One user has achieved what many hoped for: run the Ubuntu desktop on Windows 10.
And what is the novelty? You may wonder. That is something that we can already do for years, with the help of virtual machines like Virtualbox. Except that it is not the same, and to explain it we have to see where this project comes from.
Microsoft surprised people and strangers last March when it announced the arrival of Ubuntu to Windows 10, thanks to a collaboration with its creators, Canonical. Of course, the initial result of this collaboration is not for everyone, but is aimed at programmers, administrators and expert users who are not afraid of the terminal.
Ubuntu and Windows, a strange couple
That’s because what they had actually implemented was bash, a terminal program with access to the Ubuntu code. It is not an emulation, it is not a virtual machine, it is the same Ubuntu code running on Windows, although only accessible by a terminal.
In this way, Ubuntu hit unstable versions of Windows in April, and Since then you can try it if you dare to sign up for Windows InsiderMicrosoft’s beta program, however, making most of Ubuntu available there opened the door that we could use more than just a terminal. Will the day come when we can use the full Ubuntu desktop?
How to get the Ubuntu desktop in Windows 10
Well, thanks to the user Guerra24 on Github, the day has come sooner than we thought, since has managed to run Ubuntu Unity desktop on Windows 10; with some problems and a few tricks, but he has succeeded, which is the important thing.
Since running Ubuntu applications is easy, the hard part has been getting a graphic server to run the compiz window manager, and everything should fit from there. Therefore, Guerra24 focused on run the graphics serverVcXsrv and use XLaunch to configure it.
From there, the key was to take advantage of the compiz window manager to get the Unity environment, and for this I configured the CSSM (CompizConfig Settings Manager) to force loading the compiz plugin for Unity. Then it only remains to run compiz from the terminal, and the Ubuntu desktop will appear.
This is a somewhat limited desk, be careful. We can only start the applications that are found by default in the Unity panel (the file explorer, Firefox, the Ubuntu software center, and the system configuration), and we cannot open a terminal, for this we have to cheat the system by loading gnome-terminal in another bash terminal in Windows. Also, we cannot log out either, the only way to exit is by closing the bash terminal or killing the compiz process.
Despite these drawbacks, it is an interesting achievement; Furthermore, not only does Unity work, but it has also shown that it is possible to achieve the same with another desktop environment, such as xfce.
This shows that this collaboration is more than just a terminal for Windows, and that the entire Ubuntu base is actually there. Now the question is, When can we do the same officially, Microsoft and Canonical?