Microsoft to show Bash on Linux running on Windows 10

Could Microsoft's love for Linux be extending into Windows 10 territory? A newly leaked session title from Microsoft's upcoming Build 2016 developer conference has us Microsoft watchers speculating.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft's self-professed love for Linux seemingly has no bounds.


According to a session description from the company's Build 2016 developer conference which leaked overnight, Microsoft is planning to show off Bash running on Ubuntu Linux on Windows during this week's conference.

(Thanks to The Walking Cat and Tero Alhonen on Twitter for unearthing the leaked session title.)

On Day 1 of Build, we already knew that Microsoft officials are planning to tackle the topic of "Windows Command Line Improvements" as part of its annual developer event. But exactly what kind of command line improvements are part of that session aren't yet public. (The description of that session's content is still listed as to come.)

However, given the latest session leak, it seems that Bash on Ubuntu will figure in somehow. Bash is a Linux shell. It's a set of add-ons and plug-ins that are a superset of the Bourne shell, and provide users with the ability to employ text commands to evoke specific actions (and/or to use scripts to do so).

As some have noted on Twitter today, there already are ways to get the Bash shell running on Windows, such as by using the Cygwin or MSYS utilities. But Microsoft seemingly plans to go a step beyond that.

I wonder if the company is planning to use the new Linux subsystem spotted in a recent Windows 10 "Redstone" build to deliver this support. This subsystem may be related to the Android subsystem that Microsoft built into Windows 10 Mobile -- and subsequently pulled when it decided to discontinue work on its Android-to-Windows 10 bridge.

Or maybe Microsoft's planned container support for Windows 10 somehow figures into the picture? I blogged late last year, Microsoft is working on building support for containers into Windows 10 via a project codenamed "Barcelona." Securely isolating apps from the rest of Windows 10 is one of the main scenarios that Barcelona will enable, my sources have said.

Microsoft already is building two kinds of containers into Windows Server 2016, and is supporting containers in Azure, as well. And it is supporting Linux running in virtual machines on its Azure Stack hybrid operating system offering, which is slated to be generally available in the fourth quarter of 2016. (Ubuntu is one of the flavors of Linux it's supporting on Azure Stack.)

There are still more questions than answers on the Bash on Windows front, but over the next couple of days at Build, the pieces should fall into place....

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