Microsoft is introducing the native Linux App GUI support and GPU Acceleration in the Windows subsystem for Linux (WSL).
Earlier Microsoft released the Windows subsystem for Linux aka WSL which consists of a command-line version of Linux shell. Not only that, a stripped-down version of Ubuntu 18.04 and Ubuntu 20.04 and other selected Linux distributions also available in Microsoft Store for download. Although you wouldn’t get the GUI desktop environment like GNOME with these, all you get is a capable terminal shell run shell commands and other minimal commands.
With this new announcement in the Build 2020 conference, the next version of WSL which scheduled to be released later this month would consist of a full Linux kernel. And they are also introducing features to run Linux GUI apps alongside with Windows apps. Not only that, Microsoft also bringing GPU application support and GPU acceleration as well under WSL. This would create the future roadmap for WSL where one day, you never know, you would be able to run full GNOME desktop without any performance sacrifice under Windows.
Now the need for running Linux apps or even Linux in windows is in question. If we want to run Linux, we should install Linux alongside Windows as dual boot. But it seems Microsoft is trying to catch those developers who want to run some Linux apps while staying in or locked into windows platform and keep paying upgrade fees. It’s just the same old “Embrace, Extend and Extinguish” all over again and this time with Linux.
At the end of the day, it is a business strategy for Microsoft and only the future will tell us where this would go eventually.
Via Build 2020, DirectX blogs