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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  • alumine - Wednesday, May 8, 2019 - link

    1. Unix =/= Linux. Posix compliance is another matter.
    2. Then why would you need to change this?
    3. So you would call a less than 1.5% marketshare in the desktop space successful? Compared to a 76.17% marketshare?
    4. Correct - other stuff e.g. services, Office, other products. But would you dump a revenue income AND alienate your current large userbase using a, let's admit this, less than perfect emulation compared to the real thing?
    5. Sorry I think someone else did - and for some reason I thought it was yours.
  • Korguz - Wednesday, May 8, 2019 - link

    playing games made for windows on an emulator ( wine ) vs playing them in windows where they were programmed for ? no thanks.... wine does work.. but its not 100% its like trying to play some old dos based games on DOSbox for example.. some work just fine.,.. others.. you need to tweak them and find user found fixes to get them to work...
  • PeachNCream - Wednesday, May 8, 2019 - link

    True, WINE is a pain in the backside. I use it quite regularly and when something works out of the box without fooling around with obscure configuration changes and otherwise unnecessary tweaks, it's time to break out the party gear since that's such a rare thing. I'm not saying WINE is ready for prime time, but if Microsoft throws some weight behind some of those bits and pieces like WINE that are already in place, there might be enough momentum to get the company over the hump of a major change at the kernel level until software catches up. It's not like there haven't been issues like this before (9x to NT was one of those humps that had to be overcome though I will absolutely concede that is a lesser degree of change).
  • jimbo2779 - Thursday, May 9, 2019 - link

    If MS made a linus based OS it would be very trivial for competitors to almost perfectly emulate everything make MS irrelevant in the OS space in a very short space of time.

    There are a number of very significant reasons why they would be incredibly foolish to go that route.
  • PeachNCream - Thursday, May 9, 2019 - link

    Why? They can keep their source closed. Linux doesn't automatically entail open source.
  • Near - Saturday, May 25, 2019 - link

    1. Linux is a clone of Unix.
    2. It cost money to patch and maintain the NT kernel, for little money in return. Unless you think the next version of Windows will cost money?
    3. 76.76% and decreasing. Global stats have Android (Linux) neck and neck with windows. Developers have been switching too Mac and Linux for the past few years. 2018 was the year that Windows developers where around 49% of the developers. This year they make up 47% of developers according to Stackoverflow survey.
    4. Microsoft could slowly switch the NT kernel for a Linux Kernel overtime. A good amount Office 365, SQL, etc of that software is also already running on a *nix kernel (Android, iOS, and Mac). The future is cloud software which Linux is the main supported OS.
    5. Security is relative to the software. The more people that use it the higher the vector for targeted malware. However, Linux has a number of companies and communities patching and submitting changes.

    Microsoft isn't making as much money off their Windows OS like they use to. They have switched to providing Cloud and AI services for their primary revenue.
  • baka_toroi - Tuesday, May 7, 2019 - link

    I'm gonna find out who you are and punch you in the nose if Windows becomes Linux.
  • mooninite - Tuesday, May 7, 2019 - link

    Why on earth would it be a bad thing? You hate change? If such a thing even occurred you would probably not even see anything change.
  • baka_toroi - Tuesday, May 7, 2019 - link

    I would notice. I can smell Linux's shittyness from a 10 miles distance. Everything running over Linux runs worse than on Windows. The only thing Linux does better is procuring a horde of apologists claiming it's the enduser's fault when something breaks or that my use scenario is not what I really want.

    I hate change when it's for the worse which is exactly what Linux provides: a worse experience overall.

    Cue the retards claiming it's better for servers or supercomputers, as if I give a shit about it.
  • PeachNCream - Tuesday, May 7, 2019 - link

    Yup, we've found a live one here. I'm not interested in preaching about operating systems. As you're proving, they can be a bit of a religion which incites the usual hormone-fueled crusade emotions. I do think Linux has a few niches where it works out quite well, but its not for everyone (unless you've got an Android in your pocket which is another debate entirely, heh). However, if any single company can put the Linux kernel to good use and dress it up so that the end user can just click their icons, play video games, and veg out on Facebook, Microsoft would be it - at least in the PC space. We all know what happened to Windows on phones.

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