Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) is a tool that lets you run a GNU/Linux environment inside a Windows system without needing a virtual machine or dual-boot.
It was released on the Microsoft Store as a preview back in 2021.
📢 Now, the preview label has been removed, signifying that it is stable enough for a 1.0 release.
🎉 Congratulations to the team that made it all possible. Yes, WSL is a big deal now, used by thousands of users/developers to access their favorite Linux command-line tools, applications, and more on Windows.
Whether we hate or love it, Microsoft's Windows platform is undoubtedly the most popular consumer desktop operating system. So, at the end of the day, WSL makes Linux accessible to more users!
You can update WSL from the Microsoft Store to get it or use the command:
If it still does not show up, you can wait or try another command to download the update:
wsl.exe --update --web-download
🤔 Confused about what is WSL 2? And, what's this?
Craig Loewen, Product Manager @ Microsoft, clarified this in a tweet:
Nope they're different! WSL 2 is a way to run a WSL distribution, this is the "build 1.0.0 of WSL in the Store" which is a different way of how you install and service WSL on your machine
WSL 1.0 Milestone: Progress So Far
The beginning: Launched by Microsoft back in 2016 as a beta release, it was initially dubbed as 'Bash coming to Windows'.
Over the years, it received many updates and was later given the name Windows Subsystem for Linux.
Eventually, a major update added support for running Linux GUI apps via WSL. It bought in features such as GPU hardware acceleration and audio/microphone support, with an increment of WSL to WSL 2.
Then came Windows 11: Microsoft decided to make WSL available as an application in the Microsoft Store as a preview version for Windows 11. This was meant to increase the availability of WSL as an app, especially for new users.
What's going on now: A recent update to WSL saw the introduction of support for Systemd, after its creator joined Microsoft.
Related Read 📖
Not to forget, many notable Linux developers have joined Microsoft lately.
After that, various updates were pushed to WSL, introducing various bug fixes and improvements leading to the 1.0 release.
Now that v1.0 is out there. WSL is considered to be generally available for all!
If the "preview" label scared you off earlier, you should try it.
The Road Ahead
Considering that the stable release is now available via the Microsoft Store without the preview tag, this will encourage more users to try it.
With Linux more accessible from within Windows, some users might want to try Linux on their system if they haven't. So, I guess it has been a win-win situation.
💬 Share your thoughts about WSL. Have you tried it yet? Did it prove to be useful?
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