I have recently been using the Windows Subsystem for Linux on my Windows 10 laptop at work, with Ubuntu running as the distribution in the subsystem.
I recently had a need to use a graphical (X11) program running on a remote Linux VM. I was able to successfully run the program remotely, with the display on my local laptop by doing the following:
- Install the Xming X11 server on Windows
- Open a WSL Ubuntu shell (bash) and run
ssh -X email@example.com
- on the remote host, run
I’ll say, the display of the program popped up *immediately* and was very performant throughout my use of it. I was quite impressed. (I have done this same kind of thing before with Xming + Putty + X11Forwarding, and the performance was never so bad to be unusable, but it was never all that impressive, either. This felt like I was running the program locally! Granted, the remote VM was running on hardware running in the same building in which I am working, but the performance was impressive nonetheless compared to a variety of other solutions I have used in the past, including “native” XWindows on a local Linux system with SSH X11Forwarding.)
In order to make this available to me in future sessions of my local WSL Ubuntu, I added
export DISPLAY=localhost:0 to my local ~/.bashrc
This allows you to run other X programs from within the local WSL as well! For instance, I installed some basic programs in my WSL Ubuntu instance with
sudo apt install x11-apps and then I could run
xeyesand get the output on my monitors.