The best part about Windows 11 is the Windows subsystem for Linux

WSL is ultimately easy to install - and offers automatic audio/graphics support.

In a major review of Windows 11 released earlier this week, we covered most of the new features and design decisions in Microsoft's latest consumer operating system — and it makes sense to describe the overall picture as "frosty." The good news: We haven't covered the best part of Windows 11 - Linux yet. For years, the Windows 10 subsystem for Linux has made life easier for developers, administrators, and enthusiasts who have one foot in the Windows world and one foot in the Linux world. But WSL, while useful, is plagued with many things it just can't do. Installing WSL has never been as easy as it should have been - and graphical applications have historically been possible, but there is a difficulty that requires some relatively obscure third-party software.

Windows 11 is finally fixing both. The Windows Subsystem for Linux issues in Windows 11 aren't perfect - but they're a huge improvement over previous issues.

Installing WSL on Windows 11

Microsoft traditionally installed more WSL without any hassle, but eventually the company built Windows 10 2004 in the process. Just open a command line above (Start -> type cmd -> click Run as administrator), install wsl - quick, and you're good to go. Fortunately, Windows 11 continues this process unchanged.

A simple wsl file - installed without any other argument, along with the current version of Ubuntu, gives you Hyper-V and other WSL rules. If you are not a fan of Ubuntu, you can view other installable distros using the wsl --list --online command. If you decide to go cheap and risk low bandwidth, you are only fooling yourself.

If you're not sure which Ubuntu distribution to choose, don't worry - you can install whatever number you want, simply by repeating wsl -list -online to calculate your options and wsl -install d -name install whichever you want.

The second distribution is not installed. Don't delete the first - it creates an environment separate and independent from any other. You can run any of these installed environments simultaneously, without fear of damaging one environment by another.

WSL now supports graphics and sound

Read more Linux graphics software under Windows for Linux In addition to being easy to install, WSL in Windows 11 supports graphics and sound in WSL-provided applications. This isn't the first time - Microsoft rolled out WSLg in April with Windows 10 Insider Build 21364. But Windows 11 is the first Windows to come with WSLg support.

If this is your first time hearing about WSLg, the short version is simple: you can install GUI apps (like Firefox) from the Ubuntu command line (or other distribution), and those apps will match Waiting, including looks . When I installed WSLg on Windows 11 on my OS laptop, Firefox running from Ubuntu terminal automatically showed the popular browser. Navigation to YouTube was also working perfectly, there was no frame drop in the video and no audio issues.


If you're looking at how WSLg works, we can start there as well: To advance the future and build with the Wayland protocol, not as you age X11/xorg. For everything to work, this means creating a graphical interface in the Weston reference for Wayland, connecting to XWayland to support the X client, and connecting FreeRDP between the native Windows and X/Wayland applications within WSLg.

If you want to learn more about the WSLg architecture, we highly recommend the April 19 Microsoft Developer Blog post about it.

What can I do with WSLg in Windows 11?

We don't have Firefox installed on Windows 11 - only in WSLg! Jim Salter This is my favorite for WSLg - a local version of Virt-manager, which manages virtual machines hosted on Linux servers remotely. Jim Salter

One of the most frequently asked questions about WSLg is "Why do I bother?" This is because most of the GUI killer programs in the Linux world are not Linux specific - the vast majority have already been ported directly to the Windows platform. And for those programs, running native Windows ports often makes more sense.

There is, however, a clear "killer" for WSLg that gets us excited - and that default manager is RedHat. Virt-manager is a simple tool that makes it easy to create, manage, and run virtual machines using the Linux kernel virtual machine.

With Virt-manager, you can make a simple list of your virtual machines along with how to display various disk, network, and CPU activities currently associated with each one. You can also address it by adding or removing RAM, 'disks', network interfaces, and other virtual 'hardware' items - and starting, pausing, or stopping them. Creating and removing virtual machines is easy to manage - and finally, Virt-manager lets you drag a graphics controller directly into any virtual machine, which behaves just like a physical display attached to a bare metal hardware.

If all of this only works on localhost, it's not very useful in WSLg. Nested virtualization is one thing, but generally not something you want to do in production. However, Virt-manager allows you to manage virtual machines on any machine that you can manage SSH with, not just localhost. Practically speaking, I use this remote administration feature to manage dozens of local and remote hosts (and many thousands of virtual machines) daily.


Unfortunately, Virt-manager never received the Windows port and seems unlikely. But under WSLg it works like a champ. In the screenshots above, you can see my OS laptop running Virt-manager under WSLg and connected to an Ubuntu workstation via SSH. Ubuntu workstation has a variety of VMs installed and running - the virt-manager on my framework laptop can manage them all, including Hackintosh VM and Windows Server 2012 R2 VM where console windows open .


The cherry on top of the virtualization cake shows how console windows work - I've never had a problem with YouTube running smoothly on my Hackintosh VM console, with perfect working sound. Ironically, this is a better remote control experience than I can manage with my real Macbook Air - unbearable even for spreadsheet tasks given the limitations of VNC over Wi-Fi.

What can't I do with WSLg in Windows 11?

As much as we're looking for an advanced Windows subsystem for Linux performance in Windows 11, it's not a "real" Linux virtual machine.

As far as I can tell, there is still no network bridge mode - this means that running a network server application (Apache, Nginx, MySQL, Samba, etc.) on your WSLg guest is difficult, and the services Make it visible to others. Networked Machines This "funny unsupported, unverified, experimental" solution still appears to be the closest way to a true network bridge - severely limiting the use of WSL-based application servers.

You can run the GNOME Software Center under WSLg - more precisely, you can install and run it, but it is practically useless. We don't know exactly what the problem is with the Software Center, but "No Connection" appears in the console and does not list available applications. Also it did not list all of our installed software! This is embarrassing, because otherwise it might be a good way for newbies using Windows to browse through existing software for the new WSLg distribution.

You can also run the GNOME desktop environment under WSLg, apt install gnome-shell works fine and has a huge list of dependencies to satisfy this request - but gnome-shell fails indefinitely with an unsupported session type, which It practically means that he doesn't like the Weston/XWayland WSLg environment.


Finally, there is no great OpenZFS support for Ubuntu. You can install zfsutils-linux without any problems, but this is based on Canonical's built-in kernel with built-in ZFS support, which Microsoft didn't choose in its WSL2 kernel.

Selected Ubuntu users can still install zfs-fuse and expect to run in user mode as it did on the original Ubuntu - but we don't recommend using it for production. FUSE is still stable at 0.7.0, while the base version is 0.8.3. This means that basic ZFS encryption is not supported, along with a host of other features, bug fixes, and improvements - not to mention performance effects running under FUSE instead of the kernel.

We have not tested DKMS-based implementations of ZFS within the kernel, as is commonly used in RHEL-based distributions. User, Windows 11 offers a much improved experience compared to what you are accustomed to from Windows 10. Easy to install, more features available, and better integration with desktop than legacy solutions like X11 running MobaXTerm Server.

As a diligent Linux user, the new WSLg feature isn't close enough to force me back to Windows on my desktop. But it removes a lot of trouble for other Linux users stuck in the Windows workplace and also provides the easiest way for beginners to swallow and try new things.

We particularly appreciate Microsoft's forward-looking approach to standardizing Weston/Wayland rather than X server - and its clear determination to integrate properly with the traditional open source stack of traditional desktop Linux.

If you're still having trouble whether or not to upgrade to Windows 11, the new and improved WSL might be the best reason to keep working.

Photo Indexing by haru__q / Flickr

The best part about Windows 11 is the Windows subsystem for Linux
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