Three flavors of Linux are coming to Windows Store


— 5:00 PM on May 12, 2017

One of the highlights of Microsoft's Build conference last year was the announcement of an Ubuntu-based Linux subsystem for Windows 10. The company's recent announcement of Windows 10 S and its Store-bound app installation left many wondering if the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) would be present in the new version of the operating system. Microsoft yesterday cleared that right up and announced that WSL installations based on Fedora, SuSE, and Ubuntu will all offered in the Windows Store.

Microsoft is pitching Windows S as a competitor for Chromebooks in the education sector. Computer science and other technology-related programs in universities around the globe usually make varying use of Linux as part of their curricula. Chromebooks offer limited Linux command-line capabilities through a built-in terminal application, and whole-hog Linux VMs are relatively easy to install using tools like Crouton. As a university student, I used a Chromebook with Crouton almost exclusively.

The ability to download WSL distributions through the Windows Store should be a bit less complicated than the current method. Users will be able to install one, two, or all three Linux distributions as needed. Up to this point, Ubuntu was the only option. Users will also get the ability to install the WSL distributions to drives other than the primary system drive.

The availability and continued support of WSL in Windows 10 S bolsters that operating system's credentials for use in education settings. Microsoft promises that educational buyers who have a need for the capabilities of a full-fat Windows installation will be able to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro for no charge. Other Windows 10 S system owners must pay $50 for the same upgrade. It appears that links, w3c, and other text-mode browsers might end up easier to install on Windows 10 S than Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.

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