Microsoft Opens up the Windows Subsystem for Linux to All Developers

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.

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“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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Conversation 10 comments

  • alexoughton

    Premium Member
    28 March, 2018 - 10:48 am

    <p>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.</p>

  • curtisspendlove

    28 March, 2018 - 11:55 am

    <p>This is excellent. </p>

  • Jules Wombat

    28 March, 2018 - 3:13 pm

    <p>Pretty awesome move</p>

  • Waethorn

    28 March, 2018 - 3:40 pm

    <p>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?</p>

    • NazmusLabs

      28 March, 2018 - 4:46 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#257277"><em>In reply to Waethorn:</em></a></blockquote><p>You don't need to compile the Linux OS. You simply package the precompiled binary</p>

    • wright_is

      Premium Member
      29 March, 2018 - 2:09 am

      <blockquote><a href="#257277"><em>In reply to Waethorn:</em></a></blockquote><p>If you recompile it, why would it break the GPL? That would only be the case if you amended it and didn't push the changes back or you used it in a commercial product without offering the source code.</p><p>All you are doing here is installing pre-built packages.</p><p> I suppose, in theory, you could install a Gentoo base system and gcc the rest of the distribution around it.</p>

  • mrdrwest

    28 March, 2018 - 7:46 pm

    <p>AWESOME!</p>

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