Windows 10 Preview Adds Native Bash Support

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Windows 10 insiders can test out new Linux development tools, with a few caveats

The first build of Windows 10 to support Bash on Ubuntu has been made available to Windows Insiders, following the announcement of a partnership with Canonical at Build 2016 last week.

Build 14316 lets users run native Bash in developer mode by switching on the beta version of the ‘Windows Subsystem for Linux’ (WSL) and is installed by typing ‘bash’ into the command prompt.

Microsoft says the addition of Bash is an acknowledgement that open source tools can be difficult to use on Windows and represents a significant change in strategy by the company, especially since former CEO Steve Ballmer once called Linux “a cancer.”

Bash support on Windows 10

Windows 10 Virtual desktopWSL supports Bash scripts, Linux command-line tools and even allows developers to try out Linux-first tools like Ruby, Git and Python directly on Windows 10.

However Microsoft has a warning for early adopters.

“First, this is the first time we’re releasing this technology – it’s marked as beta for a reason: We know that there are some rough edges and that some things will break!” it said in a blog post. “Do not expect every Bash script and tool that you run will work perfectly – there will be gaps. But by trying out this feature, you’ll help us figure out what we need to work on in order to greatly improve our reliability, coverage, and reach.

“Second, while you’ll be able to run native Bash and many Linux command-line tools on Windows, it’s important to note that this is a developer toolset to help you write and build all your code for all your scenarios and platforms. This is not a server platform upon which you will host websites, run server infrastructure, etc.

“Third, note that Bash and Linux tools cannot interact with Windows applications and tools, and vice-versa. So you won’t be able to run Notepad from Bash, or run Ruby in Bash from PowerShell.”

The partnership took many in the industry by surprise, including Canonical’s own executives. Dustin Kirkland, its product and strategy chief, said the secret project meant he used Windows for the first time in 16 years, while head of Canonical Mark Shuttleworth said the deal defied convention.

Native Bash support is expected to arrive for all users as part of the much-heralded Windows 10 Anniversary Update later this year.

Aside from a number of bug fixes, Build 14316 improves cross-device performance of Cortana, new extensions for the Microsoft Edge browser, a preview version of the Skype universal application, more battery and Windows Update options, new emojis and better support for virtual desktops.

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