Linux on Windows 10 with support for GPI: An Easy way for reading and converting Philips MR rawdata

Posted by Sandeep Ganji on Tue 23 July 2019

Linux on Windows 10 with support for GPI: An Easy way for reading and converting Philips MR rawdata

(Note: a video version of this tutorial is available at this link)

The installation of a Linux Distro on a Windows 10 operating system is outlined using Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) feature. Instructions on how to install GPI (Graphical Programming Interface) in the Linux Disrto under Windows 10 and how to convert the proprietary and standard Philips MR rawdata, imaging and spectroscopy data to NumPy data are shown below.

Prerequisites and Installed Software list

  • Prerequisites

    • Windows 10 Professional (Enterprise / Home) with version 1607 (OS build 14393) or above
  • Software installed on Windows 10:

    • Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL)
    • ‘X’ windows server (such as Xming or MobaXterm or VcXsrv)
  • Software installed inside the Linux environment (under WSL):

    • Conda (miniconda) – a cross-platform and cross-language package manager
    • GPI (Graphical Programming Interface)
    • ReadPhilips nodes and networks for GPI

Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL)

Introduction to Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL)

The Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) is a new Windows 10 feature (made available in a 2016 Windows update) that enables native Linux command-line tools directly on Windows, alongside the traditional Windows desktop and modern store apps. WSL is a collection of components that enables native Linux ELF64 binaries to run on Windows. It contains both user mode and kernel mode components.

It is primarily comprised of:

  1. User mode session manager service that handles the Linux instance life cycle

  2. Pico provider drivers (lxss.sys, lxcore.sys) that emulate a Linux kernel by translating Linux syscalls

  3. Pico processes that host the unmodified user mode Linux (e.g. /bin/bash)

By placing unmodified Linux binaries in Pico processes, thus enabling Linux system calls to be directed into the Windows kernel. The lxss.sys and lxcore.sys drivers translate the Linux system calls into NT APIs and emulate the Linux kernel on Windows.

In May 2019, Microsoft announced the newest architecture for the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL2). It will be released as a Windows Insider Preview in late-2019 and later will be incorporated into native Windows build in the future releases. (Source:, and

WSL depends on the Windows 10 Build version

It is important to understand that Windows adds, updates, and removes features with each new major update (version or build number change). WSL was first introduced in Windows 10 version 1607 (OS build 14393, first made available on 2016-08-02). While the more recent version of Windows 10 is 1903 (OS build 18362, released on 2019-05-21).

Checking Windows 10 Build version

To confirm your current Windows version, follow the step below

Method 1: Using “winver” command

Press “Windows Key” + “R” simultaneously

Then type “winver” and hit “Enter Key” and note the output

Method 2: Using “About PC” functionality

Press “Windows Key”, type “About your PC” in the search space and hit “Enter Key”.

A window with your system information will open showing you the Windows Edition and version number.

Updating to the latest Windows Version

Press “Windows Key”, type “Check for Updates” in the search space and hit “Enter Key”.

Checking if the WSL is enabled

First check if the WSL is already enabled in your Windows operating system

Step 1: Open Powershell as “Administrator” (right-click on the icon and select option “Run as Administrator”)

Step 2: Run the following command

DISM /online /get-features /format:table | Select-String -Pattern "Linux"

If is output shows “Microsoft-Windows-Subsystem-Linux | Enabled”, then WSL is enabled in Windows.

If is output shows “Microsoft-Windows-Subsystem-Linux | Disabled”, then WSL is not enabled in the Windows and it must be enabled manually. Follow the steps below to enable the WSL in Windows.

Method 1: Enabling WSL using PowerShell with Administrator rights

Step 1: Open PowerShell as “Administrator”

Step 2: Run the following command

Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName Microsoft-Windows-Subsystem-Linux

Step 3: Wait for the process to end and Restart the computer when prompted

Method 2: Enabling WSL using Windows Features (GUI)

Step 1: Open the advanced Windows Feature list

Step 2: Go to “Control Panel”, then “Programs and Features

Step 3: Select “Turn Windows features on or off

(Note: If you don’t have Administrative rights on the PC, then try the above mentioned PowerShell method or contact your system administrator or IT)

Step 4: Enable “Windows Subsystem for Linux

Step 5: Wait for the process to end and Restart the computer when prompted

Installing X Server software (on Windows 10)

The previous steps give access to only command line version of Ubuntu (or whatever distro you installed) natively on Windows. It can be used like most other apps in Windows. However, in order to run GUI applications in WSL, you need to first install an X Server on your Windows machine. Microsoft Windows is not shipped with support for X server, but many third-party implementations exist, such as Cygwin/X or Xming or MobaXterm or VcXsrv (free version), and proprietary products such as Exceed, MKS X/Server, Reflection X, X-Win32.

