Windows Subsystem for Linux Makes Computing Fun Again

Maybe I am a bit unusual for preferring the console and maybe I am a bit jaded from decades with Windows, but I think that almost anyone could be more productive by reducing their mousing and typing with a little knowledge of keyboard shortcuts and how to invoke commands from a shell.

When I was a kid, computing was just a hobby, something I did because I enjoyed working on puzzles, even if I can never solve all of them. After college, computing became a career, and eventually, something I did primarily for money, though I have always enjoyed my work. Especially as I started out with consoles and Unix variants, over time, various changes in Windows have become increasingly frustrating. At the same time and knowing how strange this sounds for someone who prefers Unix, I use Windows-only applications including Visual Studio and Microsoft Office.

Honestly, after a few months using them, I want Windows Terminal with WSL (Windows Subsystem for Linux) to be the main Windows user interface (possibly a new kind of tab in the Edge browser, or with URL tab type in Windows Terminal?), as I rarely use the taskbar, desktop, recycle bin, or other features of Windows. An operating system exists to run applications.

With the advent of Windows Terminal and especially WSL, I am remembering what I enjoyed about computing, I am more productive, and I have greater control over my environment. In addition to exploring various shell scripting and Windows integration complexities, I managed to learn enough about the rust programming language and implement a tool that makes it much easier for me to use Windows and Windows applications. For certain needs, including common things like text processing, it is incredibly useful to have access to Unix scripting. I hope to never write another Windows command file (.bat/.cmd). Using Windows with WSL helps in transitioning to Linux and could be useful if Microsoft (hopefully) migrates Windows from its kernel to the Linux kernel or if someone can manage to get Visual Studio and Office to run well on Linux.

If you use Windows, I highly recommend taking the time to review the following at minimum, as well as additional resources about WSL and shell scripting including other posts on this blog.

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