With Coronavirus pandemic forcing people everywhere to their homes, there has been a record increase in the usage of electronic devices. Windows 10, which runs more than 1 billion active devices monthly, has seen an unprecedented surge. More than 4 trillion minutes are spent on Windows per month after the pandemic has started. This is a 75 percent increase over last year.
This makes Windows the most attractive platform for developers to launch new tools or improve the existing ones.
At Build 2020 on 19th May, Microsoft launched a bunch of new tools to entice developers to use Windows over other operating systems like macOS or Linux. Windows released Terminal 1.0 for enterprises, Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) 2, and also Windows package manager as a preview build.
Windows first launched Terminal as a preview in 2019 and has finally unveiled the stable version of Terminal. This means Terminal is now available for enterprises. Windows Terminal can be downloaded either from the Windows Store or from GitHub. The terminal will have monthly updates starting from July.
The Terminal boasts many features like multiple tabs and panes, which support different profiles and can be customized separately. This uses GPU to render its text for a faster experience. It supports Unicode and UTF-8 characters and also emojis. It also supports fan favorites like background image support and retro terminal effects.
The terminal is for users of command-line tools like Command Prompt, Windows Powershell, WSL, and other tools.
Microsoft unveiled WSL with significant improvements. Windows Subsystem for Linux WSL is an architecture that allows EFL64 Linux binary executables to run on Windows. Like Terminal, Windows released a working build for WSL in 2019.
With the new WSL, Windows will be adding Linux Kernel with Windows! This will now allow full system call compatibility possible. This is the first time Windows is shipping Linux kernel.
In the next updates, WSL 2 will get GPU to compute updates. This will potentially allow Linux tools to enable hardware acceleration for developers. WSL will also get support for Linux GUI apps. This means developers can run Linux GUI apps directly without the need of a third-party server. Developers will now be able to run IDEs in Linux kernel on Windows with full access to GPU.
With the releases of WSL and Terminal, Windows is embracing the Linux environment and giving developers freedom. This will go a long way in integrating both system architectures.