Open-source developers and Linux distribution maintainers now have more options for working on Windows 10 systems. Microsoft recently released a new tool on the Windows Store allowing programmers to test run production code in a command line window. The tool is free and expands upon a previous version that only allowed for Ubuntu, now offering support for Suse, Fedora, Kali Linux, Debian, and a few others as well.
Linux developers and distributors will now be able to directly release their distros on the Windows Store, however. They will be required to submit their software to the WSL (Windows Subsystems for Linux) team for publication. What they can do is build distribution packages that can be side-loaded onto developer mode-enabled W10 systems.
Pund-IT president Charles King says the WSL “could result in an increase in he number and variety of compatible Linux distros and apps available in the Windows Store. That’s no small thing.” WSL is still relatively new. It controls and regulates the process of communication between the two systems, and Microsoft plans to expand its capabilities in a coming update to Windows version 1803. One addition will be support for background tasks.
It’s a start, but Microsoft isn’t without its competition. VirtualBox is another open-source tool capable of hosting on one system and guest-running another simultaneously. This allows users to more cleanly integrate the two and compatible software to be run normally.
Since Microsoft’s WSL is only beginning to learn to walk, it’s got a bit of catching up to do, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Whether or not the software takes off depends on how Microsoft refines the UI and innovates new methods of integration and customization. Open-source is a powerful and attractive thing, and the days wherein it fails to compete on equal footing with the big names are long gone and forgotten.