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Windows Subsystem for Linux Coming This Fall

Microsoft plans to advance the Windows Subsystem for Linux from its current beta-test phase with the "fall creators update" version of Windows 10.

The work is already apace. The beta tag was already dropped from Windows 10 build 16251, which some Windows Insider testers are using, explained Rich Turner, a senior program manager at Microsoft, in a Friday blog post. One of the benefits of it falling out of beta will be that Microsoft will start providing product support, he explained.

Turner characterized the Windows Subsystem for Linux as relatively stable and getting few changes before its coming release. The release is tied to the Windows 10 fall creators update, which is expected to arrive in September or October.

The Windows Subsystem for Linux permits Linux distros to run natively on Windows 10. Microsoft initially collaborated with Canonical to integrate Ubuntu Linux with the subsystem, which lets users run the Bash command-line shell on top of Windows 10. The subsystem will support other Linux distros as well, such as Fedora and SUSE Linux, and Microsoft recently clarified that these distros will be accessible from the Windows Store.

Microsoft built the Windows Subsystem for Linux to support Linux developer tools. It can also be used for basic administrative tasks. However, it's not designed for running Linux workloads on Windows 10. Turner explicitly called out the unsupported scenarios, namely:

  • Linux distro's running atop WSL are for interactive user scenarios, NOT for running production workloads on Apache/nginx/MySQL/MongoDB/etc.
  • Linux files are NOT accessible from Windows (we're working to improve this scenario over time)
  • NO current plans to support X/GUI apps, desktops, servers, etc. at this time

Late last year, Microsoft also explicitly cautioned Windows Subsystem for Linux users not to use it to alter Linux files because of file-system differences.

Windows Subsystem for Linux supports running Bash commands, but it also permits the Windows command-line interface to run Linux commands. Users can "invoke Linux processes from Windows command-line," Turner explained.

Microsoft and Linux distro publishers have a collaborative agreement to make the subsystem work. The Linux distro publishers maintain the distros, while Microsoft maintains the subsystem, Turner explained.

About the Author

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

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