Windows Terminal

The other major announcement today for the command line on Windows is a new Windows Terminal app, which brings some much-needed attention to the basic command line shells in Windows. Windows Terminal will be delivered via the Windows Store and offers a bevy of features that should make any command line guru excited, even if you never use Linux, although it does tie in nicely to the WSL. Terminal will offer tab support, allowing you to have multiple different shells open at the same time, including Powershell, command line, SSH, and more. You can just launch a new shell and pick when you hit the plus sign for a new tab. It also supports tab ripping, so you can move one tab to a new session or different session if you’d like

Terminal also brings with it GPU accelerated DirectWrite based text rendering, which allows for additional characters to be supported as well as symbols, which means yes, emoji are now supported in the command line. Although this may sound like something no one needs, Microsoft showed a simple test suite which leverages emoji for pass, partial, and fail, and I have to admit that is a smart use for symbols, offering instant color-based recognition for the various results.

Microsoft has also developed a new font just for Terminal which is open-sourced. It’s designed as a monospaced font for programming, so it’ll be nice it develop over time.

Windows Terminal will also allow for theming, as well as extension support, and it’s an open-source project so you can download it yourself right now and compile it if you want to get in early. For those that aren’t interested in compiling it themselves, the team hopes to have it available by summer 2019 through the Windows Store for preview, and winter 2019 as a launch target for Terminal 1.0.

Terminal will allow users to create profiles for each shell if they’d like to, allowing them to customize the experience depending on what tool they are leveraging. You can change the theme, font, blur, transparency, and more, making each shell unique so you know exactly what shell you are in at any time.

As someone who uses the Windows command line quite a bit, Windows Terminal looks like a breath of fresh air, and catapults the command line years ahead of where it is now. Microsoft has updated it with some nice features over the last couple of releases, such as resizable windows, easier copy and paste, and more, but they were running into issues where additional changes may break existing scripts, so rather than continue down that path, they’ve started fresh. The existing console will still be available for backwards compatibility.

If you are a developer, a system admin, or just someone who wants to tinker with Linux or various shells, today’s announcements are very exciting. It’ll be fun to give these changes a spin when released.

Source: Microsoft Blog

Windows Subsystem for Linux
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  • Lord of the Bored - Wednesday, May 8, 2019 - link

    I certainly hope they don't. We have too few choices of operating system already. Everything is a Unix derivative or Windows. I'm actually hoping the great Linux monolith shatters and some portion of that market goes in other directions(it is probably too much to hope that they eschew copying Unix entirely). Reply
  • bigvlada - Thursday, May 9, 2019 - link

    Windows won't be assimilated into Linux community. In worst case scenario for Microsoft, it goes open source and acts similar to ReactOS. Reply
  • peevee - Thursday, May 9, 2019 - link

    "into a Linux-based operating system in much the same way Apple and Google do."

    Yeah, because Linux has been such a success on desktop and laptop. NOT AT ALL.
    And Apple does not use Linux, and Google uses only very modified kernel under layers and layers of very non-Linux stuff.
    Reply
  • bigjeff5 - Thursday, May 9, 2019 - link

    The major problem with this is backwards compatibility. This the primary reason MS dominates the desktop market. You can expect old programs to continue to run in new versions. Programs written 20 years ago still run in Windows 10 (we actually use one like this). That's no the case with e.g. Mac OS. Linux is better about this, but even many Linux distros don't particularly care about backwards compatibility.

    If MS switches to Linux wholesale like that, 90% of old programs (hell, EXISTING programs) will break. Then why would anybody choose MS? The day MS goes full Linux is the day MS stops being relevant in the desktop space.

    Integrating Linux into Windows, on the other hand, makes them MORE relevant in the PC and server market. Anybody who must use Windows and Linux on a regular basis will be inclined to think "why do I need a separate Linux OS? I can just do it all in Windows now." Doubly so if they can make firing up a Linux session quick and convenient.

    Frankly, assuming they can get performance high enough (which they are clearly focusing on), it even makes efforts like WINE almost irrelevant by solving the problem from the other direction.

    This and MS's efforts to get native compatibility with ARM based processors are real steps to ensuring Windows will remain the dominant platform for the foreseeable future.
    Reply
  • CraigInAustin - Tuesday, May 7, 2019 - link

    This IS pretty much a good thing for humans, and I mean all of us. The theoretical upside to market driven capitalism and pure socialist GPL licensing has been at an impasse for too long and an impediment to the future internet of things which is at the heart of limitless potential. Personally, I am going to participate in bridging this divide in a big way. Reply
  • domboy - Tuesday, May 7, 2019 - link

    I kind of like how the current WSL works in that it's not a full-blown VM, so I'll be interested to see how this change affects how WSL functions and how linux processes run (wonder if they'll still be visible on the windows side aka task manager). But as long as I can still setup an a WSL instance to start at system boot I'll be ok. Reply
  • Os2 - Tuesday, May 7, 2019 - link

    Windows phone is what this is. A little late wouldnt you say Nelly ? Micrograft is a joke. They going the way of IBM and General Electric. I think you should spend more on marketing. Maybe give Nelly a couple of bonuses since hes such a genius! This must be his idea. Reply
  • baka_toroi - Tuesday, May 7, 2019 - link

    >I think you should spend more on marketing.
    I don't think there's a corporation with a worse marketing department than MS.
    Reply
  • Speedfriend - Wednesday, May 8, 2019 - link

    Aah, yes poor Microsoft, nearly bankrupt, nearly gone - if it wasn't for that pesky trillion dollar market cap.... Reply
  • 1_rick - Tuesday, May 7, 2019 - link

    Oddly enough, you have been able to run X applications under Windows since the WSL came out (or maybe since Ubuntu was released for it, I can't remember which, exactly.) Use apt to install an X server and then get Xming. Hardware acceleration I could never get working but if you could live without, you could run a browser, Xemacs, even xscreensaver (although nobody tell JWZ.) Reply

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