My software development setup in WSL 2
July 19, 2020 - 3 min read
I'm writing this post because I work every day in WSL 2 on my main computer and I feel it might be useful to those trying to get a productive setup running.
I use Arch Linux inside WSL, with the ArchWSL project. Arch is used since it's what I've installed on my other computers, and is compelling for the same reasons: up to date packages, reliable, and is easy to package things for.
Since I use a zsh shell with syntax highlighting and relatively slow command
completion, I found that the stock setup of putting the ~30 directories in my
Windows PATH into the Linux one was causing massive shell performance issues.
This is resolved with some
wsl.conf options on the Linux side:
[interop] enabled = true appendWindowsPath = false # It was also not picking up my DNS settings so have it stop trying to do that [network] generateResolvConf = false
Before switching to WSL for essentially all of my needs (except flashing my QMK peripherals), I used msys2, which uses mintty as a terminal. WSL with mintty is done through wsltty these days, and that is what I use. It does not require significant configuration.
The new Windows Terminal is likely viable these days (and possibly faster in terms of rendering performance), but I haven't investigated it.
I use nix for managing Haskell dependencies for a work project, and I sometimes need to use Docker for development. Neither WSL nor WSL 2 natively support running systemd as an init system. With WSL 2, process ID namespaces can be used to make a namespace where systemd is PID 1 in which you can just run it. I use a tool called genie that manages this automatically.
win32yank, make this file
chmod +x it and neovim will pick it up as the clipboard provider:
#!/bin/sh /mnt/c/Progs/win32yank.exe "$@"
This hack is required because of the PATH integration being disabled. I believe you could also copy the executable into a bin folder (don't change the extension) and it would work without the intermediate script.
I limit the memory available to my WSL lower than the default 80% of my RAM
because I would rather stuff get killed on the Linux side or the Linux kernel
drop some of its cache rather than making Windows swap a whole bunch. Further,
I sometimes run
sudo sysctl vm.drop_caches=2 to drop Linux caches when
vmmem is causing memory pressure to the rest of my system.
[wsl2] memory=20GB swap=0