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Windows 10 Version 1809 Bringing Added Support for Linux Distros

Microsoft plans to deliver more Linux love with the Windows Subsystem for Linux when it finally releases Windows 10 version 1809, otherwise known as the "October 2018 Update."

The October 2018 Update initially was released on October 2, but it was later suspended by Microsoft on October 6 because of customer data-loss issues. However, when the new operating system does get released (maybe next week), Windows Subsystem for Linux users will have a few added options. Microsoft described those coming options in announcement on Monday.

Windows Subsystem for Linux is part of the Windows 10 architecture, permitting Linux to run natively atop Microsoft's operating system, typically via the Windows Console command-line interface. Last week, Microsoft announced that the size of the Windows Console can now be changed or "zoomed" using the Control key plus mouse scroll-wheel combination. The Windows Console also will now follow a user's light or dark theme preferences, Microsoft indicated back then.

Added Distro Support
This week, Microsoft announced that the Windows Subsystem for Linux will support additional Linux distros. The supported distros, currently available from the Microsoft Store, include:

  • Ubuntu 18.04
  • OpenSuse 15 and Suse Linux Enterprise Server 15
  • WLinux

These Linux distros additionally can be installed manually using the Windows Console command-line interface, Microsoft's announcement indicated.

WLinux is described by Microsoft as "the first paid-for distro app available for WSL." It's a customized open source Debian release for developers and IT pros that was specifically designed for Windows Subsystem for Linux use. Based on a description by distro maker Whitewater Foundry, WLinux appears to be somewhat of a learning tool for understanding the Windows open source programming model.

Microsoft also announced that the Ubuntu 18.04 distro can be run on Windows 10 ARM-based machines. If the distro is downloaded from the Windows Store, then the service will check if the user has an ARM-based device and will pull down the proper bits.

Tools Enhancements
Users of the October 2018 Update, when available, will be able to launch Linux using the Windows 10 File Explorer program. It works by first "selecting a folder" using Explorer and then clicking the Shift plus right-mouse-click combination, which will launch a popup menu with an option called "Open Linux shell here."

Microsoft now supports copy-and-paste operations within the various Windows Subsystem for Linux consoles. It's an optional feature. It gets turned on by selecting a checkbox setting in the console.

Microsoft's Notepad text editor in the October 2018 Update will now respect the line endings of Linux code, instead of running the code into a long string of text. This perk was promised to developers during Microsoft's May Build event.

Microsoft also facilitated one-click setups of the Chocolatey and Boxstarter development environments via the October 2018 Update of Windows 10.

Case sensitivity has been turned off by default when creating new directories on Windows Subsystem for Linux with the October 2018 Update. However, it's still the case that new directories created within a case sensitive directory will inherit that case sensitivity. Microsoft explained those nuances in this announcement.

About the Author

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

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