Windows 10 S Will Not Support the Linux Subsystem

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.”


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  • Waethorn

    19 May, 2017 - 6:40 pm

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

    • hrlngrv

      Premium Member
      19 May, 2017 - 7:24 pm

      <p><a href="#118156"><em>In reply to Waethorn:</em></a></p><p>Could Windows 10 S's Hyper-V be configured to prevent giving VMs access to the host OS file system?</p>

      • Waethorn

        20 May, 2017 - 12:14 pm

        <blockquote><a href="#118169"><em>In reply to hrlngrv:</em></a></blockquote><p>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.</p>

        • hrlngrv

          Premium Member
          20 May, 2017 - 2:55 pm

          <p><a href="#118303"><em>In reply to Waethorn:</em></a></p><p>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.</p><p>Presumably the same would be true if there were ever a UWP hex editor.</p><p>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.</p><p>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.</p>

  • hrlngrv

    Premium Member
    19 May, 2017 - 7:22 pm

    <p>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.</p><p>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.</p><p>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.</p>

    • NazmusLabs

      19 May, 2017 - 9:53 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#118168"><em>In reply to hrlngrv:</em></a></blockquote><p>No, Microsoft said they can't </p>

    • skane2600

      20 May, 2017 - 11:16 am

      <blockquote><a href="#118168"><em>In reply to hrlngrv:</em></a></blockquote><p>If "desktop" Office provided through the Windows Store doesn't support all existing capabilities including VBA macros it's simply NOT desktop Office. </p>

      • hrlngrv

        Premium Member
        20 May, 2017 - 2:45 pm

        <p><a href="#118275"><em>In reply to skane2600:</em></a></p><p>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.</p><p>Next will come those who'll insist that it's nevertheless <em>FULL</em> 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 <strong><em>FULLER</em></strong> Office.</p><p>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.</p>

        • skane2600

          20 May, 2017 - 4:33 pm

          <blockquote><a href="#118335"><em>In reply to hrlngrv:</em></a></blockquote><p>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.</p>

  • Nonmoi

    19 May, 2017 - 8:12 pm


  • glenn8878

    19 May, 2017 - 8:17 pm

    <p>Why would this be controversial? I would assume 10S is a consumer product. </p>

  • Illusive_Man

    19 May, 2017 - 8:29 pm

    <p>The Linux subsystem sucks anayway</p>

    • NazmusLabs

      19 May, 2017 - 9:53 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#118186"><em>In reply to Illusive_Man:</em></a></blockquote><p>Why??</p>

      • Illusive_Man

        20 May, 2017 - 10:55 am

        <blockquote><a href="#118193"><em>In reply to NazmusLabs:</em></a></blockquote><p><br></p><p>It's just easier to run stuff on a Mac terminal or directly in a Linux terminal. The Linus subsystem is a hassle. For example try installing and running a installation of QIIME using it. It's a gigantic headache.</p>

        • JudaZuk

          21 May, 2017 - 11:48 pm

          <blockquote><a href="#118266"><em>In reply to Illusive_Man:</em></a><em> </em>So if you have the specific need to study <span style="background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">Microbial Ecology it is a hassle if you choose to not follow the recommendations ? Yeah. . sure .. Linux Subsystem sucks because of that .. *Sigh*</span></blockquote><blockquote><br></blockquote><p><br></p>

        • richturn_ms

          07 July, 2017 - 6:21 pm

          <blockquote><a href="#118266"><em>In reply to Illusive_Man:</em></a></blockquote><p>With respect: QIIME should install in Ubuntu on WSL exactly as it does on an Ubuntu VM. Don't like the fact that you have to do all the manual steps? Ask the QIIME team to create an apt package.</p>

  • jholbrook385

    Premium Member
    19 May, 2017 - 8:57 pm

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

    • NazmusLabs

      19 May, 2017 - 9:52 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#118188"><em>In reply to jholbrook385:</em></a></blockquote><p>I highly doubt it. Windows doesn't support downgrading an edition without a reinstall. You can't go from pro to home, for instance. Also, this would create weirdsituations where, say you install Steam or another app outside of the Store and then downgrade to S, how does that treat your existing files and apps, and changes to the registry, etc</p>

