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WSL Graphics

 ·   ·  ☕ 5 min read  ·  🤯 Siddh Mistry

Recaps

In previous post we have seen how to install Windows Subsystem Linux in your windows 10, so in this we will see how to use GUI on your system without any kind of software or other utilities. The main purpose of using this is so that you can easily use both the windows and Linux apps together on single operating system, after you have installed this WSLG on your system it will look like this.

Let’s start the installation process.

Brief Introduction

WSLg is short for Windows Subsystem for Linux GUI and the purpose of the project is to enable support for running Linux GUI applications (X11 and Wayland) on Windows in a fully integrated desktop experience.

WSLg provides an integrated experience for developers, scientists or enthusiasts that prefer or need to run Windows on their PC but also need the ability to run tools or applications which works best, or exclusively, in a Linux environment. While users can accomplish this today using a multiple system setup, with individual PC dedicated to Windows and Linux, virtual machine hosting either Windows or Linux, or an XServer running on Windows and projected into WSL, WSLg provides a more integrated, user friendly and productive alternative.

WSLg strives to make Linux GUI applications feel native and natural to use on Windows. From integration into the Start Menu for launch to appearing in the task bar, alt-tab experience to enabling cut/paste across Windows and Linux applications, WSLg enables a seamless desktop experience and workflow leveraging Windows and Linux applications.

Installation

Pre-requirements

Before you begin installation of WSLG you have to check few thing on your system so that there is no error while installation. Here are the requirements:

  • Windows 10 Insider Preview build 21362+ (required for now but in future it will be available for normal builds if you aren’t on this build then go to setup Windows Insider and get latest versions of Insider Preview build)
  • Choose your GPU (if you have already install drivers then you can skip this steps)

Install instructions

I assume that you have installed WSL on your system but if you haven’t installed it yet then go to WSL2 Installation and install it. Moving further If you have an existing WSL installation without WSLg and want to update to the latest version of WSL which includes WSLg, run the command wsl --update from an elevated command prompt, and also download and install Linux GUI support on your system so that the software requirement to run WSLg will be installed automatically.

You can list your currently installed distro and the version of WSL they are configured for using the following command from an elevated command prompt.

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   wsl --list -v

If running in version 1 mode, switch to version 2. This can take a while.

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   wsl --set-version _distro_name_ 2

Restart WSL by running this command from an elevated command prompt, make sure to save any pending work first:

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    wsl --shutdown

Updating WSL + WSLg

To update to the latest version of WSL and WSLg released for preview, simply run wsl --update from an elevated command prompt or powershell.

You’ll need to restart WSL for the changes to take effect. You can restart WSL by running wsl --shutdown from an elevated command prompt. If WSL was currently running, it will shutdown, make sure to first save any in progress work! WSL will be automatically restarted the next time you launch a WSL application or terminal.

First Launch

If you have installed the Ubuntu Linux distro per these instructions, you’ll find an Ubuntu icon in your start menu, launch it. This will launch the WSL 2 VM, launch the Ubuntu WSL distro in that VM and give you a terminal to interact with it. Voila! You’re running Linux on Windows!

If you would like to explore additional Linux distributions built for WSL, you can use the wsl --list --online command from an elevated command prompt to enumerate the list of available distributions for your system. You can have multiple Linux distributions installed within WSL and they will happily coexist side-by-side, so don’t be scared to experiment and try things out. Now let’s install and try some apps

Install and run GUI apps

If you want to get started with some GUI apps, you can run the following commands from your Linux terminal to download and install some popular applications. If you are using a different distribution than Ubuntu, it may be using a different package manager.

## Update all packages in your distro
sudo apt update

## Gedit
sudo apt install gedit -y

## GIMP
sudo apt install gimp -y

## Nautilus
sudo apt install nautilus -y

## VLC
sudo apt install vlc -y

## X11 apps
sudo apt install x11-apps -y

## Google Chrome
cd /tmp
sudo wget https://dl.google.com/linux/direct/google-chrome-stable_current_amd64.deb
sudo dpkg -i google-chrome-stable_current_amd64.deb 
sudo apt install --fix-broken -y
sudo dpkg -i google-chrome-stable_current_amd64.deb

## Microsoft Teams
cd /tmp
sudo curl -L -o "./teams.deb" "https://teams.microsoft.com/downloads/desktopurl?env=production&plat=linux&arch=x64&download=true&linuxArchiveType=deb"
sudo apt install ./teams.deb -y

## Microsoft Edge Browser
sudo curl https://packages.microsoft.com/repos/edge/pool/main/m/microsoft-edge-dev/microsoft-edge-dev_91.0.852.0-1_amd64.deb -o /tmp/edge.deb
sudo apt install /tmp/edge.deb -y

Once these applications are installed, you’ll find them in your start menu under the distro name. For example Ubuntu -> Microsoft Edge. You can also launch these from your terminal window using the commands:

  • xcalc, xclock, xeyes
  • gimp
  • gedit ~/.bashrc
  • nautilus
  • vlc
  • google-chrome
  • teams
  • microsoft-edge

Congrats you are done and ready to use GUI apps!

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