Ubuntu: How does the new “Bash on windows 10” really work?


I read online that Ubuntu and bash are coming to windows 10. I also read that it's not an emulator or virtual machine running on top of windows, but something else. So how exactly does it all come together? And is it really going to be as stable and user friendly as bash in ubuntu?


It's not an emulator in the same way that WINE Is Not an Emulator. That is to say, they've added a Linux kernel interface to their Windows kernel. When an app tries to use the Linux kernel, it gets translated into a Windows native system call and any responses from the kernel is translated into a native Linux response. So the app thinks it's running on a Linux kernel and hence doesn't need to be modified.

However, this is purely a Windows technology so if you want more details, you should get them from a Windows support group or something. Windows continues to be a proprietary OS, so I would expect a limited amount of details.

And is it really going to be as stable and user friendly as bash in ubuntu?

From an Ubuntu perspective, we're simply running on a primitive Linux kernel, comparable to running a modern desktop on a primitive X server. If you're only using the features supported by the fake kernel, then it'll be stable and user friendly. If you use unsupported features, it'll be unstable.

It will not be anywhere near a complete Ubuntu experience any time soon.


For those curious as to how the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) works and how it runs native Linux ELF-64 binaries, we've published a series of blog posts and accompanying videos explaining the WSL architecture, processes, syscalls, and filesystem support.

Scott Hanselman also did a great walkthrough video covering the installation process and how to configure Bash on Ubuntu on Windows:


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