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Microsoft and Canonical Add Ubuntu Linux Distro to the Windows Store

Microsoft this week made it easier to run Linux on Windows 10 systems by putting Canonical's Ubuntu distro in the Windows Store.

Right now, this Ubuntu distro can only be used by Windows Insider testers with Windows 10 versions at build 16215 or greater, according to an announcement by Microsoft. However, distribution through the Windows Store represents a potentially easier way for end users to get Linux distros. Eventually, store distribution will enable them to run multiple Linux distros side by side, simultaneously, on Windows 10.

Microsoft had promised those capabilities during its May Build event for developers. It also indicated back then that it was working to add Fedora and SUSE Linux distros to the Windows Store, according Rich Turner, a senior program manager at Microsoft, in an earlier blog post. He explained that Windows Subsystem for Linux, which enables Linux to run on Windows 10, is Linux "distro-agnostic," so that different distros can run without conflict.

Windows 10 users already have the ability to run Ubuntu natively on Windows 10, which is enabled by the Windows Subsystem for Linux, permitting use of the Bash command-line shell. Essentially, though, those currently installed instances will become "legacy" installations. Microsoft instead is putting its efforts into the Windows Store-delivered versions going forward, according to Turner. Windows Store delivery will bring the benefits of faster and more reliable downloads, the use of side-by-size Linux installations and the ability to run different Linux distros simultaneously, Turner explained.

Turner also added that work on bringing Fedora and SUSE Linux distros to the Windows Store is "nearing completion," with arrival expected in the "next week or two."

The Ubuntu Linux distro in the Windows Store will soon be out of the preview stage. It'll be available "to anyone who runs Windows 10 Fall Creators Update or later," Turner indicated. The fall creators update is expected arrive in the September or October time frame.

To use the new Windows Store Ubuntu distro on Windows 10, users first have to turn on the optional Windows Subsystem for Linux feature and then reboot the system. They can then download the Ubuntu distro from the Windows Store, according to a description by Scott Hanselman, a developer on Microsoft's Web platform team. He also described a process to follow if users already are using Bash on Windows 10, which is based on Ubuntu Linux.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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