What is your opinion of WSL

FultonB on September 23, 2019

I love it, it's much faster than a VM and it does all the basic things I need it to do, What do you think?

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It works pretty well for me. I like it because it allowed me to stop using a virtualbox VM to develop on windows.

I have occasionally run into wsl specific bugs with things like pipenv and docker. Overall, I like it and am willing to work around these bugs in exchange for the convenience of wsl.


I’ve been a Linux user since 1999. I just started messing with WSL a few weeks ago for an article. I’m still using it and Windows. I haven’t been back on my Linux install since. Windows has better apps, Linux has a better Dev environment. Now I have the best of both it seems.


I think it's in the right direction, but still need work to become closer to actually running Linux "natively".

Somethings still don't work, like Docker.

And performance improvements.

But it's already very useful.


WSL2 literally runs Linux natively. In a lightweight VM upon which distros run hosted in their own containers.


That's why I used double-quotes. Although it's native on a VM, the experience from the developer perspective is not the same. Hence the mentions in the comments about things that still don't work on WSL as well (or at all) as in non-VM Linux.


I think it's a good marketing move from MS.

However, I'm not sold on it being a great thing other than letting you use sensible tools for text processing on Windows directly. Performance is actually worse than a VM for most of the stuff I've tried using it for (no, seriously, I get better performance for file access by using SMB over a private network interface to a VM than I do using 'direct' access to the files through WSL), and there's a lot of useful things (especially for IT professionals) that you just can't do with it (like recovering data from a dying hard drive out of an old Linux server).


With respect, you've clearly not taken a look at WSL2 then, which uses lightweight VM to run a real Linux kernel image atop which each distro is hosted its own container. Net result is that you get 100% Linux compat, Hyper-V levels of perf (i.e. v. near native for most scenarios), and all the convenience of distros' that startup from cold in < 2s.


Can't please 'em all, Rich!

... can't wait for wsl 2 to be available in the slow insiders releases.


Oh, no, I've looked at WSL2.

The filesystem performance benefits are mostly contingent on you having all your data inside the container, which is not an option for me (I need access to the actual datasets I'd be working on outside of WSL as well without having to sync them manually).

The pass-through filesystem performance may improve a bit because of the switch to 9P2000L over VirtIO for file sharing, but unless they've decided that Windows Defender doesn't need to be involved, it won't be enough to mater for many potential use cases, including mine.

Also, it's not 100% Linux compatible. It still doesn't let you poke at raw block and character devices, so anything that needs to work with hardware directly (like all of the IT related stuff that it would be useful for other than a simple network console) just plain won't work.


I've been using it for a few weeks now


  • JS/TS development is so much better on WSL than Windows
  • Docker
  • I can use a real shell


  • It blurs the line between OS and emulation layer, and not in a good way.
  • It's still Windows, and Windows likes to interrupt me while I work.
  • Some confusion as to which filesystem you're on. Your /home/youruser isn't /users/youruser
  • Missing a X11 server by default (but you can install one)

On a daily basis, I run Windows (gaming), Mac (work) and Linux (side projects). My personal OS preference is Elementary OS and I want hardware support for Linux to get better.

Which brings me to why I have a problem with how WSL is marketed. They're thinning out the word "Linux". If you ask them if Surface Pro runs Linux, you'll get a bullshit sales pitch about why WSL is better.

It's an emulation layer. A good one, sure. But doesn't replace the real thing.


Just came across this thread while setting up a new dev machine. Your first "Pro" caught my eye and I was wondering if you could expand on this point: "JS/TS development is so much better on WSL than Windows". I've done Angular (TypeScript) development both in straight Windows 10 and WSL as well as various flavors of Linux (mainly Ubuntu). What makes it better?

I want to like WSL but it just seems to add a layer of complexity rather than improving the experience. If there are good reasons to put up with the added layer that I am not aware of, I would be very interested in learning.



