If you think Windows and Linux go together like peanut butter and mustard, you’re in for a surprise. Out of all the things Microsoft has talked about at its Build Developer Conference so far, one of the most interesting is its plan to bring native Bash and with it support for Linux command line tools to Windows 10.
That’s right, Ubuntu and Windows 10 are about to become BFFs of sort. One thing that’s important to note here is that the integration of Bash isn’t through a virtual machine, containers, or otherwise sandboxed. What that means for end users is real access to popular open-source tools right from within Windows.
“You can now run Bash scripts, Linux command-line tools like sed, awk, grep, and you can even try Linux-first tools like Ruby, Git, Python, etc. directly on Windows,” Microsoft explains in a blog post. “You can also access your Windows filesystem from within Bash allowing you to work on the same set of files using your preferred Windows tools or Linux command-line tools.”
This is a pretty big deal and as such, Microsoft is being careful about the roll out. Rather than bring Bash to all Windows 10 users at once, it plans to first make it available to Windows Insiders sometime after the Build conference, which runs until April 1. Guinea pigs first, everyone else later.
“We know that there are some rough edges and that some things will break! Do not expect every Bash script and tool that you run will work perfectly –there will be gaps. But by trying out this feature, you’ll help us figure out what we need to work on in order to greatly improve our reliability, coverage, and reach,” Microsoft added (bolded text is by Microsoft, not us).
This collaborative effort between Canonical and Microsoft is mostly aimed at developers. Towards that end, Microsoft warns that this isn’t a server platform for hosting websites, running server infrastructures, and things of that nature. Furthermore, Bash and Linux tools can’t interact with Windows applications and tools, nor the other way around—that’s to say you can’t run Notepad from Bash.
So what’s the point of all this? Simply put, Microsoft wants developers to choose Windows, and giving them access to Bash within Windows increases the chances they will.
Who ever knew that Microsoft would be the one to Bash Windows?