Integrated Linux in Windows 10: Killing two birds with one stone

Not only does Microsoft want to please developers, but Microsoft also wants to convince them to give up  Macs to use Windows.

Even in Microsoft, many cloud software developers have stopped using Windows and started using Apple's MacBook or Mac desktop to work. Even when entering the office of a startup or a developer event, people will often see a long line of MacBooks instead of Windows computers.

To regain interest from their developers, Microsoft has begun to investigate what will bring them back to Windows. Feedback shows an interesting result. Many developers, both inside and outside Microsoft, said they wanted to run their software on Linux, an open-source operating system that was popular with developers.

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Therefore, in 2016, Microsoft introduced the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL), which could allow Windows 10 users to run a full Linux version right on their computers. WSL is a huge hit for many developers and now has 3.5 million active users, according to Kevin Gallo, vice president of collaboration for the Windows Developer Platform.

"It overshadowed every statement we made," Mr. Gallo told Business Insider. "It blew away our numbers. It turns out there are a lot of people who care about this. This is really a wake-up thing for us. We anticipated there would be users interested in this, but that interest is more than I thought."

The first problem with WSL integration was that while it worked on Linux software on Windows 10, everything else still had to be filtered through Windows kernel - the core of the operating system, managing the most basic functions, such as memory and processor. WSL compiles the Linux software requirements into something that the Windows kernel understands and vice versa. It still runs but will be slow.

Until last Monday, the opening day for Microsoft's Build 2019 event, the company introduced Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 - allowing the company to reach new developers at a new level by actually bringing in a full version of the Linux kernel, specifically designed to run alongside the Windows kernel.

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Although it’s only in theory, at least this means that Windows 10 computers will be able to do whatever the Linux operating system can do because, with this new software feature, this is really a Linux computer. WSL 2 will be available through the Windows Insider program at the end of June 2019, and the extensive release will take place later.

Killing two birds with one stone

According to Gallo, bringing WSL 2 to Windows 10 is to kill two birds with one stone. Not only does Windows 10 become the best operating system for software development, but it can also entice users from Apple's Mac.

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Besides WSL 2, Microsoft also said that they have revised the terminal command window, allowing developers to write stronger and more specific commands for their computers. The update will also include opening multiple tabs, emoji support, and many other customization options.

Despite the poor past of Microsoft and Linux, everything has changed completely since Satya Nadella took over as CEO of the company in 2014. He even performed a slide with the title "Microsoft Loves Linux", which said it would allow developers to run Linux right on the Microsoft Azure cloud.

Since then, the relationship between Microsoft and the Linux community has continued to grow. In 2018, the company also distributed their own special version of Linux for connected devices. Also last year, Microsoft bought GitHub, the world's largest open source sharing platform of the developer community.

By: Scarlet Johnson

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