Microsoft to ship Linux Kernel in Windows

Microsoft to ship Linux Kernel in Windows

Microsoft has announced that the company will include an in-house custom-built Linux Kernel in Windows.

This implementation is the first time that the Linux kernel will be included as a component in Windows to underpin the newest version of the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) — WSL2. Like with WSL1, WSL2 will not provide any userspace binaries, instead, the Microsoft kernel will interface with userspace selected by the user. The installation comes via the Windows store but, it can sideloaded through custom distribution package.


The kernel will be based on version 4.19 initially which is the latest stable release of Linux. There will also be local patches that tune the resulting binary for use in WSL2; improving launch times, reducing the memory footprint, and curating a minimal set of supported devices.

“This is the culmination of years of effort from the Linux Systems Group as well as multiple other teams across Microsoft. We are excited to be able to share the result and look forward to the new and interesting ways in which you will use WSL.”

As for security, the WSL kernel will be built using Microsoft’s CI/CD systems and serviced through Windows Update that is transparent to the user.

The kernel that will be provided for WSL2 will be fully open-sourced. Once it releases in Windows Insider builds this Summer. Instructions for creating user’s own WSL kernel will be available on Github. To know more about the new Linux Kernel update, read the full blog post here.

Vaughn is your go-to person when it comes to comparing gadgets especially smartphones. He's also a gamer by heart and the "Hackerman" of the team.

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1 Response

  1. bern says:

    Finally, the other way around, instead of waiting for Linux distro to come up with better UI that would fare well if you stack it up against Windows, why not bring all Linux distros up into windows, for it has been a very long time and year 2020 is closing by, but until now and despite the fact that there are lot of Linux distros and large linux communities around, no Linux
    distro is able to come up with a better UI in terms of usability. They all fall short if you compare them with windows experience.

    Thanks for this because I have been using WSL and it has been a great experience to run full Linux under windows, with this coming up version, a better experience Linux + windows is very exciting to anticipate for.

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