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New Windows 10 test construct provides first preview of Linux GUI apps on WSL

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Credit: Micrsosoft

On April 21, Microsoft launched a new Windows 10 test construct, 21364, to the Dev Channel. This construct includes a few new noteworthy features including the ability to run Linux graphical user interface (GUI) apps on Windows using the Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 (WSL2).

Microsoft is making its first preview of support for Linux GUI applications, including editors and tools, for those who want to develop, test, construct, and run their apps. Microsoft officials said at Build 2020 last spring that it meant to bring Linux GUI apps to Windows. (It’s calling this feature WSLg.)

Up until now, WSL has focused on allowing users to enable command-line tools, utilities, and apps, but not GUI apps. WSLg will let users run various Linux IDEs on their Windows machines, including gedit, JetBrains-based editors, gvim, and more, officials said. Users also can use WSLg to run any GUI app that might exist only in Linux or o test GUI apps in a Linux environment.

Linux GUI apps on WSL will include out-of-the-box audio and mic support. And users will be able to leverage WSL’s GPU entry to run Linux apps with accelerated 3D graphics. More information on WSLg is in this separate Microsoft blog post.

Today’s Dev Channel construct also includes support for Microsoft Edge process classification in Task Manager, a feature designed to help users determine out their resource consumption in Edge. Among the categories that will be tracked are Tabs, browser processes (Browser, GPU Process, Crashpad), utility plug-ins, Dedicated and Service Workers, and more. This particular feature is available only to Insiders operating the latest Edge Canary or Dev builds and will be rolling out in a staggered way, starting with a subset of Insiders in the Dev Channel.

Microsoft also is testing a new experimental feature in Task Manager called “Eco Mode,” which is designed to help users throttle process sources. This is meant to help users limit the consumption of sources in sure apps to give priority to other apps. This feature also is rolling out in a staggered way, starting with a subset of Insiders in the Dev Channel.

There are a number of other changes and fixes in Build 21364, which Microsoft lists in its blog post, as well as several known issues.

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