Windows Subsystem for Linux

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Windows Subsystem for Linux
A component of Microsoft Windows
Bash running on Windows 10
Type Compatibility layer
Included with Windows 10 Anniversary Update
Replaces Windows Services for UNIX

Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) is a compatibility layer for running Linux binary executables (in ELF format) natively on Windows 10. WSL provides a Linux-compatible kernel interface developed by Microsoft (containing no Linux kernel code), which can then run a Linux userland on top of it, such as that of Ubuntu,[1][2][3][4] SUSE or Fedora.[5][6] Such a userland might contain a Bash shell and command language, with native Linux command-line tools (sed, awk, etc.) and programming language interpreters (Ruby, Python, etc.).[7]

When introduced with the Anniversary Update, only an Ubuntu image was available. The Fall Creators Update moved the installation process for Linux distributions to the Windows Store, and introduced Fedora and Suse images.[6]

This subsystem cannot run all Linux software, such as those in need of unimplemented Linux kernel services.[8] It is possible to run some graphical applications by installing an X11 server within the Windows environment, although it was found to be an unstable method.[9]

Windows Subsystem for Linux is only available on 64-bit editions of Windows 10[7] and can be activated on Windows 10 Anniversary Update and later. The subsystem originated in the unreleased Project Astoria, which enabled some Android applications to run on Windows 10 Mobile.[8] It was first made available in Windows 10 Insider Preview build 14316.[10]

Microsoft envisages WSL as "primarily a tool for developers – especially web developers and those who work on or with open source projects".[7] WSL uses fewer resources than a fully virtualized machine, the most direct way to run Linux software in a Windows environment, while also allowing users to use Windows apps and Linux tools on the same set of files.[7]

See also


  1. ^ Harsh, Mike (30 March 2016). "Run Bash on Ubuntu on Windows". Building Apps for Windows. Microsoft. 
  2. ^ Finley, Klint (30 March 2016). "Why Microsoft Making Linux Apps Run on Windows Isn't Crazy". Wired. Condé Nast. 
  3. ^ Kirkland, Dustin (30 March 2016). "Ubuntu on Windows – The Ubuntu Userspace for Windows Developers". Ubuntu Insights. Canonical. 
  4. ^ Hammons, Jack (9 April 2016). "Bash on Ubuntu on Windows". MSDN. Microsoft. 
  5. ^ Yegulalp, Serdar. "Windows Subsystem for Linux welcomes Suse and Fedora options". InfoWorlddate=2017-05-12. Retrieved 2017-09-16. 
  6. ^ a b "Ubuntu now available from the Windows Store!". Windows Command Line Tools For Developers Blog. July 10, 2017. Retrieved 2017-08-11. 
  7. ^ a b c d "Frequently Asked Questions for WSL". Microsoft. Retrieved 2016-11-13. 
  8. ^ a b Bright, Peter (6 April 2016). "Why Microsoft needed to make Windows run Linux software". Ars Technica. Condé Nast. 
  9. ^ "Windows 10's Bash shell can run graphical Linux applications with this trick". PC World. Retrieved 28 May 2017. 
  10. ^ Aul, Gabe (6 April 2016). "Announcing Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 14316". Windows Experience Blog. Microsoft. 

External links

  • Official website
  • BashOnWindows on GitHub
  • Windows Command Line Tools For Developers blog
  • Fun with the Windows Subsystem for Linux blog post
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