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Microsoft releases first Windows 10 build with native Linux kernel

MICROSOFT HAS LAUNCHED a preview of its Linux kernel for Windows 10.

The company pledged to add a native kernel several months ago, as a more robust replacement for the more emulation-based version in current builds.

Members of the Windows Insider Program can now download Build 18917 (20H1), the first to contain Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 (WSL2).

Benefits of the new version include being able to put Linux files straight into the root file system of your Linux instance. When you’re using Windows, you’ll be able to access all your Linux files without switching.

Networking applications now require you to know the IP address of both operating systems (Linux is kept in a VM sandbox) in order to network them together. You’ll be able to access them from localhost at a later date.

There are some new commands to allow you to migrate your system from WSL1 to WSL2 so you won’t have to faff about with legacy systems too much.

It’s expected that we’ll see WSL2 roll out to everyone with the 19H2 build, due in October, but in the meantime (and as ever) Microsoft is keen for as many Insiders as possible to test it to distraction between now and then.

You’ll need to be on the Fast Ring to test it and we’d recommend that you don’t install it on your daily driver machine – the whole point of the Insider Program is that it’s likely to have bugs in it and doubly so with the Fast Ring, so you could find yourself with a borked PC. If in doubt, stick to the latest Build 1903 available in Windows Update.

The Linux Subsystem is the latest in a number of initiatives by Microsoft to make it more Linux compatible. The company even open-sourced a huge number of patents in order to protect Linux, an acknowledgement that the two systems are better allies than enemies. μ

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