Windows 10 S Will Not Support the Linux Subsystem

Posted on May 19, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 44 Comments

Windows 10 S Will Not Support the Linux Subsystem

I could have seen this one going either way, but Microsoft confirmed this week that Windows 10 S will not include or support the Windows Subsystem for Linux.

“Windows 10 S does not run command-line applications, nor the Windows Console, Cmd / PowerShell, or Linux/Bash/WSL instances since command-line apps run outside the safe environment that protects Windows 10 S from malicious/misbehaving software,” Microsoft’s Rich Turner explains. “Even though Linux distro store packages are delivered via the Windows Store, and installed as standard UWP AppX [containers], they run as non-UWP command-line tools and this can access more of a system than a UWP can.”

The speculation around this topic was, for once, reasonable. Windows 10 S, after all, is “based on” Windows 10 Pro, and it will deliver most of the functionality that has so far been unique to that product version.

But the Windows Subsystem for Linux is very specifically targeted at developers, who should be using Windows 10 Pro. And because of the way it’s implemented, it’s almost certainly not in keeping with the reliability, performance, and battery life advantages of Windows 10 S.

Microsoft revealed at Build last week that additional Linux implementations—like Red Hat Fedora and SUSE—would be delivered through the Windows Store, further fanning theories that maybe, just maybe, the Windows Subsystem for Linux would be included with Windows 10 S.

But no.

“Just because an ‘app’ comes from the Windows Store does NOT automatically mean that it’s safe and suitable for running in Windows 10 S,” Turner wrote. “There are some apps that are not allowed to run on Windows 10 S, including all command-line apps, shells and Consoles.”


Tagged with

Join the discussion!


Don't have a login but want to join the conversation? Become a Thurrott Premium or Basic User to participate

Comments (45)

45 responses to “Windows 10 S Will Not Support the Linux Subsystem”

  1. Waethorn

    According to the Windows Store comparison chart, it DOES include Client Hyper-V.

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to Waethorn:

      Could Windows 10 S's Hyper-V be configured to prevent giving VMs access to the host OS file system?

      • Waethorn

        In reply to hrlngrv:

        I don't see why they would make special restrictions for Windows 10 S. So long as you can still share files in 10 S, you'll be able to access those shares in a VM as usual.

        • hrlngrv

          In reply to Waethorn:

          Point is a local VM with full USER (rather than Administrator) access to the local host OS file system can screw up all user files.

          Presumably the same would be true if there were ever a UWP hex editor.

          It's possible to lock down a system, e.g., Chrome OS, so that in standard (not developer) mode users have extremely limited access to the local internal drive. However, it's evidently possible, e.g., DOSBox, for the installer for apps to allocate some disk space for the app which can then give the user nearly full access to that disk space within the app.

          I may just be hopelessly perverse, but I find the thought of Chrome OS being able to run 25-year-old 16-bit DOS games while Windows 10 S not being so able to be very amusing. Especially if Windows 10 S requires 2-3 times the disk space than Chrome OS to provide less functionality.

  2. pepesilvia

    I don't see how people could have thought otherwise in the first place.

  3. rameshthanikodi

    not a big deal, but it does start a precedent of what kind of store listing has the privilege of ignoring Windows 10 S other than Microsoft's own?

  4. John Scott

    Not surprised given how Microsoft developed 10S as a locked down version targeting security. The whole ideal is to run apps from the store that by design would not reduce that security. Just my opinion, but this does seem to be the future of Windows 10. Apple has tried a similar approach with the Mac app store, but had very little success. I doubt Microsoft will have any better luck.

  5. jimchamplin

    I was recently wondering about Visual Studio on 10 S. I figure a Desktop Bridge version of VS is inevitable, but it seems like when it happens, 10 S won't run it.

    Not unless a lot of changes are made so that it plays by the rules. But then, they could have made it so the console-based stuff works safely but they didn't, which I guess is a clear indication of their vision. So much for 10 S being the future of Windows for everyone!


