Do we have a lot of Lobsters on Windows? I keep debating doing a “Windows is Not Unix” guide for people who are moving to Windows + WSL2, but I keep convincing myself there’s no interest. The fact this is so high on the front page makes me wonder if I’m wrong.
I use a Surface Book pretty regularly and run WSL2 on it. Although I also have a Linux desktop and a work-issued Macbook Pro.
I use Windows at work.
I switched full-time to Windows about a year ago. I avoid WSL as much as possible, even going so far as to send PRs to open source projects that assume a Linux environment. I actually find it quite rewarding!
I do that but for BSD instead of Windows ;)
I’m interested. I use Linux as my primary desktop computing environment, but some things I do some of the time (e.g. building games for Unity) go better on Windows. And every time I try to adopt Windows for a few days, I’m a bit stymied. I feel like so many people use this, there must be something wrong with my workflow that’s making it feel so wrong to me.
This article is helpful and kind of sniffs around the edges. But I’d really be interested to learn more about what a really “Windows Native” workflow looks like and what people who use that all the time consider appealing about it. So if you post it, I hope it gets some attention here. Because even if I won’t ever be a “Windows person” I think I’m making myself suffer needlessly when I do use it, and I’d like to be educated about how to be more effective on it.
For what it’s worth, I think your experience is very common (which is why ‘Windows’ gets followed immediately by ‘WSL’.)
As far as I can tell - and for no good reason - Linux users have a good command line and tend to use it, and Windows developers end up with a good IDE and tend to use it, and in both cases the thing not being used is neglected. So switching platforms is really about switching cultures and embracing a very different workflow. People going in both directions see the new platform as “inferior” because they’re judging the quality of tools used to implement their previous workflow.
As someone who really loves the command line, Windows has often felt like it required me to “suffer needlessly.” Personally I ended up writing my own command processor to incorporate a few things that the Linux command line environment “got right” and it ended up being extended with many interactive things. I haven’t felt like I’m suffering or missing out by using Windows after that, although clearly there’s a personal bias since those tools are designed for my workflow. If you don’t like mine, then it pays to learn Powershell, which is also a big cultural adjustment since the basic idioms are very different to textual Posix shells.
To me the most “appealing” part of being a Windows developer is WinDbg, which also has a steep learning curve but it’s far better than anything I’ve used on Linux and is much more capable than Visual Studio for systems level debugging. It’s one of those “best kept secret” type things that’s easy to get - once you know it exists and that it makes serious development much easier.
I use Windows at work (though work is Microsoft Research, so that’s not very surprising). I use WSL1 and a FreeBSD VM. I don’t think WSL2 yet has the nice PTY and pipe integration in WSL1. With WSL, I can run cmd.exe in a *NIX shell (including something like Konsole in VcXsrv) and it works. More usefully, I can run the Visual Studio Command Prompt batch file to get a Windows build environment from my WSL environment. If a Windows program creates a named pipe in the WSL-owned part of the filesystem namespace, it is a Linux named pipe.
I reluctantly use Windows, but I try to avoid it. There’s rarely anything I want to use that is only available on Windows with no viable alternative. Still, there are times I have to use it. I haven’t bothered with WSL2 but I would still read something like this if it existed.
My work/play machine at home is Windows. Always has been. (Because games, obviously, and I don’t like dual boot.)
I detest working on Windows though and WSL hasn’t improved anything for me yet, that’s why I still do most of my work via PuTTY on a linux box if possible. (work means any ops/programming work I do in my free time).
Work machine is Linux and I’m actually glad I couldn’t work on Windows so no one can push me :P
I’ve recently committed Linux apostasy :) partly on account of WSL2, and I’d definitely be interested in that. I haven’t used Windows, except to run putty to log in to a remote server, in a very, very long time (in fact, save for a brief period between 2011 and 2012, when I worked on a cross-platform tool, I haven’t really used it in 15+ years, the last version I used regularly was Windows 2000). I’m slowly discovering what’s changed since then but 15 years is a lot of time…
I’m on Windows and routinely browse lobsters by looking at the ‘windows’ tag.
That said, I really don’t understand the point of moving to Windows to then run WSL2. Using WSL2 is using a Linux VM, and for the most part, the issues there are not about Windows. If you want a Linux VM, you can run one on any platform…
Well, it’s a damn convenient VM :). I’ve tried it as an experiment for a month or so – I’m now on an “extended trial” of sorts, I guess, for 6 months (backups over the network, all Linux-readable – if I ever want to go back I just have to install Linux again). I use it for two reasons:
I don’t use it too much – in the last two weeks I don’t think it’s seen six hours of use. I fire it up to read some mailing lists (haven’t yet found anything that handles those as well as mutt – even Pegasus Mail isn’t as cool as I remember it…), and I fiddle with one project inside it, mostly because it’s all new to me, and I want to work on it in a familiar environment (learning two things at a time never goes well).
I still haven’t made up my mind on keeping it, we’ll see about that in six months, but I’m pretty sure I’d have never even considered the experiment without WSL2.
My monitor + video card setup is aimed at gaming and is almost entirely unusable on Linux period. I’m looking at replacing the graphics card in the future, but until that happens, Windows is the only tolerable OS.
I like to play video games, which almost always means “you need windows”.
I used to dual boot Debian but nowadays I tend to just ssh into a cloudish instance thing that I use as a kind of remote workstation. That combined with vscode’s wonderful remote support means outside of work most of my personal-hacking-stuff still takes place through the window of… well, windows.
I find the Windows Terminal pretty unusable because of the bug where it doesn’t support scroll events with trackpads; I have a Surface Book, so my “mouse” is just the built in trackpad. Sadly it’s tagged as the lowest possible priority to fix (as well as “Help Wanted,” which I assume means they hope an open source contributor will fix it instead of assigning a full-time MS employee), so I don’t have high hopes of being able to use the Windows Terminal any time soon.
Seems nice for desktop users though; it’s quite fast.
Windows + WSL2 has become my preferred setup these days. Nearby Thinkpad running Arch is a close second; work-issued MacBook Pro sits idle.