Ubuntu – What’s the easiest way to run GUI apps on Windows Subsystem for Linux as of 2018


I searched around, and currently there are two methods suggested; installing an enhancement for Windows Subsystem for Linux and installing an XServer.

I want to know which method is the most hassle-free (easy to install AND to use), and which one is less memory-heavy.

I just want Synaptic and CMake. Why couldn't that be a builtin feature?

Best Answer

  • The short answer is you can not as WSL does not yet support this function. WSL is not a full Linux installation with a Linux kernel, it allows you to run some native linux commands / binaries on a Windows (Microsoft) kernel and has limitations.

    See https://github.com/Microsoft/WSL/issues/2356

    You can, however, install a 3rd party X server, such as xming, and ssh into your WSL.


    I did not copy that tutorial here as it is fairly ubiquitous (X over ssh) and I would expect some apps simply will not work even with this technique.