Kali Linux Comes to Windows 10’s WSL

Posted on March 6, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 5 Comments

Installing xfce4 on Kali Linux over WSL, Windows 10 from Offensive Security on Vimeo.

Kali Linux has joined a growing list of Linux environments that are available in Windows 10’s Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL).

I first learned about this from Neowin. But as it turns out, Kali arrived in the Microsoft Store almost two weeks ago. Oops.

“We’ve been working with the Microsoft WSL team to get Kali Linux introduced into the Microsoft App Store as an official WSL distribution and today we’re happy to announce the availability of the ‘Kali Linux’ Windows application,” a Kali blog post from February 21 notes. “For Windows 10 users, this means you can simply enable WSL, search for Kali in the Windows store, and install it with a single click. This is especially exciting news for penetration testers and security professionals who have limited toolsets due to enterprise compliance standards.”

That last bit refers to the point behind this particular Linux distribution: Kali Linux, which I’m not sure I’d ever heard of, is maintained and funded by Offensive Security, which describes itself as “a provider of world-class information security training and penetration testing services.” The firm notes that Kali Linux is “funded, developed and maintained as a free and open-source penetration testing platform.”

So, we’ve come a long way in a pretty short period of time. No, I’m not referring to Steve Ballmer’s “Linux is cancer” scare tactics from a decade ago. As recently as late 2016, the Linux community was accusing Microsoft of locking Linux out of new PCs. But that was just a conspiracy theory, as PC makers later explained. A byproduct of years of resentment, of bad feelings that just won’t go away no matter how much Microsoft embraces Linux and open source.

But embrace it, Microsoft has. From adding the Windows Subsystem for Linux to Windows 10 to completely overhauling its proprietary .NET stack into an open source version called .NET Core and then deprecating the old stuff, today’s Microsoft bears no similarity at all to the Microsoft of the past. Hell, Microsoft has even brought PowerShell Core to macOS and Linux too. It’s time to move on, folks.

Anyway, Kali joins other Linux distributions like Ubuntu and SUSE in the Microsoft Store. And more, like Red Hat, are expected as well.

Kali Linux is free in the Microsoft Store.


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