Microsoft Opens up the Windows Subsystem for Linux to All Developers

Posted on March 28, 2018 by Mehedi Hassan in Windows 10 with 9 Comments

Microsoft is opening up its Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) to all developers in Windows 10. The company already worked with developers of some of the world’s most popular Linux distributions such as Ubuntu and Debian to make them readily available from the Microsoft Store.

And now, it’s releasing a new open-source reference project that lets almost anyone build their own Linux distro for WSL. Using the open-source distribution launcher, anyone can sideload their custom Linux distro into their machine and run it like a regular Linux environment within Windows 10. And if developers of these Linux distros want to take things a step further, they can get in touch with Microsoft and publish their custom-built distro to the Microsoft Store. These distros run as regular Universal Windows Platform applications, and you shouldn’t have too much trouble building them for the WSL if you are already familiar with custom Linux distros.

“We know that many Linux distros rely entirely on open source software, so we would like to bring WSL closer to the OSS community. We hope open sourcing this project will help increase community engagement and bring more of your favorite distros to the Microsoft Store,” Microsoft’s Tara Raj said in a blog post.

Developers interested in building their own Linux distros for the WSL can find the open-source distribution launcher on GitHub here.

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Comments (10)

10 responses to “Microsoft Opens up the Windows Subsystem for Linux to All Developers”

  1. alexoughton

    This is awesome. I have my own method to backup my entire WSL system so that I can restore it to a new machine or reinstalled Windows (like I just had to do). Restoring it is a (hacky) pain, but it sounds like I could use this method to build an installer from my backup.

  2. Waethorn

    So, I'm trying to figure this stuff out. Are you supposed to recompile the complete distro source code in VS just to get this to work? Doesn't that go against the GPL?

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