Step 1: Download Xming from on to your Windows 10 machine

Step 2: Install the Xming by running “Xming-6-9-0-31-setup.exe” file

Step 3: Reboot the system and after rebooting start the Xming software. Confirm that Xming is running in Windows Taskbar (will show up as Xming Server:0.0, when you hover mouse on the icon).

Installing Linux Distro of your choice

Download and install your favorite flavor of Linux distribution from the Windows Store.

Step 1: Open the Windows Store, search (top right corner) for “Linux

Step 2: Click on “Get the apps

Step 3: Download the Linux distribution you prefer for your work (Ubuntu 18.04 version is recommended if you do not have a reason to pick another distribution. If you choose a different Linux distribution, some of the following instructions may not completely apply)

If for some reason, the network you’re connected does not allow access to “Microsoft Store”, then you can manually download the Linux distro’s at (e.g. Ubuntu 18.01 version is CanonicalGroupLimited.Ubuntu18.04onWindows_1804.2018.817.0_x64__79rhkp1fndgsc).

Post Installation Setup (inside Linux)

Step 1: Launch your distribution of Linux (via Start Menu or Microsoft Store)

Step 2: Wait for installation to finish, until it shows the following window

Step 3: When prompted create a username and password

Step 4: Check the Linux version installed (type into the terminal)

cat /etc/os-release

For example, output for Ubuntu 18.04 Linux distro is shown below

Step 5: Update the system with latest distro repositories by entering the following commands

sudo apt update

Step 6: Get the wget and unzip packages by using following command

sudo apt-get install unzip wget

Step 7: Get the build-essential tools (The build-essential package contains important development tools including the gcc compiler)

sudo apt-get install build-essential

Step 8: Get latest ca-certificates

sudo apt-get install ca-certificates

GPI installation and testing

In order to install GPI, first you need to get the installation script from the GPI website ( and then run the script in the Linux distro (this case it is Ubuntu) installed using the steps above.

Obtaining the GPI install script

Step 1: Launch your distribution of Linux (via Start Menu)

Step 2: Get the latest GPI installation script from using


(Note: this script will work only for Linux distros and macOS version 10.09 or above)

Installing GPI

Step 1: Elevate the privileges of “” shell script

chmod +x

Step 2: Execute the shell script “”

./   ~/gpi_stack

(Note: if you need help, you see the help text by ./ -h)

Step 3: If the GPI install is successful you will get the following message in the terminal

Step 4: Close the WSL terminal (by using exit command)

Testing the GPI GUI

The main GPI workspace is the canvas, which can be loaded by running the following commands. It gives access to the core gpi nodes and can be used to build algorithms. Make sure the Xming server or your preferred Windows X Server is running.

Launch your distribution of Linux (via Start Menu). Run the following commands in the Ubuntu Terminal (see the screenshot below that shows the outputs)

conda activate gpi
export DISPLAY=:0
gpi &

Obtaining and configuring the readPhilips nodes


The “readPhilips” nodes are GPI nodes that are binary distributions for reading Philips MR data. Current supported formats include rawdata (LAB/RAW/SIN, DATA/LIST, CPX), and imaging & spectroscopy data (e.g. DICOM, par/rec, sdat/spar). For more information visit The below steps assume a working GPI already exists and has all the gpi-core-nodes are installed.

Installation of the nodes in GPI

Download the latest release binary (pre-compiled) files corresponding to the installation of GPI platform (Linux or macOS X) to the default GPI library directory (or a directory that is in your LIB_PATH, as shown in the configuration documentation), unzip and restart GPI.

For example, from the Ubuntu terminal

cd /home/**user**/gpi/

(here user is the name of your user directory)


(this will unzip a folder called ‘philips’ in /home/user/gpi, precise naming here is important for GPI to load the modules properly. Note that there may be new readphilips nodes or networks in the future)

Confirming the read philips nodes in GPI canvas

To confirm that the nodes are installed and working, you can do the following simple test.

