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FOR DECADES, MICROSOFT Windows and the open-source Linux operating system were polar opposites. Windows was developed by the biggest software company in the world, one that was no friend to open source. Linux was developed by a ragtag team of programmers scattered around the world, often working in their spare time. But over the years, open source, and Linux, in particular, went mainstream. Linux now powers the majority of the world’s web servers and underpins Android, the world’s most popular mobile operating system. That forced a change in how Microsoft treated the rival operating system. First, it began supporting Linux on its cloud service Azure. Then it began releasing software for Android and Linux and even using Linux internally to power Azure. Now Microsoft is bringing the heart of Linux into Windows.

To be clear, Microsoft isn’t replacing the Windows kernel. The Linux kernel will run as what’s called a “virtual machine,” a common way of running operating systems within an operating system. You’ll have to make a point of installing WSL if you want to use the Linux kernel.

WSL might also help Microsoft win over programmers who use Macintosh products. MacOS is based on Linux’s ancestor Unix and has long been a favorite among web developers who want a development environment similar to Linux that also supports commercial applications not available on Linux. But there are differences between Unix and Linux.

Read the complete Wired article by Klint Finley: https://www.wired.com/story/enemies-no-more-microsoft-brings-linux-kernel-windows/