Best Operating System for the Juliaverse

I’m replacing my vintage Mac Pros with a 5950x build and leaving OSX behind (sadly). I’ve installed the Windows 10 that I purchased the day I bought the PC parts… but… I dunno. On another thread @stillyslalom suggested I think about Windows Subsystem for Linux - and I like the idea, but wondered if there is some other path I should consider before making a commitment. Thanks for any thoughts.

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I regularly use Julia on Mac, Windows, WSL and Linux. It works great on all 4.


Thanks for your response. I have every faith in Julia. If you were pick a single OS to use, and your primary use was Julia, which would you pick?

I enjoy using linux and macOS since they aren’t windows.


WSL has good interoperability with Windows 10, so you don’t really need to make a commitment - you can access your Windows filesystem from WSL and vice versa, and a VSCode session running on Windows 10 can connect to a Julia session running in WSL. Since you already have Windows installed, I’d recommend at least giving WSL a try.

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I would say that Linux has a much better performance than Windows, at least git and the file system. Also the terminal program, bash etc. works better on Linux. So WSL on Windows is the second best solution.


Make sure you choose WSL2: Refer to Status of Pkg speed improvements outside US in v1.5 - #6 by PetrKryslUCSD for background on the performance of the package manager with various Windows and WSL configurations.


The only true answer is linux :wink: (I use System76’s Pop!_OS)

There are a few existing threads that might be helpful.


WSL is great, but it isn’t entirely a replacement quite yet. Performance can be slow, especially for filesystem stuff (eg the package manager), especially when you use a non-wsl partition folder.

So I suggest just sticking with whatever OS you are most comfortable with. Julia works great on all, and the binary system for packages is state of the art. I think the OS only becomes an issue in rare situations


I was really happy with Linux but my decision to change to Windows was the need for Microsoft Office. Certain things are faster on Linux (especially the Pkg manager) but what it came down to for me was the other things I need to do on my computer

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I too use Office and would like to use a particular Excel add-in that allows it to have arbitrary precision (it does not work on the OSX version of Excel).

Thanks for the links … very helpful. One raised an issue I’d been unaware of – dissatisfaction because of “rendering and hardware limitations of WSL”. Interesting.

WSL sometimes also uses way too much ram

And yes, it’s still not fixed after 2 years

If one application you use dictates your OS, go for it, (I guess you could try wine but it’s not perfect either)

IMO, the worst is having to switch os

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I am using Office 365 if I need MSOffice on Linux… And there is a native Teams version for Linux. Not good enough for you?

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If Teams has (or if the Linux version of Excel) has an arbitrary precision add-in, I’m good!

I agree. I’ve been happy enough with OSX, but I can’t afford a new Mac Pro, so I’ve moved to my own build and new OS.

xlPrecision is fully compatible with Excel 2019 including Excel 365 (32-bit)
and Windows 10 as well as earlier versions of Excel and Windows

So it should work on Linux…

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Interesting. I’ve always let this dissuade me: “Although xlPrecision currently works only with Microsoft Excel for Windows, versions for Lotus 123 and Corel Quattro Pro – and for Macintosh – are possible too, so let me know if you’re interested.”

Well, office 365 runs in a web browser, and web browsers on Windows and Linux are nowadays very much the same… The time of Internet Explorer is over…


The best experience for me is JuliaWin + Windows 10.
I think currently the scheduler for the Ryzen 5950x on Windows is better optimized (It probably got even better with 21H1 but Linux might got better as well). Anyhow, performance wise Windows 10 is as good as any other system for the Ryzen 5950x.

I am arguing for Windows being decent option. Being best is more subjective than objective.

The test on Phoronix are done using the native compiler. But nothing stops you from using LLVM and even GCC on Windows to get even better performance than shown in the link.