  6. Sai Rahul

    i don't think that would effect any developer

  7. MutualCore

    As usual Paul has to write a Microsoft-negative article about nothing.

    • Bart

      In reply to MutualCore:

      It is a positive thing. So not sure what you mean...?

    • prettyconfusd

      In reply to MutualCore:

      It's not a negative article, which article did you read? ?

      It's odd people thought this was even a possibility though - dev tools will pretty much always need full access and a pro version of Windows - hence why even though I'm a teacher I'll be sticking with Windows 10 full rather than going S because as a Computer Science teacher, we need dev tools. Literally every other teacher and course in the school could go to Windows 10 S though, as could the office bar maybe one program. Would certainly make things more manageable...

  8. Bart

    Sensible decision on MS side. Not sure why any dev wants to run Linux on Windows 10 S, when Windows 10 Pro is the (much) more likely system a dev would run

  9. skane2600

     " ..after all, is “based on” Windows 10 Pro, and it will deliver most of the functionality that has so far been unique to that product version."

    Other than being able to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro, what exclusive W10 Pro capabilities does Windows 10S have that Windows 10 Home Premium doesn't?

  10. JudaZuk

    So question, if Windows 10 S does not even have a command prompt .. how do you flush DNS cache on it for example?

  11. Boris Zakharin

    Even these days you need a command prompt for some things, like diagnostics and troubleshooting. ipconfig anyone? ping? tracert?

  12. wright_is

    Hardly a surprise. It doesn't support "normal" Win32 applications, why would it support Linux?

    That is a feature for developers / professionals / enthusiasts and they would want the full Pro experience anyway.

  13. glenn8878

    Why would this be controversial? I would assume 10S is a consumer product.

  14. hrlngrv

    Will 'desktop' Office provided through the Windows Store be able to run VBA macros? Will it have access to all user's local and cloud files? If so, explain how it couldn't muck up systems thoroughly too.

    As for battery life and commandline/character mode software, how much battery power does a command prompt use waiting for the user to enter a command? Lots more than, say, the Edge browser waiting for user interactions? I'm skeptical.

    Also, this would imply that there's not going to be a DOSBox for Windows 10 S, even though there's a DOSBox for Chrome OS. I suppose Google may have solved the hard computer science programming problem of segregating the disk space used for DOSBox but MSFT hasn't.

    • skane2600

      In reply to hrlngrv:

      If "desktop" Office provided through the Windows Store doesn't support all existing capabilities including VBA macros it's simply NOT desktop Office.

      • hrlngrv

        In reply to skane2600:

        I completely agree. I've already read Store Office (should that be Office RT 2.0?) won't run COM add-ins. I figure its VBA won't accept Declare statements to exposure Win32 system calls.

        Next will come those who'll insist that it's nevertheless FULL Office just missing a few pieces, which others will yet again have to point out means non-Store Windows desktop Office would then have to be FULLER Office.

        I can accept that for damn near everyone, Windows desktop Office is gross overkill. Certainly is for me, except for Excel. I'm one of the odd 5% who uses Excel features 80-90% of other Excel users have no clue exist. I'm sure there are Word and PowerPoint experts in the same position. All I can figure is that MSFT has convincing marketing analysis that Office as it exists today brings in more revenues than Office Lite/Mobile/For-the-Rest-of-Us plus one a la carte truly FULL Office program. That is, everyone gets the supersized meal.

        • skane2600

          In reply to hrlngrv:

          Well, given that there is a diverse set of special needs requirements among customers, it's more logical and efficient to provide a single Office set to everyone. The possible exception is to add a bare-bones version like Microsoft Works. Even so, it's not unusual for beginners to use Office as a minimal tool only to use more advanced features as their understanding and requirements grow.

  15. Illusive_Man

    The Linux subsystem sucks anayway

  16. jholbrook385

    Is there any information on wether current Windows 10 Pro users will be able to "upgrade to Windows 10 S?

Leave a Reply