Microsoft has open-sourced a Windows Subsystem for Linux that will bring new opportunities to developers. The WSL sample lets maintainers build Linux distro packages for the Microsoft Store and developers craft custom distro packages for sideloading.

“We know that many Linux distros rely entirely on open source software, so we would like to bring WSL closer to the OSS community,”  said program manager Tara Raj in a blog post. “We hope open sourcing this project will help increase community engagement and bring more of your favorite distros to the Microsoft Store.”

The WSL lets users distribute their Linux distro as a UWP package, running it on a subsystem that sits in the Windows kernel. Microsoft touts advantages like fast, reliable downloads and the ability to run multiple distros simultaneously.

Approval Required

However, to make their app visible on the Microsoft Store, maintainers still have to apply for publishing approval. This ensures some degree of quality while still creating a relatively simple application process.

Previously, Microsoft worked directly with major companies like Canonical to bring Linux to the platform, as well as other distros like Kali, Debian, SUSE, and Fedora. Now that many of the major players are covered, it makes sense to fill the gap with an open source effort.

You can visit the WSL DistroLauncher page on GitHub to find more information, including a detailed readme and store upload tips.