Microsoft's new Windows AI Studio developer tool... makes you install Linux to use it

Three people working on a problem at a PC screen.
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Windows AI Studio, a new developer tool designed to help programmers integrate generative AI into apps, only works on Linux, the company has revealed.

Specifically, it requires Ubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver or later, an LTS Linux distro that was first made available in April 2018.

Microsoft also highlights that “all of the computation happens locally,” suggesting that users will need to have a pretty powerful machine to keep up with the AI workload.

Windows AI Studio runs on Ubuntu – not Windows

Redmond’s boffins suggest that Windows AI Studio users access Linux through Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) so that they can, of course, keep their fully functioning version of Windows 11 running. (Microsoft is still struggling with Windows 11 uptake. It only accounts for 27% of all installs, compared with Windows 10 at 68%).

The app brings together “cutting-edge AI development tools from Azure AI Studio Catalog and other catalogs like Hugging Face.” The Manhattan-based company entered a strategic partnership with Microsoft in 2022, and made its Hugging Face Hub Model Catalog available directly within Azure Machine Learning Studio earlier this summer.

Microsoft also noted that “Windows AI Studio will run only on Nvidia GPUs for the preview,” which means it may be time for you to consider one of the best laptops for programming if you intend to use the tool.

Windows AI Studio is also packaged as a Visual Studio Code Extension, so having VS Code installed is a must. The AI Studio is available in the VS Marketplace.

Since the launch of Windows AI Studio, some users have taken to GitHub to complain that they would prefer not to have to use Linux at all, but others have been fairly pleased that, despite technical limitations, they can access the tool on their Windows machine without too much added complexity.

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Craig Hale

With several years’ experience freelancing in tech and automotive circles, Craig’s specific interests lie in technology that is designed to better our lives, including AI and ML, productivity aids, and smart fitness. He is also passionate about cars and the decarbonisation of personal transportation. As an avid bargain-hunter, you can be sure that any deal Craig finds is top value!