Teach Your Spouse vim on Windows Linux (WSL)

by Mike Levin

Friday, May 13, 2022

Does your spouse use vim for everything from personal daily journaling to making the big-bucks programming, coding, doing SEO or some other technology-related field? Do they look like one of those movie hackers with nearly telepathic control over text, computers and their lives, tap, tap, tap, never taking their hand away from the keyboard for a copy/paste?

Do Are you a Windows user who covets the superpowered abilities of your vim-using spouse? Do you want to become the Gwen Stacy to his Peter Parker? Well, you’re in luck. Any windows user can get bitten by the radioactive spider and acquire old-school text-editing superpowers. Use the vim text editor under Linux using Microsoft’s subsystem for Linux (WSL) and the Windows Terminal.

Well then you’re in luck! The time is right. It’s easier than ever. Windows 11, while not delivering on its promise (yet) regarding a graphics subsystem for the Linux subsystem for Windows due to having to be on the Windows Insider development track version of Windows (at the time of this writing), the install procedure is vastly simpler.

Instead of a series of convolutions on Windows 10, including the activating of the hyperviser through a cryptic series of commands that are difficult even for me to follow, it is reduced to opening a Windows COM by clicking the Windows logo in the task bar and typing COM to get it to run. And then inside the command window that pops up, typing:

wsl --install

And that’s it! Pretty soon Ubuntu 20.04 will be running in that com window (at the time of this writing). Now I could not imagine any worse shell to use for Linux, so your next step is hopping over to the Microsoft Store (which is super-flaky at the time of this writing, buttons disappearing, blank screens, etc. even after a full Windows Store update) and getting yourself Windows Terminal.

Ugh! I wish Microsoft would standardize their terminology, or at least make it intuitive. It’s Microsoft Store but Windows Terminal. It’s Linux on Windows, but the product is called WSL for Windows Subsystem for Linux. Why not LSW? Oh, it would put Linux first and Microsoft can’t let anyone know that’s exactly what they’re doing. It has to be done slowly over time, like cooking the frog. Soon, old proprietary Windows will disappear and it will just be a Linux like how the Mac uses Cocoa over Unix.

People barely even noticed in Apple’s move from Mac OS9 to OSX. And now they’re back to MacOS, haha! Microsoft as usual is copying from Apple’s playbook play for play. Only thing is that by aligning with Linux instead of Unix, and equipped with infinite resources (Apple wasn’t so big back then), Microsoft’s going to do it better and over a much larger already installed userbase. That’s why such aggressive upgrade pushing to Windows 11. They want to purge all that proprietary crap step by step, and this sets the stage. Cooks the frog.

Anyhow, eventually it will be graphical Linux on Windows and not long after that Windows will be Microsoft Cocoa on Linux. But don’t worry. It’s good for you. It’s especially good for you if during this transition you can make the leap to graphics-free Linux. This will help you make the leap to OS-independence, the only true state for a self-respecting technology professional… and spouses wanting their counterpart’s powerful wizarding abilities.