don’t bash it until you’ve tried it

I’d heard about the new Bash subsystem in Windows before, and my reaction was the same as when I tweeted about a blog post detailing a step-by-step procedure.

(a reference to “embrace, extend, and extinguish” , in case you don’t already know that.)

I’ll update this post as I follow the blogged process…

So I’d held off actually trying it until today when I was prompted by a tweet from someone I’m following. Not gonna lie; I’m going to post this first because as with any Windows updates, this might be the last time I’m using Windows… but as the headline says, I wanted to give New Microsoft more of a Fair Go (TM) than I’d previously bothered to.

After clicking the Developer mode option, a confirmation dialog appears. I went on to update the system after this.

What one sees after turning on Developer Mode. Updates to come…

As of 11.50pm, August 8th, Singapore time, I’d found out that I was running Windows 10.0.10586, and the latest patch I had was 1511 (the Anniversary patch that was supposed to enable this feature is 1607) so I’m going to restart and pull more updates.

After a couple of restarts, I was informed my computer was already up to date, so I had to pull the Anniversary Update manually. This was a 5.5MB .exe file to get the update into the system. Time check (with 2 restarts and a bit of Olympic swimming in the background): 12.30am, August 9th.

Screenshot from the official update exe file that's a 5.5MB patch. It will bring my system from 10586 to 14393. Huh? What's that got to do with 1607?

I’m not sure where 14393 is from, but I suppose that’s the version that 1607 brings in.

Downloading and verifying the Windows update was actually pretty fast. Let's see what happens next.

Downloading the update. Sure, why don’t you reassure me now that reverting will be easy…







All right… as of 12.55am, we’re done downloading and verifying and at 76% of updating.

It took me till 2.50am, with several false restarts (thanks to Ubuntu being my default choice on Grub, and me stepping away from the screen at the wrong times) to boot into the new Windows 10. Sure enough, running cmd shows I’m on 10.0.14393. By the way, I also decided to turn off all the “Express settings” they suggested before the final boot into Win10. Except SmartScreen.

Use Express options if you want to send lots of data to Microsoft to improve your ink, Cortana, and web browsing experience with better predictions. No, thank you, said I.

I don’t want all of these. Except maybe SmartScreen.

So I am finally at the stage where I can turn on the Linux subsystem… after just about 2.5 hours of updating. Which translates to maybe 1.5-2 hours of “real-time” without distractions and delays.

About to enable the Linux subsystem. Reboot mandatory...

Here we go!

One reboot in, it was done. I just ran cmd, entered “bash”, and the Ubuntu-on-Windows was set up. It took under a minute to download but a few more to extract and install.

It seems to be what it says on the tin so far, Ubuntu on Windows. All in all a slow setup experience but with many distractions on my side. I'll do more testing when the sun comes up.

It did take a few minutes. Then I got bash, ls, vim, and find just as I would have used in Ubuntu! More testing to follow…

Then I was prompted for a Linux username and password. Unfortunately, I lost the short URL where documentation was promised. Looking good so far! According to /etc/apt/sources.list the repos are official ubuntu archives (at trusty for the time being). But I’ll stop here.

I’ll have a follow up post tomorrow where I poke around with other stuff, like where the filesystems sit (default $HOME is /mnt/c/Users/Username) , and if other Linux-isms can work.

I suppose I’m helping with the embrace stage of Microsoft’s strategy, if they still secretly plan to do that, but it’s really such a relief to be able to use bash-isms on Windows as well, since I have to use Windows for some work activities and would not mind being a little more productive then.

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