Linux is no stranger to Windows. In the past, we’ve discussed how Linux was introduced in Windows 10. Recently, Microsoft took a step further and announced an update to implement a full Linux kernel in the operating system. But what does it mean and most importantly, what does it mean for Windows users?
Why is Microsoft adding a Linux kernel?
Again, Linux is not entirely new to Windows. For a while, Windows 10 had a so-called Windows subsystem for Linux (WSL). WSL is focused on allowing Windows to use Linux tools such as Bash. It didn’t let people launch a full Linux interface like KDE, but it did give Windows users a way to use Linux tools without virtual machines.
Now Microsoft is working on a complete kernel in Windows. This requires a new version of the Windows subsystem for Linux, called WSL2. This is the first time the Linux kernel has been integrated into Windows, and it is the next step in Linux support in Windows.
What kernel is used?
Linux enthusiasts may be disappointed to hear that Windows is not going to use an existing kernel. They create their own version, which is then implemented in Windows.
However, WSL2 does not enter its own user space; you can customize what is installed in WSL2. This gives you some freedom to customize WSL2, though not as much as some users might like.
Is this a virtual machine for Linux?
If you want to run the entire Linux desktop on Windows, you will be disappointed with this update! Although you can use Linux in this update, it is not like a virtual machine. However, if you want to use certain Linux tools on Windows, WSL2 is probably a nice addition.
Is this a sign that Windows is fighting Linux?
When we last talked about this topic, we asked if this was a sign that Windows was trying to remove Linux – or at least combat it. I had the impression at the time that Windows was interested in Linux; now that all this Microsoft customized core is this feeling stronger than ever.
By enabling the kernel in Windows 10, Microsoft is likely to promise to prevent users from copying a Linux boot. Why switch between Windows and Linux when you can do everything with WSL2? It’s a convenient way for someone to use Linux tools on Windows without virtual machines or dual booting.
Related: Jessica Jones shows how horror and superheroes combine
However, as we said last time, this change is unlikely to turn Linux users into Windows. Linux users will have more problems with Windows 10 themselves, and they are unlikely to install Windows 10 on their favorite distribution. In fact, thanks to the latest facade of the Windows update, Linux users are probably a long way from deploying Windows 10!
The heart of panic
When Windows 10 opens for Linux, the next update will include a fully custom kernel. While not a full-featured distro, it is a useful tool for using Linux tools on Windows – although some Linux users feel that Microsoft is trying to combat the system.
Do you think this is a case where Microsoft is fighting its competition? Or is it just a handy tool without irritation? Let us know below.