Microsoft announces ‘Windows 10 will be getting a built-in Linux Kernel’

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Microsoft today announced in a blog post that it is going to ship a full Linux kernel in Windows 10 which will be the backbone for Windows Subsystem for Linux version 2 (WSL 2). It will be arriving first with Insider preview builds by the end of June.

“Beginning with Windows Insiders builds this Summer, we will include an in-house custom-built Linux kernel to underpin the newest version of the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL),” explains Microsoft program manager Jack Hammons. “The kernel itself will initially be based on version 4.19, the latest long-term stable release of Linux. The kernel will be rebased at the designation of new long-term stable releases to ensure that the WSL kernel always has the latest Linux goodness.”

Microsoft isn’t going to make Windows 10 into a Linux distribution. It will still be based on the Windows kernel. But Microsoft “will be shipping a real Linux kernel with Windows that will make full system call compatibility possible.” The kernel will be compiled by Microsoft based on the latest stable branch of the kernel.org source code. It will initially be based on version 4.19 of the Linux kernel.

For developers, it should improve the performance of Microsoft’s Linux subsystem in Windows. Microsoft also promises to update this kernel through Windows Update which will be fully open source with the ability for developers to create their own WSL kernel and contribute changes.

Microsoft’s blog read the initial release of WSL 2 will be arriving somewhere near the end of June 2019 in Insider builds of Windows 10.

“WSL 2 will bring improvements to filesystem I/O performance, offer improved Linux compatibility, and will now be able to run Docker containers natively so that a VM is no longer needed for containers on Windows”, officials said.

Microsoft also disclosed today that it will be providing a new Windows Terminal application with tabs, tear-away windows and shortcuts, emojis and support for themes and extensions. A preview of the new Windows Terminal is available now.

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