    • MattHewitt

      Premium Member
      19 May, 2017 - 11:08 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#118188"><em>In reply to jholbrook385:</em></a></blockquote><p>I think you could basically do this just by going into the Settings app under programs and selecting the option to only allow Windows to install apps from the store.</p>

      • hrlngrv

        Premium Member
        21 May, 2017 - 5:52 pm

        <p><a href="#118202"><em>In reply to MattHewitt:</em></a></p><p>That'd only prevent installing new software not from the Windows Store. It'd have no effect on software already installed. Not the same.</p>

    • JudaZuk

      21 May, 2017 - 11:44 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#118188"><em>In reply to jholbrook385:</em></a><em> Well Microsoft did mentioned something about that schools could change current Windows PC's to Windows 10S but I have not found any information on how they can do this. </em></blockquote><p><br></p>

  • wright_is

    Premium Member
    19 May, 2017 - 9:49 pm

    <p>Hardly a surprise. It doesn't support "normal" Win32 applications, why would it support Linux?</p><p>That is a feature for developers / professionals / enthusiasts and they would want the full Pro experience anyway.</p>

  • MutualCore

    20 May, 2017 - 12:53 am

    <p>As usual Paul has to write a Microsoft-negative article about nothing.</p>

    • prettyconfusd

      20 May, 2017 - 4:30 am

      <blockquote><a href="#118207"><em>In reply to MutualCore:</em></a></blockquote><p><br></p><p>It's not a negative article, which article did you read? ? </p><p><br></p><p>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…</p><p><br></p>

    • Bart

      Premium Member
      20 May, 2017 - 11:12 am

      <blockquote><a href="#118207"><em>In reply to MutualCore:</em></a></blockquote><p>It is a positive thing. So not sure what you mean…?</p>

  • pepesilvia

    20 May, 2017 - 3:41 am

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

    • dcdevito

      20 May, 2017 - 10:16 am

      <blockquote><a href="#118225"><em>In reply to pepesilvia:</em></a></blockquote><p>Exactly. This is a good thing</p>

  • rameshthanikodi

    20 May, 2017 - 7:16 am

    <p>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?</p>

  • John Scott

    20 May, 2017 - 8:01 am

    <p>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. </p>

  • jimchamplin

    Premium Member
    20 May, 2017 - 9:59 am

    <p>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. </p><p>Not unless a lot of changes are made so that it plays by the rules. But then, they <em>could</em> 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!</p><p>&gt;shrug&lt;</p>

  • Sai Rahul

    20 May, 2017 - 10:18 am

    <p>i don't think that would effect any developer</p>

    • Sai Rahul

      20 May, 2017 - 10:19 am

      <p>But I think it would be better if they made it work in the long run if 10s is the future</p>

    • skane2600

      20 May, 2017 - 11:11 am

      <blockquote><a href="#118255"><em>In reply to Sai Rahul:</em></a></blockquote><p>I suspect that Linux on any version of Windows is of minimal effect on Windows developers.</p>

      • richturn_ms

        07 July, 2017 - 5:36 pm

        <blockquote><a href="#118273"><em>In reply to skane2600:</em></a></blockquote><p>I think that the several hundred thousand monthly active users of WSL might disagree with you there ;)</p>

  • Bart

    Premium Member
    20 May, 2017 - 11:11 am

    <p>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</p>

  • skane2600

    20 May, 2017 - 11:23 am

    <p>&nbsp;" ..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."</p><p><br></p><p>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?</p>

    • Waethorn

      20 May, 2017 - 12:11 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#118279"><em>In reply to skane2600:</em></a></blockquote><p>Look it up in the Windows Store – there's a comparison chart there.</p>

      • skane2600

        20 May, 2017 - 4:39 pm

        <blockquote><a href="#118302"><em>In reply to Waethorn:</em></a></blockquote><p>Do you have a link? Perhaps I didn't look carefully enough. I could find a comparison chart between Pro and Home but not between S and Home.</p>

  • JudaZuk

    21 May, 2017 - 11:40 pm

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

  • Boris Zakharin

    22 May, 2017 - 9:32 am

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

    • skane2600

      22 May, 2017 - 6:46 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#118606"><em>In reply to Boris Zakharin:</em></a></blockquote><p>Handy tech tools but the target market for Windows S has never heard of them. </p>


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