At its annual BUILD conference which started yesterday, Microsoft announced that after the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, developers will be able to install and run command line tools and native user-mode Linux shells in Windows using the Bash shell.

Microsoft partnered with Canonical (the developer behind arguably one of the largest Linux distribtions, Ubuntu) to bring the functionality to Windows.

For the longest time, developers using Windows have had to either install a workaround program such as Cygwin, or install a Linux virtual machine and then remotely access it in order to run their commands.

In the past, developers found alternatives or simply just switched over to Linux completely, but for somebody like a student who has limited resources, a native Bash shell baked into Windows 10 is a convenience we can’t ignore.

A blog post by Microsoft employee Scott Hanselman explained that this new tool did not involve Linux servers or server workloads. “This is a developer-focused release that removes a major barrier for developers who want or need to use Linux tools as part of their workflow,” he explained.

There is a catch however: you will need to switch on Developer Mode in Windows 10, though if you are a developer chances are good you have this mode switched on already.

Once that is done you will have to download Ubuntu on Windows from Canonical through the Windows store, and then you can start.

For those interested in seeing the Windows 10 Bash shell in action, check out the video below in which Microsoft senior program managers Rich Turner and Russ Alexander explain why the Bash shell was added and demonstrate its functionality.

And in case you’re wondering, Microsoft said the Anniversary Update will roll out to all Windows 10 PCs “this summer”, which is of course during South Africa’s winter. Only a few months to go, then.

[Source – Microsoft]