Microsoft’s Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL), which allows running GNU/Linux environments on Windows 10 and Windows 11, has reached version 1.0.0 and is now available.

Microsoft has been building WSL, including its own custom Linux kernel, for several years now. At first, WSL and WSL2 were an optional component of Windows, but last October Microsoft made the pre-release version of WSL available in the Microsoft Store as a separate app.

The Store version could offer users – primarily developers and IT pros – faster updates and features independent of Windows updates.

Microsoft makes the Store’s WSL app the default app for new users

WSL is popular among developers: Stack Overflow’s 2022 developer survey found that WSL was used by 15% of developers, compared to 31% on macOS, 40% on a Linux distribution, and 62% on Windows.

In addition to removing the “preview” tag from WSL, Microsoft is making the Store’s WSL app the default app for new users.

As Microsoft indicated last October when Windows 11 was released, the long-term plan was to upgrade WSL users to the Store version. However, Windows 11 still supported the “inbox version” of WSL while continuing development of the Store version.

Option to opt for systemd support

With this release, Microsoft is backing WSL functionality to Windows 10 and 11 to make the Store version of WSL the default experience. The latest backport is available to “researchers” who click “Check for Updates” in Windows Settings, but in mid-December it will be pushed to devices automatically.

Updates are available for Windows 10 version 21H1, 21H2, or 22H2, or for Windows 11 21H2 with all November updates applied.

“Once you have the correct version of Windows, if you are a new user, you can simply run wsl –install and you will be immediately configured to use WSL. If you are an existing user, run wsl –update to skip to the latest version of Store,” says Craig Loewen, Microsoft’s WSL program manager.

Microsoft detailed a number of command changes now that the Store version of WSL is the default, noting that “wsl.exe –install will now automatically install the Store version of WSL, and no longer enable the optional component “Windows Subsystem for Linux”, nor will install the MSI WSL kernel or WSLg packages because they are no longer needed”. The optional virtual machine platform component will still be enabled, and Ubuntu will still be installed by default.

Microsoft said that when running WSL using the Windows optional component version, once a week it will show a message on startup that you can upgrade to the Store version by running wsl –update.

One of the major new features of WSL 1.0 is the ability for users to opt in to support for systemd, Linux’s system and services manager that was once decried and runs default in several Linux distributions, including Ubuntu and Debian. Microsoft began allowing systemd to run in WSL distros in September after making the necessary architectural changes to the WSL initialization process to make systemd the first process on a Linux system to launch the rest of the system.

Additionally, Windows 10 users can use Linux GUI apps, a capability that was previously reserved for Windows 11 users.

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Tarun Kumar

Tarun Kumar has worked in the News sector for 05 years and is currently the Owner and Editor of Then24. He reside in Delhi, India with his Family.

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