The Windows Subsystem for Linux in the Microsoft Store is now generally available on Windows 10 and 11
Let the fantastical news be proclaimed that will cause cheers of joy to be heard across soylent land!
Today the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) in the Microsoft Store is dropping its "Preview" label and becomes generally available with our latest release! We are also making the Store version of WSL the default for new users who run wsl --install and easily upgradeable by running wsl --update for existing users. Using the Store version of WSL allows you to get updates to WSL much faster compared to when it was a Windows component.In response to the WSL community's requests, WSL in the Store will now also be available on Windows 10 in addition to Windows 11. So, Windows 10 users will also be able to enjoy all of the latest features for WSL including systemd and Linux GUI app support!
Today the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) in the Microsoft Store is dropping its "Preview" label and becomes generally available with our latest release! We are also making the Store version of WSL the default for new users who run wsl --install and easily upgradeable by running wsl --update for existing users. Using the Store version of WSL allows you to get updates to WSL much faster compared to when it was a Windows component.
In response to the WSL community's requests, WSL in the Store will now also be available on Windows 10 in addition to Windows 11. So, Windows 10 users will also be able to enjoy all of the latest features for WSL including systemd and Linux GUI app support!
I notice there is not a wsl -remove option. I don't know what I would have done if they didn't include systemd support.
Privately I use Linux, but I've got this really expensive company issued Windows laptop, with all the Microsoft bells and whistles on it. But in order to do serious development on it, my only choice was to install WSL. For one thing, Docker requires it for its Windows version, so that alone made WSL a requirement for me. I don't want to switch the laptop to Linux or use dual boot, because I need Microsoft Office and some other tools on it to communicate with this company.
I use VirtualBox VMs on my Windows corporate machine for running Linux.
When I read about that route I didn't follow through, because I wasn't sure if I would eventually run into "VM in a VM" type of problems, when running Docker inside a Linux VM. I have never tried that before, I remember reading somewhere that Windows 11 is required for that and I'm trying to avoid W11 for as long as possible.
Docker isn't really a VM, though, is it?
My mistake, I meant Docker Desktop [docker.com], which runs Docker containers in a VM.
You are on the true road to enlightenment when you realize that it is VMs all the way down.
The real advantage of WSL2 (over, say, VirtualBox) is how developers can package user-facing linux apps that have convoluted linux dependencies as a simple .exe like container bundles: https://github.com/yuk7/wsldl [github.com]
e.g. If you're developing a LaTeX editor, you can now release .exe packages that includes a whole customized distro with all the necessary latex packages and customizations without laying out 30 pages long installation manual. Like, in the most streamlined case, a user will just type "foobar latex editor" in the Microsoft Store search, hit Install, and end up with a Start Menu icon of your app that has access to the users' Documents folder under the File menu. And when users report bugs, you have a very controlled environment to deal with so you're not chasing some distro specific bugs anymore.
Of course, development and run-time environments for specific stuff are also more convenient but developers generally end up needing the terminal anyhow so virtualbox images worked just as fine there too.
How is this better than "sudo apt install foo" on something like Ubuntu?
What do you do if you need a specific version of a library that conflicts with whatever the user has? In NixOS we don't have that problem but the rest of the linux world is forced to hack around static builds, various containers like docker, AppImage, Snap, Flatpak, etc... with non-trivial deployment steps and all sorts of networking woes when trying to put together a local web-server or whatever. But in many cases I found myself spinning a VirtualBox instance to run a specific distro (typically arch) just to get some little thing running the way the developers has it running to overcome some minor issue... And sometimes, like with openwrt and specific latex projects, you HAVE to have this Debian or that Ubuntu version to get things running because the build environment is insanely convoluted.
And that's coming from a linux user and developer pov. Now try delivering something to windows end users that needs such dependencies...
This is exactly my experience with Linux. The best advice is to use a stable LTS for the base system only for launching VMs.
I'm pretty ignorant of these newer technologies, but isn't what you described what Docker is, deliver a "container" with everything it needs in it?
From a user's pov it's about the same. Though here you have a VM rather than a container under the hood and the developer can package their own host (windows) native software along with the vm in the .exe installer all configured appropriately so there isn't any configuration files editing and terminals command to execute. i.e. it's a (windows) user friendly solution.
Along those lines, is LyX [lyx.org] available?
Shouldn't be a problem since texlive and lyx are available in ubuntu so it will run as is. But the point I was trying to make that, if the lyx developer desired it, he could put together his own ubuntu vm with texlive and all the little tweaks and then put a wsl laucnher around that where users simply download the .exe installer and it all works just as well as it does in a native linux texlive ditro (unlike the many small breakages tex has on windows). He could even have the IDE run natively on windows and target the wsl's pdftex interpreter with a bit of scripting like jetbrains does: https://wsldl-pg.github.io/docs/Other-Software/jetbrains/ [github.io] https://www.jetbrains.com/help/pycharm/using-wsl-as-a-remote-interpreter.html [jetbrains.com]
That would smooth out a few of visual issues that you probably get between the vm and the host.
Regardless, it was just an example of what wsl2 does differently than virtualbox.
Huh. I use VirtualBox VMs on my Linux machine to run Windows. I find things to be much more secure and trustworthy that way. Blocking Windows telemetry, for instance, is much easier when Linux and Virtualbox control all the resources.
I tried using WSL but the company firewall blocks so much it's next to unusable.
with all the Microsoft bells and whistles on it.
They brought back Clippy and Bob?