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.”


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