Linux via Windows Week 1

I am a casual Linux user. It’s been my daily driver. I use it on a couple of home servers, and I love the community behind the operating system, but I’ve never gotten past the point where I don’t feel like a novice. I see how much I have to learn and that list never seems to get any shorter.

The good folks over at JupiterBroadcasting have remarked over the course of several episodes that people might never switch to Linux on bare hardware since Windows enables Linux through a few different avenues.

Also shows on the network have been highlighting the try-Linux challenges inspired by Jason Evangelho of Forbes. So I decided to do a bit of a reverse challenge. Instead of going Linux I’ve gone Windows.  To be specific I’ve installed Linux in Windows enabled by the WSL and also a Hyper-V instance using the standard install.  I reported some of this change earlier when I nuked my KDE Neon desktop in favor of a fresh Windows 10 install.

I’ve installed Ubuntu using the WSL and have a desktop instance using Hyper-V. Both of those installs are much easier now than when Microsoft first released the features. Here are some of the things I’ve done and my observations:

  • BOTH Ubuntus:
    • Setting Fish as the default terminal application was easy and the same commands work in both places
  • WSL
    • The home directory is buried. This means files downloaded via youtube-dl are buried deep in the folder structure of Windows and it takes a bit of searching to find them to add them and then bookmark the folder for future reference.
    • I can SSH into my home servers no issue but netdiscover, nmap, and other apps that rely heavily on the network stack just aren’t available. This really has me wondering what Kali is like if the networking tools of that distro don’t have access to what they need.
  • Hyper-V’s
    • The graphics aren’t smooth. Ubuntu’s ability to draw the windows isn’t bad, but it’s not good either. The elegant animations of Ubuntu works a bit clunky, but that’s to be expected of a VM.
    • I can SSH into my home servers but Hyper-V doesn’t have an easy way to bridge the network adapter making netdiscover useless
    • Running a VM on a laptop adds a lot of inefficiencies and reduces battery life–but I don’t know by how much yet.
  • Additional insights
    • Not a cohesive instance. To be totally clear, I understand why this is the way it is, but from a user standpoint not having a cohesive instance between the user’s Linux’s might just push them to have a cohesive instance and install on bear metal

I’m not going say at this point that a casual Ubuntu user like myself can stay in this paradigm. What I can share is that it’s week 1. What’s I’ve noticed so far is that I have an additional cost of maintenance by having two systems I have to update instead of one. I can’t use netdiscover which is rather sad.  It’s an app I’ve come to rely on to help troubleshoot the home network.

There might be more rough edges in this and time will tell if it becomes enough of a deal breaker to get me to partition the drive and just have 2 OSs on the machine (I need Windows for work).

So, my conclusion is still pending. Sometimes you’ve got to live in an environment for a while to figure out how to work around it’s quirks. I’ll give it a few more weeks, but here’s my journal entry from week 1.  What would you have done differently?