Microsoft releases graphics processor support to Linux on Windows 10 through its Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL)
The year 2020 has been great as well as though, for Microsoft. The company has launched its major update for Windows 10 last month with major changes and exciting features. However, the update had multiple bugs after the launch but now has been quite stable. Two weeks earlier, we saw Microsoft also announced its first Android Smartphone named as Surface Duo. Well, now the company has released a major update that adds graphics processor support to Linux on Windows 10 through its Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL).
Windows 10 build 20150, which is now available for users in the Dev channel, further improves the Windows Subsystem for Linux support and adds new capabilities for testing. First and foremost, it’s the GPU compute support for WSL 2, and today’s new build comes with support for NVIDIA CUDA.
To use this update you need WSL 2 distro installed, and run the most recent Linux kernel. GPU drivers are also required to enable GPU computer support. By adding GPU support to WSL, Microsoft aims to bring the performance of applications running in WSL 2 closer to those running on Windows.
Additionally, this will also support DirectML, which will empower students and beginners to use hardware accelerated training on the breadth of Windows hardware, across AMD, Intel, and NVIDIA GPUs.
For installing the Windows Subsystem for Linux it is only possible from a dedicated Windows 10 screen that allows users to enable and disable OS features. Microsoft announces a new command to install the Windows Subsystem for Linux in Windows 10, the command: wsl.exe –install
Microsoft is working to further enhance this command and enable the installation of Linux distros, thus making the process even more straightforward. For now, the command enables WSL in Windows 10 and then prompts you to reboot the system.
You’ll only see this option on machines that do not have the ‘Windows Subsystem for Linux’ optional component enabled. In this initial release, this command will enable the Windows Subsystem for Linux optional component, as well as the Virtual Machine Platform optional component, and prompt you to restart your machine. In the future we plan to add support to automatically install WSL distros using this command as well.
GPU support for WSL is now available in the Dev Channel preview of Windows 10 build 20150. The 20150 update adds support for GPUs from Nvidia, AMD, and Intel as well as Nvidia’s CUDA parallel computing platform and Microsoft’s Direct ML (Direct Machine Learning) API.
Microsoft believes Nvidia’s CUDA platform will help enhance machine learning training on WSL and that is why the two companies have partnered to launch a preview of CUDA for WSL 2.
The preview supports existing machine learning tools, libraries, and popular frameworks including PyTorch and TensorFlow. At the same time, Microsoft has released a preview of TensorFlow with DirectML that it plans to open source in a few months.
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