Microsoft in a recent blog post confirmed the news that it now open sources a Windows Subsytem for Linux (WSL). The subsystem helps more Linux distros to be published in the Microsoft Store which can be later installed on Windows 10.

The distro comes with two benefits especially for developers who rely more on WSL. It firstly allows distribution maintainers to package and submit the distros in the Microsoft Store similar to Windows 10 app in an appx format, which needs to be approved by Microsoft.

Once approved Windows 10 users will then be able to install it like any other Windows 10 app directly from Microsoft Store. The other benefit is the developers are allowed to create their own Linux distributions before sideloading them on a Windows 10 device.

By open sourcing the project, Microsoft has made sure that it lets many Linux distros who like an open source software to bring the WSL closer to the OSS community. With open sourcing the project, Microsoft has made sure that it brings Windows and Linux closer since Microsoft Store currently provides access to five different distributions like Ubuntu and more.

Microsoft has also made sure to inform the Linux distros that the custom distro packages support sideloading, but they would only be approved for Microsoft Store submission if they are submitted as distribution maintainer.

However Microsoft is allowing organizations to deploy their own custom package in their networks on Windows 10 devices by enabling the developer mode option. Microsoft confirms that the distribution of Linux distros for WSL happens as a UWP application through the Microsoft Store and these can be installed in the subsystem that sits in the Windows Kernel.

  • REAPER.21C

    This all sounds great for Microsofts efforts to build bridges with OSS, but running the system sideloaded to Windows 10 seems to be a greater level of resource consumption vs. Separate bootable instance. I think that current plans tor the Windows Core plans will provide a more suitable environment.
    This will be fine for those who want to utilize custom distros for specific needs or as a primary use on top of windows 10 running w/ only minimal system processes running.

    Although, custom PC builds, servers running workstations, remote accessible systems, or server operations providing added resources will all be able to provide added benefits for running linux distros. I have to imagine that Microsoft’s current support for cybersecurity operations will be enhaced greatly to OSS linux functions. Limited from what is available on distros like Kali but still adding tools will give a greater edge, and sideloaded with windows makes professional environments that only use Windows systems more accepting of function in both systems architectures.