We’ve been curious about the performance of WSL for scientific applications and decided to do a few relevant benchmarks. This is also a teaser for some hardware-specific optimized application containerization that I’ve been working on!
WSL2 offers improved performance over version 1 by providing more direct access to the host hardware drivers. Recent “Insider Dev Channel” builds of Win10 even allows access to the Windows NVIDIA display driver for GPU computing applications for WSL2 Linux applications! The performance improvements with WSL2 are largely because this version is running as a privileged virtual machine on to of MS Hyper-V. This means that at least low level support for the Hyper-V virtualization layer needs to be enabled to use it. In particular, the Windows feature “VirtualMachinePlatform” must be enabled for WSL2. We tested to see if there was any negative application performance impact.
WSL on Windows 10 does not (currently) provide a direct way to copy a Linux distribution that was installed from the “Microsoft Store”. The following guide will show you a way to make a working copy of an installed distribution with a new name.