Linux in Windows 10 October update: This is how we've improved WSL, says Microsoft

Microsoft makes Notepad friendlier for developers working with Linux and Unix line endings.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Microsoft has announced the availability of two new Linux distributions for Windows Subsystem for Linux to coincide with the release of the Windows 10 October 2018 Update, aka version 1809.

While Windows 10 1809 is still under review due to the data-loss bug, Microsoft has now outlined how 1809 will bring more support for Linux distributions through the Windows 10 Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL).

Microsoft has welcomed the new-ish Debian-based Linux distribution WLinux to the Microsoft Store, which is notable because it's the first distro available for WLS that users need to buy. At the moment it costs $9.99, but normally costs $19.99.

Built by Whitewater Foundry, it's promoted as a "fast Linux terminal environment for developers" using WSL for Windows 10.

"WLinux is a custom Linux distro built from Debian specifically for use on WSL. While other distros are available for WSL, WLinux is the first optimized for use by users of WSL."

It supports Linux graphical applications if a Windows X client like X410 is being used and removes unsupported packages like systemd.

Additionally, OpenSUSE 15 and SLES 15 are now available from the Microsoft Store.

SEE: 20 pro tips to make Windows 10 work the way you want (free PDF)

Ubuntu 18.04 LTS has been available on the Microsoft Store since May, but now Ubuntu 18.04 and WSL can run on Arm devices.

The Microsoft Store will detect if the device being used to download Ubuntu 18.04 is Arm and automatically provides the right version.

Windows 10 1809 also fixes Windows Notepad's historical lack of support for Linux and Unix line endings.

As noted in an earlier preview, Notepad now uses Windows line ending (CRLF) by default, but devs can view, edit, and print existing files without losing the file's current line ending format.

With Windows 10 1809, it is now possible to launch a Linux Shell from File Explorer via a new 'Open Linux shell here' in the menu that appears when picking a folder and then holding Shift+Right Click. And developers can install WSL distributions from the command line.

Finally, Microsoft has enabled copy and paste and text shortcut functionality between Linux and WSL consoles.

Many of the features outlined today were previously announced for preview builds of Windows 10 1809.

Microsoft has also detailed a long list of WSL-specific bug fixes that are available in Windows 10 1809.


Microsoft has added an 'Open Linux shell here' context menu entry to the shell in Windows 10.

Image: Microsoft

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