5 Reasons to Use Linux Desktop Instead of WSL

Although WSL has made it easier for those who need to use both Windows and Linux on the same machine, there may still be reasons to use a real Linux desktop on your computer.

In this article, we discuss the various reasons why one would want to install a Linux desktop on their computer.

1. You can still use Windows and Linux on the same machine

Windows Virtualbox host with Debian desktop

With a full Linux desktop, you don’t have to give up your Windows programs. Linux has supported various ways to run Windows alongside Linux since the beginning.

The classic option is dual booting, using a bootloader to choose between the two systems on boot. You can also run desktop Windows or Linux in a virtual machine, depending on which system you use less frequently. If you want to run Windows programs, but are determined to only run Linux, you can use Wine or Proton.

You have options when you want to run Windows and Linux applications. You can keep Windows for games and other programs you need while using Linux to learn about computers, programming, system administration, or operating systems in general. It’s a nice division of labor.

Related: Dual Boot vs. Virtual Machine: Which is Right for You?

2. Using Linux supports free and open source software

The main reason to use Linux on the desktop is to support free and open source software. Even though Microsoft supports Linux and contributes to open source software, Windows itself is still proprietary. Imagine writing that Microsoft would support a competitor’s product 20 years ago!


Regularly using and contributing whatever you can to open source projects, including money and code, as well as daily use, will help ensure the long-term viability of open source software. This is one of the reasons why you should consider contributing directly to your favorite Linux distributions and open source software project.

3. Reporting bugs helps improve Desktop Linux

Ubuntu Launchpad bug tracker

There seems to be more interest in desktop Linux in the tech world, especially among PC enthusiasts. More and more gamers are interested in Valve’s Steam Deck and coverage from top YouTubers like Linus Tech Tips.

Despite the most attention, desktop Linux is rougher than Windows setups, with some work required to get some hardware up and running like graphics cards and Wi-Fi adapters.

This might put some users off, but the only way to fix bugs is to find them, and if you really want desktop Linux to succeed, that would mean temporarily persisting bugs. If you’re having trouble, you should file a report instead of just silently returning to Windows.

Developers can’t fix problems they don’t know about. Finding bugs and fixing them will make Linux better for everyone in the long run.

4. You will learn more about Linux

Although WSL may be suitable for learning the Linux command line, if you want to learn more about Linux, you will need to run a full Linux distribution including the kernel, possibly a desktop, and the application suite.

If you want to pursue a career in IT, knowledge of Linux system administration is essential. This means knowing how to start the system, how to repair it if it crashes, and how to start and stop server processes. All of this requires hands-on experience.

While WSL 2 runs on a real Linux kernel, if you want the full experience, you’ll need to boot a real Linux system. Fortunately, this experience is only one partition or virtual machine away.

5. More Linux users mean better hardware support

Hardware website for Linux

Linux desktop development has suffered from a chicken and egg problem. There isn’t as much support from hardware developers, so ordinary users aren’t using desktop Linux, which means fewer developers are supporting it in turn. This makes sites like Linux Hardware Database important for many Linux users to check compatibility before installing.

With the growing interest in Linux games mentioned above, that could change. If there is better support for gaming hardware, especially graphics cards, it could make desktop Linux a viable challenger to Windows, which has long dominated PC gaming.

Running a Full Linux Distribution May Be Better Than WSL

Although WSL is a good product, there are still situations where running a full Linux distribution on the desktop might be better.

If you’re unsure whether to stick with Linux or go back to the Windows desktop, read on for a pretty compelling case for the latter.

switch from linux to windows
8 reasons to switch from Linux to Windows (listen up)

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