New GPU and GUI features announced for WSL at Build

haydenb

on 19 May 2020

Microsoft Build, Microsoft’s annual developer conference, is taking place virtually May 19-20. Ubuntu will be featured throughout the event, in announcements of new WSL features, demos of cloud-native development on Microsoft Azure, and by presenters using Ubuntu desktop with native Microsoft applications like Teams, Code, and Edge:

GPU and GUI application support

In an address by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella the company announced new features coming to WSL 2. WSL 2 is the latest version of Windows Subsystem for Linux powered by a real Linux kernel in a lightweight virtual machine. These new features will unlock powerful workflows for users of Ubuntu on WSL:

  • Nvidia CUDA and DirectML support for GPU accelerated applications and development tools, such as Kubeflow on microk8s.
  • Linux GUI application support enabling native and cross-platform development with tools such as GNOME Builder, KDevelop, and Emacs.

From the DirectX Developer Blog:

WSL 2 is currently available in Windows Insiders builds. WSL 2 will be generally available in Windows 10 version 2004, which is anticipated in the next few weeks. GPU support is expected to be available in Windows Insiders builds in a few months. A timeline for Linux GUI application support is expected later this year.

microk8s and LXD on WSL 2

A Kubernetes development environment is available today on Ubuntu on WSL 2 using microk8s. A presentation from Canonical on using microk8s on WSL 2 will go live on May 22. You can sign up to be notified or subscribe to Celebrate Ubuntu on YouTube.

Ubuntu on WSL 2 can also power LXD-based container workflows on Windows. Here is a tutorial from WSLConf on using LXD on WSL 2.

LXD 4.0 recently introduced VM support which can be used after Microsoft lands nested virtualization support in WSL 2 later this year.

See all of the videos from WSLConf on our YouTube Channel.

Additional new features

Additional features coming to WSL announced by Microsoft at Build 2020 include:

  • An easier way to install WSL on any version of Windows using wsl.exe –install and later the ability to specify a specific distribution and version, such as Ubuntu 20.04.
  • WSL 2 will now become the default when installing WSL for the first time.

Learn more about Ubuntu on WSL 2

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