If you want to use Linux applications on Windows you have multiple options. Using the Windows version of the application if it’s available, cross-compile the app, use a VM or Docker, or use the Windows Subsystem for Linux with a X Server.
A small and lightweight WSL distro is Alpine, which is also quite popular in the Docker world. It’s based on musl, uses busybox and just contains the most important things to be functional.
For the X Server part, you can installVcXsrv.
By default you start the Alpine WSL with an unprivileged user. I setup the ability to use sudo, by following these steps ( I hope I remembered them all correctly ):
wsl.exe --distribution Alpine --user root),
apk add sudo),
/etc/sudoersfile to allow anyone use sudo who is in the sudo group (
%sudo ALL=(ALL) ALL),
addgroup sudo) and
usermod -aG sudo <username>).
passwd <username>), close and reopen the Alpine console.
After you installed and setup everything, you can start VcXsrv and type the following command in the WSL console to tell which display should be used.
To install Geany, I used the following command:
sudo apk add geany adwaita-icon-theme noto-fonts
noto-fonts are required because if not installed you won’t see any text in the application.
adwaita-icon-theme is also recommended, because applications like Geany use the system icon theme and if none is installed, some icons are missing.
Xournal isn’t available in the preconfigured repositories, so I ran the following to install it:
sudo apk --no-cache --repository http://dl-cdn.alpinelinux.org/alpine/edge/testing add xournal
xournal in the correct folder, I can now open the notes I took with my Linux laptop using Xournal.