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True Linux kernel in Windows 10

May 6, 2019.


Windows+Ubuntu+Docker. © Microsoft.

The current Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) is a Microsoft-created emulation that translates Linux kernel APIs to Windows NT kernel APIs. It works pretty well, but has a few shortcomings in terms of compatibility and speed. But this will soon be a thing of the past: the new WSL will run a true Linux kernel, based on LTS (Long Term Support) version 4.19, in a lightweight virtual machine, under GPL licence (inherited from the Linux licence). And for the benefit of developers, WSL 2 will support Docker. This new system will greatly enhance performance. File system-heavy operations, like extracting a tarball, can be up to 20 times faster. Microsoft’s love for Linux blooms late, but strong.

Also in the news, Microsoft has revealed the new Windows Terminal 1.0. What’s special about it is that it supports multiple tabs. It is now possible to open any number of tabs, each connected to a command-line shell or app of your choice, e.g. Command Prompt, PowerShell, Ubuntu on WSL, a Raspberry Pi via SSH, etc. This summer, a preview version of Windows Terminal will be released to the Microsoft Store so you can test it and provide feedback. Best of all, it’s open source! Microsoft has come a long way in the last few years.

Microsoft, “Shipping a Linux Kernel with Windows.”

Microsoft, “Introducing Windows Terminal.”

Ars Technica, “Windows 10 will soon ship with a full, open source, GPLed Linux kernel.”