WSL2 and Windows Terminal

1 minute read

Last month, I talked about how I purchased the Dell XPS15 over the Apple MacBook Pro. It was a close call. WSL2, among other considerations, tipped the scale in Microsoft’s favor for me.

What is WSL2?

WSL2 stands for Windows Subsystem for Linux 2. Microsoft released WSL2 in May 2020 allowing a Windows system to run any Linux distribution natively. Microsoft and Linux in one place without dual-booting. This meant more speed and power without the complex commands.

WSL Documentation from Microsoft

For programmers - with WSL2, you can run a bash terminal with Linux commands and even open a remote connection from VS Code. Everything from git to package & environment managers become a whole lot easier with this.

Why is this important?

More than just the feature, WSL2 represents Microsoft’s acceptance that Open Source is the future. Guido Von Rossum, creator of Python, arguably the most used programming language in the world today also recently joined Microsoft.

Windows joins forces with Linux

How do I get setup?

Microsoft has laid out clear sequential steps here to get you fully setup. Following are the steps you need to broadly take.

  • Install WSL, enable the new WSL2, then Configure
  • Install Ubuntu distribution of your choice from Microsoft Store, then Configure
    • If you’re not sure - pick Ubuntu’s Latest Stable Version
    • You can add/remove more distributions later from the Microsoft Store.
  • Run Linux from within Windows
  • Bonus: Install Windows Terminal & Configure VS Code to open remote WSL connection
Windows Terminal

Windows launched their new Terminal. Once again, this is an open-source project. We can run Bash, Command Prompt, Linux distribution’s terminal, Powershell, Anaconda Prompt and more from here, at the same time with multiple tabs and panes.

Download and setup your preferred terminals through the settings.json file.

With this you’ll be setup and ready to go. I’ve enjoyed learning and programming a lot more with this setup. Hope you do too.

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