Windows 10 Insider Preview Builds in More Linux Support

There's no rest for Windows developers, as one of the more interesting parts of the next Windows 10 release that's accessible by insiders, Build 16176 for PC, is improved support for Windows Subsystem for Linux.

Even with the release of Windows 10 Creators Update last week and out of the way, there's still no rest for Windows developers. And one of the more interesting parts of the next Windows 10 release that's accessible by insiders is improved support for Windows Subsystem for Linux.

Windows Subsystem for Linux, also known as Bash on Ubuntu for Windows, provides developers with a Bash shell for running Linux command-line tools, shell scripts, and apps on a Windows machine without having to spin up a Linux virtual machine.

Available now to Windows Insider Fast Ring participants is Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 16176 for PC+Build 15204 for Mobile, which is rumored to be code-named "Redstone 3" release. Within Build 16176 PC , according to this blog from Microsoft Software Engineer Dona Sarkar, is the much improved WSL.

Sarkar notes in short order that this version of WSL now has serial device support. "Windows COM ports can now be accessed directly from a WSL process!" she writes. (For more detailed coverage of this support, go here.) There's a slew of other improvements, including the addition of a number of IP socket options and filesystem improvements, listed in the release notes here.

Sarkar notes in the blog that Visual Studio developers who want to be able to use it should set their platforms to Windows 10 Creators Update.

If you're willing to take baby steps to learn and run WSL, check out Microsoft's Scott Hanselman blog post here, where he demonstrates a simple approach for writing and debugging Linux C++ apps via Visual Studio using it. His demo uses Visual Studio Community Edition, which is the most basic one, and which is set to use Windows 10 Creators Update. Since you need Bash for Ubuntu installed, he also has a short blog for installing that here. A few more setup steps is all it takes to get to writing and debugging.

"BTW, for those of you, like me, who love your Raspberry Pi tiny Linux computers...this is a great way to write C++ for those little devices as well," adds Hanselman.

WSL documentation is also available on GitHub here.

About the Author

Michael Domingo is a long-time software publishing veteran, having started up and managed several developer publications for the Clipper compiler, Microsoft Access, and Visual Basic. He's also managed IT pubs for 1105 Media, including Microsoft Certified Professional Magazine and Virtualization Review before landing his current gig as Visual Studio Magazine Editor in Chief. Besides his publishing life, he's a professional photographer, whose work can be found by Googling domingophoto.

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