Strange Bedfellows: Microsoft And Canonical Bring Ubuntu Linux Bash To Windows 10

windows 10 bash
Earlier this week, we reported on a sleek, low-end tablet running Ubuntu Linux — a world first according to Canonical. But while that was definitely exciting news in the Linux world, today’s announcement from Microsoft and Canonical is quite Earth-shattering. The two companies announced today that they have partnered to bring the Bash Unix shell directly to Windows 10.

And before you even go there, no, this isn’t just Ubuntu running in a virtual machine. Instead, Ubuntu will be fully integrated into the Linux subsystems that course through Windows 10’s veins

The first appearance of the Linux subsystems was noted by @h0x0d back in late January, when he found lxcore.sys and lxss.sys in an early Redstone build of Windows 10 — more specifically, build 14251. Today, Microsoft gave credence to those mystery files, with Kevin Gallow announcing, “Bash shell is coming to Windows. Yes, the real Bash is coming to Windows.

"We've partnered with Canonical to offer this great experience, which you'll be able to download right from the Windows Store."

This functionality is native to Windows 10, with Bash operating as an .exe in system32, in turn allowing you to access Ubuntu binaries without having to move to a full Linux environment. Microsoft’s Scott Hanselman writes:

This isn't Bash or Ubuntu running in a VM. This is a real native Bash Linux binary running on Windows itself. It's fast and lightweight and it's the real binaries. This is an genuine Ubuntu image on top of Windows with all the Linux tools I use like awk, sed, grep, vi, etc. It's fast and it's lightweight. The binaries are downloaded by you - using apt-get - just as on Linux, because it is Linux. You can apt-get and download other tools like Ruby, Redis, emacs, and on and on. This is brilliant for developers that use a diverse set of tools like me.

While we’ve seen third-party apps that add similar functionality for quite some time, the fact that Microsoft has teamed up with Canonical for native support in Windows 10 is unprecedented (and is the reason why the crowd in attendance at Build went wild when it was announced). So if you want to take advantage of this landmark development in Windows 10 and Linux convergence, it will soon be available courtesy of the Windows 10 “Anniversary” Update.