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The Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) is a type of resource within the Windows operating system that allows users to run Linux command lines on a computer with a Windows operating system installed. This enables developers and others to work “natively” in a Linux environment when languages like Ruby or Python are more conveniently utilized through the Linux interface.
The Windows Subsystem for Linux uses an application called Bash.exe – this opens a Linux dialog box inside of the Windows operating system interface. One easy way to think of this is as a “shell” application that opens up within Windows, or alternately, as a dual operating system interface that acts as a “window within a window.” This type of internal OS interface system emerged early in the Windows era when Windows systems would allow users to get into a DOS command line system with a similar internal application. This made users more familiar with the idea of running a different operating system interface inside Windows.
Users can utilize the Windows Subsystem for Linux to access file systems with Linux or get better access to specific language libraries, but cannot run some Linux apps in the Windows Subsystem. System requirements also apply, and users can get more information directly from Microsoft.