WSL becomes a Microsoft Store app

WSL becomes a Microsoft Store app
WSL becomes a Microsoft Store app

WSL (acronym which stands for Windows Subsystem for Linux) represents one of the most interesting features for those involved in development on Microsoft systems. Through WSL, it is in fact possible to run, for example, the Ubuntu bash directly on Windows, with the possibility of exploiting typical Linux tools, which were previously exclusive to platforms equipped with the penguin operating system.

In a recent post, Microsoft revealed that the new version of WSL will come released in the form of an app, downloadable via the Microsoft Store.

WSL Becomes an App: Why?

Turning WSL into an app may sound strange, since the purpose of this system was to make Linux become a Windows integration to some extent, removing the need to rely on heavy virtual machines or Docker containers.

Microsoft’s motivations for this choice lie in the current difficulty of maintaining WSL and Windows independently. Currently, in fact, it would seem impossible to update one without appropriately adapting the other.

Craig Loewen, program manager at Microsoft, explained that, “WSL was originally intended as an optional component of Windows. The binaries that make up the actual WSL logic within this optional component are therefore part of the Windows image, and are provided and updated as part of the entire operating system ”.

Logically, then, the decoupling of WSL and Windows means that Microsoft can update WSL more often. And the same goes for individual users.

With the choice to switch to the “app” version of WSL, as soon as the new features are developed, tested and ready for release, users will be able to immediately access them, much faster than before.

What new features do you expect with WSL?

Among the new features mentioned by Lowen, which Microsoft is still working on, are the support of visual apps (with the integration of the GUI with the Windows desktop), support for computing on the GPU and the ability to mount the drive of the Linux file system.

The preview version of WSL already includes some features not yet available in the integrated version of WSL. Among these it is worth mentioning the option --mount of the command wsl.exe (which also includes automatic file system detection), and updating the Linux kernel to version 5.10.60.1.

Microsoft’s goal is clearly to make the “app” version of WSL available through the Microsoft Store the best way to install and use this subsystem. A push towards this option is therefore likely to be expected, at least in the long term.

Source: Windows Command Line

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