Mostly the whole Python, compile build stuff is less buggy on Linux than Windows. Then there are Windows paths that can cause issues.

I do absolutely agree that WSL adds complexity. If that complexity is worth it, I can’t say.

If you don’t have any issues. Then I wouldn’t change to WSL.

I totally get Python on WSL, I wouldn't do that on Windows without a gun to my head. I was mainly interested in what made JS/TS development better in WSL. If your opinion has changed, what changed it?

Thanks for replying to this old-ish thread!

My opinion hasn't really settled. What pushed me into the anti WSL direction was when I tried to get React Native running in WSL with an Android simulator on Windows. That was just painful to the point where I fetched my Linux laptop and plugged that in instead.

For JS/TS development I'd pick:

  1. Linux on ElementaryOS
  2. Mac
  3. Windows WSL
  4. Windows

Really looking for WSL 2 to be available to everyone, not just those running insider build of windows.

Less performance impact, especially the faster file/io operations. The real linux kernel underneath, giving support to even more programs, including docker. They'll be game changing.

I quite like it already, but it's not that much of a difference, bit with all the WSL 2 features coming I think that'll change for the better. I'm interested but not totally keeping tabs on new information, but I think they haven't announced any concrete release date yet, just that it'll be in the first half of 2020 if I remember correctly.


WSL 1 has been available for everybody since Windows 10 1703. WSL2 is currently under development which is why it hasn't been released outside Insiders builds yet, because Insiders builds are weekly snapshots of the NEXT version of Windows as its being built. WSL2 will be in the Windows 10 release currently planned for spring 2020. Until then, if WSL 2 is important to you and your workflow, we encourage you to try out fast/slow ring Insiders builds and let us know if you find issues.


I think it's problematic in terms of where it comes from.
Microsoft is working on its Sphere and will presumably be using this platform to for the "extinguish" phase of its traditional Embrace, Extend, Extinguish policy.

WSL is very like WINE except not so good and with dubious motives.

And it really isn't that good. You can't access devices properly. You can't even read an ext* file system because everything's proxied. The terminals - even the one Microsoft launched with that music video - are rough and unpleasant to use. There's no proper display support.

It's difficult for me to see what benefit WSL gives. I know a lot of developers who use Git Bash (full disclosure, I haven't) and that gives them everything they need.

WSL seems like a funny halfway-house that's just there so Microsoft employees can say, "see? why do you need to install that other OS when you can do it all from inside ours?"


Terminal is brand new and early in its development. That said, it's also improving very quickly and is now the daily driver command-line experience for many.

WSL, esp. WSL2 provides Windows users with many features that they have lacked for years, including a very/fully compatible Linux environment running alongside their Windows apps and tools. WSL enables users to seamlessly access files in their Windows filesystem, and for Windows to access files within each distro. It's also easy to invoke Linux commands from Windows and Windows binaries & tools from within Linux distros running on WSL.

It's far from a "funny halfway-house" - it's a very real and highly productive environment for anyone who needs to use Windows and Linux tools at the same time.


maybe its because iI have been using windows my entire life, but i quite like that new terminal :)


WSL changed the way I work. No more dual-booting or running a full Ubuntu VM. WSL made it possible for me to completely switch over to Windows from macOS.

Still running WSL1 because I don't run beta OS builds on my main work machine.

It does everything I need and despite hearing all these complaints about it being sluggish before I tried it out, I don't find it to be that slow at all. Much faster than the VM I used to run.


Its amazing but I would love a terminal like Iterm2. Windows Terminal is getting better but still has a ways to go. The people saying WSL2 sucks are idiots.

edit: You guys should keep doing advanced tutorials on how to get Vscode to only use WSL2 interpreters and store files in the WSL2 home.


If it were not for WSL I would have switched back to a Macbook by now. I took a chance (mostly due to insane Apple pricing) on a Lenovo with WSL over a Macbook and so far WSL and VSCode have been my clutch goto tools for getting stuff done.

