Windows 10’s Bash Fling Produces Linux GUI App Offspring For Windows Desktop

We learned a couple of weeks ago that Microsoft and Canonical would be teaming up to bring some Linux goodness to Windows 10, and a mere week later, we saw the functionality hit the 14316 Insider Preview build. With that build now in the hands of tinkerers, some neat features are now being discovered.

After Microsoft made the mind-blowing announcement that Linux's BASH terminal would be supported on Windows 10, many began to wonder if it'd be possible to initiate an X server (the accelerated window manager for Linux) to run GUI applications. In its shipping form, both Microsoft and Canonical expect people to use only command-line based applications in the BASH terminal, but as it happens, you are able to run some GUI apps, as long as you don't mind the experience being less-than-intuitive.

Linux on Windows

As the shot above highlights, reddit user w2qw managed to run the xeyes toy and the GUI version of VIM. Neither of those are that impressive, but check out Firefox. While no one would run Firefox this way, given that there's a native Windows client, the fact that loading the Linux version on Windows is possible really does highlight how powerful this BASH functionality can be. Firefox requires quite a number of dependencies and it could have easily broke right from the get-go. Instead, it appears to be running just fine.

In his post, w2qw recommends heading over to the xming Sourceforge page and then run an application through it using the switch 'DISPLAY=:0 Firefox' (without quotes; Firefox can be replaced with another application). It's noted that performance isn't going to be ideal, but that likely won't surprise anyone. Performance penalties don't take away from the coolness of this actually being possible. Running Windows apps in Linux has been done for ages, but vice versa? It's impressive to see that in action.