Nobody expected that Linux on Windows will be a reality! Through Anniversary Update of Windows 10, Microsoft offered full-fledged Ubuntu-based Bash shell as a gift. To make this possible, Microsoft added a new feature called “Windows Subsystem for Linux”. Now Windows developers can write shell scripting!
It is like a dream becoming true. Microsoft worked with UK-based Canonical (the company that produces Ubuntu) to bring Ubuntu Linux into Windows. But currently, this will be limited to a CLI that means from bash shell user cannot run any GUI based applications.
No doubt that Windows developers using Linux without virtualization or emulation (Cygwin) will open a new era of opportunities going ahead. Before taking you to Bash installation steps, it is worthwhile to go through the history of the bash shell.
Brief history of Unix Shells
The first-ever Unix shell, called Bourne shell (sh), was developed by Steven R Bourne in 1974. Bourne shell introduced $ symbol as default common prompt and remained as a standard for Unix shells. Bill Joy developed C shell (based on C language) at the University of California in the late 1970s. Later David G Korn improved Bourne shell and created Korn shell (ksh) in the early 1980s.
In the late 1980’s POSIX formed to standardize Unix libraries, utilities including the shell. As a result, the development of Bash begun considering the best of the existing shells. It included the conveniences of command-line users and shell programming features alike. In no time bash became default shell on Unix like systems including Linux distributions.
Now Microsoft included Windows 10 leasing Bash shell as a beta version including the core functionalities – awk, sed, grep, PERL, Git, editors (vi, emacs), ssh, apt-get, mounting local hard drives, etc. to name a few.
Requirements to install bash shell on Windows OS
- PC running on a 64-bit Windows 10 operating system.
- PC is upgraded to Windows 10 Anniversary Update.
Steps involved in installing Bash shell on Windows 10 PC
The installation steps covered here are for Windows 10 with Anniversary Update and not Fall Creators Update.
1. Access Windows system settings.
On the left, click on For developers and enable Developer mode. Click Yes on the message box.
3. Now access Control Panel and click on Programs.
4. Click on Turn Windows features on or off.
5. This will list many Windows features available. Go down and check the Windows Subsystem for Linux (Beta) option.
6. Click OK. Now Windows download and install the required software. After installation is done, click on Restart now.
7. After your computer gets restarted, search for bash and run it.
8. On the command prompt, you see information about bash indicating that bash is still beta software. Type y and press Enter key to follow the rest of the installation. Have a cup of coffee. By the time Windows is done with downloading and installation.
9. After the downloading and installation is complete, you need to create a Unix user account by specifying username and password.
10. That’s all. Now bash is ready on Windows! You can now access bash shell and give a try to use it.
11. Next time when you want to start Bash it is available in search!
The Bash within Windows allows user to access Windows file system too. Remember that Bash is armed with not only end-less day-to-day utilities and tools (apt, ssh, rsync, curl, find, grep, awk, wget…) but has the ability to run server apps too (web servers like Apache, database mysql). It is a full-fledged Ubuntu Linux environment available on Windows platform!
The one important thing that a Windows user should know is that- everything in Linux is case sensitive. That means while using commands and referring files and directories etc. use them accurately with the right case. One thing is sure; the availability of CLI version of Linux to Windows user will open new windows of opportunities. Great days are ahead. Do share your experiences on using Bash on Windows.