I can't wait for WSL 2 to really perfect the workflow. The slow filesystem operations can definitely be annoying at times especially when working in git repositories or with nodejs packages.

I also can't wait for Terminal to be my goto terminal (wsltty is best right now). There are too many rough edges right now but I am hopeful.

The team's communication with the community has been amazing. They are positive and have the open source spirit to them. It's strange to see that from Microsoft given the history, but I really hope that continues.


Well, I would like to add my thoughts here.

I started trying out WSL immediately after it was released. I remember getting excited about hearing Bash on Ubuntu on Windows 10.
I used it for basic necessities and for basic software development with it only. I remember that slowly, I completely switched my development environment to Bash on Ubuntu. It was a great tool for software development. The only thing what irked me about WSL was how slow it was. I remember it took me a few minutes to git clone a project which just took seconds on an Ubuntu machine.

But overall, I loved the beautiful UI and UX of Windows 10 and the Shell of Ubuntu together. ♥️

And in the end, WSL came really handy while I was working as a student developer at GitHub (GSoC).

I am currently on OS X, so, sadly no WSL for me now. But I have been following WSL and WSL2 and the progress that it is making on Twitter.

Microsoft, @richturn_ms and his Team are working and improving this product really great, and I hope I will try WSL2 really soon.


I've been using WSL pretty much since it came out. Working in a pretty much fully MS infrastructure it's allowed me to carry out dev tasks I would normally need a separate VM for.

That said, there were a lot of 'workarounds' needed to get things like Docker working satisfactorily.

I recently moved to the Insiders build of W10 so I could try out WSL2 and the Windows Terminal. Using Docker with WSL2 is so much better and makes everything so much more seamless.

In all I'd say it's a good thing, but I can understand peoples reservations with it.


I used it for some workflows like Ruby (which even with the effort of the RubyInstaller guys, it's kinda cumbersome on Windows), but for working with Node, PHP and other I've found myself using only native Windows versions. It still feels like a virtual machine for me.

I just install Chocolatey and I'm good to go.


WSL is Windows Subsystem for Linux more info can be found here


Oh the embedded Linux thing I use when it came out, why didn't you say so 😂 (acronym memory leak)


The handful of times I've tried it, it didn't work right. Tried running docker under wsl2, whole system crashed...

Just sticking with git bash (despite Windows-isms) and docker desktop for now. Actual Linux on my home desktop.


So far it's been a good experience, except for a few weird bugs like permission issues and so on.

Other than that, it's transformed web development on my Windows machine. I do, however, still use my OSX machine for most of my day job except for Windows-specific work.


I live in WSL. It is a spectacular tool IMO. I've wanted to move to Linux for a while (due to it being a superior dev environment) but never have because of Windows programs I use. WSL gives me the best of both worlds. I'm looking forward to trying out WSL2 as well!


I love it, it's not perfect but it's absolutely awesome for the people like me who just cannot work without having UNIX/Linux tools at hand.


I love it. Where I work we are forced to use Windows on our workspaces. WSL have completely changed how I work.

There is supposedly a lot of performance enhancements coming for WSL this fall.


I am loving it, Got Cassandra, Spark, Node, Angular installed and VSCode as Remote IDE


I recently got a new work laptop, which has a problematic WiFi card, also Ubuntu hated the RTX card, had constant issues.
I'm looking forward to try out WSL 2, but is the OS stable enough for daily driver?
I need docker and some of our docker configs are not working on a windows host, but the laptop have issues with every linux distro I tried because of the not supported WiFi card...


Very useful for me: I'm using it for almost all my testing needs, far faster then virtual servers.


I agree.
I've switched to linux desktop 15 years ago, and now I'm trying this new experience with the new laptop.
It's only one week, but I found it very useful


Apart from the filesystem permissions issue that seems to crop up every other day, it's been working fine for me.

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