Step 1: Start the X server application (Xming in this case)

Step 2: Start the Linux (Ubuntu 18.04 in this case) terminal and run the following commands in the terminal window

conda activate gpi
export DISPLAY=:0
gpi &

Step 3: Once the GPI canvas is open, “Right Click” on the canvas to open a menu and it should show “philips” option under the “core”. Any other GPI libraries you create or install will also show up here.

Step 4: If you do not see the “philips” option, then in the Menu options at the top, click on “Config” and then click on “Scan for New Nodes” and then check the menu again for “philips” option

Data conversion networks

The latest GPI network files (*.net) for converting reading and converting the Philips MR data from GitHub are included in the readphilips nodes zip file (inside the \~/gpi/philips folder).

This network is designed to read and convert the Philips MR imaging data (LAB/RAW/SIN, DATA/LIST, CPX) to NumPy data format (*.npy files) and header information into a Python dictionary (saved on-disk as a *.pickle file).

This network is designed to read and convert the Philips MR spectroscopy data (LAB/RAW/SIN, DATA/LIST, CPX) to NumPy data format (*.npy files) and header information into a Python dictionary (saved on-disk as a *.pickle file).

Running the data conversion networks and validating the output

Philips raw data conversion using Linux command line

The rawdata that needs to be converted can be anywhere in the system (host or in the linux). For WSL, all the drives can be accessed by /mnt directory inside the Linux environment. Once you have the location of the data on the windows you can use that as a path in the Linux terminal.

Step 1: Start the X server application (Xming in this case)

Step 2: Start the Linux (in this case Ubuntu 18.04) terminal and run the following commands in the terminal window

conda activate gpi
export DISPLAY=:0

Step 3: For imaging raw data you can use the

gpi /home/sganji/gpi/philips/ --nogui -s filename:/mnt/drive_letter/path_of_rawdata_files/Filename.raw


Step 3: For spectroscopy raw data you can use the

gpi /home/sganji/gpi/philips/ --nogui -s filename:/mnt/drive_letter/path_of_rawdata_files/Filename.raw

Validating the output NumPy files (checking the dimensions, and labels)

One can validate the output NumPy files using a python IDE. Load the data using NumPy package.

For example, using Spyder ( one can check the output files of a mDixon dataset.

Input files 20190425_155716_mDixon_3D_2echo.raw 20190425_155716_mDixon_3D_2echo.lab 20190425_155716_mDixon_3D_2echo.sin


gpi /home/sganji/gpi/philips/**** --nogui -s filename:/mnt/v/zData_WorkingON01/20190425_SG_ProstatePhan/RAWDATA/20190425_155716_mDixon_3D_2echo.raw

Output files 20190425_155716_mDixon_3D_2echo__data.npy - Data is a NumPy array with dimensions [27 x 2 x 2 x 32 x 60 x 224] 20190425_155716_mDixon_3D_2echo__header.pickle - Contains header information in the form of a dictionary (from both .lab and .sin files) 20190425_155716_mDixon_3D_2echo__noise.npy - Noise is a NumPy array with dimensions [27 x 19936] (this is 27 channels noise data)

Known issues and bugs

GPI and its Philips networks are constantly being developed and improved by GPI and Philips team. If you find any bugs or have questions, please reach out to GPI team on the GitHub (use the issue tracker) or email Sandeep Ganji (

Multi-Nuclear MR Spectroscopy

We have noticed some failures when converting the multi-nuclear spectroscopy rawdata. So please check the output data, if it converts, for dimensionality and continency. If the data fails to convert at all, please let us know and we can improve the functionality based on your inputs.

Certificate issue when using wget

When downloading the installation script, if one gets the following ca-certificates error

ERROR: The certificate of is not trusted.
ERROR: The certificate of hasn't got a known issuer.

They should install the latest ca-certificates using the following command

sudo apt install ca-certificates

Atypical sequence data

For raw data from a newly development sequence, where the dimensions are either improbably labelled or new reconstruction labels were created, then the above conversion may fail.


Sandeep Ganji Contributions from Daniel Borup and Ashley Anderson

Legal Disclaimer


References and Sources

Linux on Windows


GPI (Graphical Programming Interface)