc, diff, as well as patch.
“The native availability of a full Ubuntu environment on Windows, without virtualization or emulation, is a milestone that defies convention and a gateway to fascinatingly unfamiliar territory,” said Mark Shuttleworth, Canonical CEO. “Nevertheless, we are delighted to stand behind Ubuntu for Windows, committed to addressing the needs of Windows developers exploring Linux in this amazing new way.”
Why not use a real Ubuntu box for your development needs?
And this is what the super secret “Ubuntu on Windows” project looks like, for now, and to be honest, we don’t understand why we need it. OK, we get that it’s here to help you be more productive when developing cross-platform apps, but why not use a real Ubuntu box or, at least, a virtual machine with Ubuntu Linux on top of Windows.
Or why not dual boot Windows 10 with Ubuntu like many developers do these days. Well, the truth is that you are free to use whatever you want, whenever you want. No one is forcing you to use Windows 10 with the Ubuntu bash running natively, and you can always rely on your full-fledged Linux box, with all of its great features, always free of charge!