Windows Subsystem for Linux becomes an app • The Register

Microsoft has made its Store the home of the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WLS).

“The Store version of WSL is now the default version of WSL,” wrote Craig Loewen, a program manager for the Windows Developer Platform, in a Tuesday post.

“The in-Windows version of WSL will continue to receive important bug fixes, but new features and functionality will be added to the store version of WSL,” Loewen explained.

WSL is an app on the Microsoft Store that lets you run real Linux that integrates directly with Windows

The store version will even be the default version for those who use it wsl –install command from the terminal. Running the command will automatically install the store version of WSL. The optional Windows Subsystem for Linux is no longer enabled and the WSL kernel or WSLg MSI packages are no longer installed as they are no longer needed.

Loewen admits that this is all a bit confusing, as Microsoft offers two types of WSL distributions: WSL 1, which isn’t really a VM and doesn’t offer the full Linux kernel, and WSL 2, which is a full Linux VM is. “There’s also the ‘In-Windows’ version of WSL as an optional Windows component and WSL in the Microsoft Store as a ‘Store version of WSL,'” Loewen clarified.

“With this update, our goal is to simplify our versioning history. Since WSL 2 is the default distribution type and the Store version of WSL is the default install location, you can just say: WSL is an app in the Microsoft Store that lets you run up-to-date Linux that integrates directly with Windows.”

The news that the store-bought version of WSL has become Microsoft’s main game came with a status change for the software – from preview to general availability – as well as work to ensure it runs on both Windows 10 and Windows 10 works on Windows 11.

The update also adds the following features:

  • --enable-wsl1 Enables WSL 1 support during installation of the Microsoft Store version by also enabling the Windows Subsystem for Linux optional component;
  • --no-distribution Do not install a distribution when installing WSL;
  • --no-launch Do not start the distribution automatically after installation;
  • --web-download Download the latest version of WSL from the web instead of the Microsoft Store.
  • wsl.exe --update Locate the WSL MSIX package from the Microsoft Store and apply updates to it instead of updating the WSL kernel MSI.
  • If you’re running WSL with the optional Windows component version, you’ll see a message at startup once a week indicating that you can upgrade to the store version by running it wsl --update.

Other additions include the option for adoption system and the ability to run Linux GUI apps on Windows 10.

While the Store is now Microsoft’s preferred and default way to access and install WSL, the project’s GitHub page still offers releases that can be installed manually. ® Windows Subsystem for Linux becomes an app • The Register

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