Ubuntu – Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL): what can’t I do with the Ubuntu application for Microsoft Windows


As most of you know, in the Microsoft Store, there are three versions of Ubuntu. This means that on Windows I can emulate Ubuntu and have the Ubuntu command line directly on Windows.

The question is very easy: what can’t I do from the Ubuntu command line emulated in Windows that I can do on a proper Linux-based Ubuntu? Is it useful to download this Ubuntu application, install it, and work just with it instead of the real OS? Is it possible to install all the development libraries? Can I write (or not) device drivers? In other words: what are the limits?

What features of Ubuntu Linux-based are missing from Ubuntu-on-Windows?

New answers are welcome: I know that every software is always changing by improving characteristics and features!

Best Answer

The Ubuntu that runs under Windows 10 Subsystem for Linux is not a full distro. In fact, it's not Linux at all -- it has no Linux kernel. So you can't test or try kernel extensions, including drivers, because you're not running Linux.

If you want to do stuff like that, either install Ubuntu in a VM -- Win10 includes Hyper-V, but personally, I prefer VirtualBox, which is free -- or dual-boot your machine with Ubuntu running on the bare metal. You will almost certainly find the latter faster than running Windows -- I do on all my machines. Partly this is because you need antivirus protection when running Windows, which saps performance, especially disk performance. And because you need it, Win10 includes built-in antivirus.

With Linux, you do not need any, so there is less performance impact.