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InfoQ Homepage News Windows Subsystem for Linux Now Generally Available in Microsoft Store

Windows Subsystem for Linux Now Generally Available in Microsoft Store

The Windows Subsystem for Linux has reached GA status in the Microsoft Store, adding support for Windows 10 in addition to Windows 11. Among the most notable features in WSL 1.0.0 are opt-in systemd support and the possibility of running Linux GUI applications on Windows 10.

WSL was originally included in Windows OSes as an optional component, known as "in-Windows" WSL, that users could activate to install and run a Linux distribution. WSL in the Store makes this process more straightforward and enables automatic updates and servicing without requiring a full OS update.

Adding support for systemd means WSL can be more similar to popular Linux distributions like Ubuntu and Debian, which use systemd by default. This will also enable running applications that require systemd under WSL, including microk8s and systemctl.

Supporting systemd required changes to the WSL architecture. As systemd requires PID 1, the WSL init process started within the Linux distribution becomes a child process of the systemd. [...] Additional modifications had to be made to ensure a clean shutdown (as that shutdown is controlled by systemd now).

Due to these changes, Microsoft preferred making systemd an opt-in feature to avoid changing the behavior of existing installations, but will investigate making it the default option. To enable systemd, you need to edit the wsl.conf file and add the systemd=true option under the [boot] section. Finally, you need to restart your WSL instance.

The possibility of running Linux GUI apps, already available on Windows 11, is now also available on Windows 10. This enables running Linux GUI apps from the Windows Start menu, as well as pinning them to the Windows task bar. Cutting and pasting across Linux and Windows apps is seamlessly supported, too.

With this announcement, Microsoft is not entirely sunsetting "in-Windows" WSL, which will indeed still receive critical bug fixes, but new features will only appear in the Store version.

The Store version of WSL is now the default that is installed by running the command wsl --install on fully patched Windows 10 or 11 systems. Analogously, you can update an existing installation by running wsl --update on fully patched systems.

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