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Windows 10 gets a built-in Linux kernel



  Linux Tux Mascot on Windows 10
Larry Ewing

Microsoft today announced Windows Subsystem for Linux version 2, that is WSL 2. It will include "dramatic file system performance increases" and support for Docker. To do all this, Windows 1

0 can have a Linux kernel.

No, Microsoft does not make Windows 10 a Linux distribution. It will still be based on the Windows kernel. But Microsoft "will send a real Linux kernel with Windows that allows complete system call compatibility." The core will be compiled by Microsoft based on the latest stable branch of the kernel.org core chain. It is originally based on version 4.19 of the Linux kernel.

Microsoft's Linux kernel will be customized for WSL 2 and "optimized for size and performance to provide a great Linux experience on Windows." The Linux kernel is updated via Windows Update. Yes, you get updates on the Linux kernel through Windows Update. The kernel's full source code will be available online at Github.

This Linux kernel is optimized for small size, improved boot times and low memory usage. It will replace the "emulation architecture presented in the WSL1 design."

This drastic change means that WSL now offers improved file system performance. It has complete system call compatibility. That means you can run Docker and other Linux apps on Windows with WSL 2. But this is not slow licking a VM it is as fast as WSL 1 or even faster. Here's what Microsoft says about it:

File-intensive operations like git clone npm install apt update apt upgrade and more will all be labeled faster. The actual speed increase depends on which app you are running and how it interacts with the file system. Initial tests that we have run have WSL 2 which goes up to 20x faster compared to WSL 1 when we unpack a zipped tarball and around 2-5x faster when we use git clone, install and cmake on several different project. We look forward to seeing speed comparisons from society when we release!

The initial release of WSL 2 will be released at the end of June 2019 in Insider Builds of Windows 10. Read Microsoft's blog for more information on its Linux kernel

Microsoft launches a new Windows Terminal app that does this next the version of the WSL work even better.

RELATED: Finally, Windows 10 gets a real command line


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