Bringing the unmatched Linux experience to the world of windows is being made possible by Microsoft through its windows subsystem for Linux (WSL) that has been released as open-source software to the public.
Though the then newly appointed CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, publicly declared Microsoft’s love for Linux, many in the free and open source software (FOSS) community took it with grain of salt. Some saw it as a marketing gimmick, one of many sneaky tricks in Microsoft’s play-book; and hence should never be trusted. Anyway, there’s has been enough bad blood between Microsoft and FOSS enthusiasts over the years to warrant such distrust for anything Microsoft.
But now it seems that Microsoft is turning a new leaf with every full moon. Backing its words with action as more collaboration with the world of FOSS – like releasing formerly close-source applications (.NET) as open-source , becoming a member (or partner) of the Linux Foundation or contributing to already open-sourced software infrastructures.
The WSL is software application that makes the installation of a Linux distribution (distro) on windows easy. Though you can not install a full-fledged Linux distribution with it, it is a good way of giving windows users a fair amount of the Linux command-line experience (and power) that is inherently deficient in windows.
This afford Linux distro maintainers the opportunity and platform to create and implement a custom/minimalistic widows build of their distros.
Open-source developers can also leverage this opportunity to test code (especially when its relates to a Linux architecture) before shipping to production, on their windows machine. This would be made possible with the command-line (shell) applications and programming languages that are now available with this integration.
Of course this would increase the familiarity with the operating system (OS) and probably influence the user-base of Linux. For instance, employees can also use Linux at work even if the companies they work for only uses windows on their machines.
Major Linux distros have been integrated into WSL like ubuntu, SUSE, Fedora, Kali, and Debian. Another wonderful feature is that WSL allows multiple distros to be installed side by side.
The WSL is now available in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. And can be installed like this.
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