Microsoft has a history of collaborating with Canonical to expand its support of Linux. For example, recently bringing .NET to Ubuntu. In the latest partnership between the two, Microsoft says Canonical has helped to pave the way for systemd on Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL).
Because this support requires big changes to WSL, Microsoft says current support is opt-in. That means users who don’t want their current distros affected avoid systemd. However, after feedback and previewing, Microsoft says it will bring full support by default.
Canonical – the company behind Ubuntu – provided Microsoft with technical support. According to the companies, it was important for WSL to finally get systemd. Many of the popular Linux distributions use the suite, which provides software components for the Linux OS.
For example, Canonical’s own Snap software packaging and deployment system uses the suite.
In a blog post to announce the support, Microsoft explains the technical aspects of bringing systemd to Windows Subsystem for Linux:
“Supporting systemd required changes to the WSL architecture. As systemd requires PID 1, the WSL init process started within the Linux distribution becomes a child process of the systemd. Because the WSL init process is responsible for providing the infrastructure for communication between the Linux and Windows components, changing this hierarchy required rethinking some of the assumptions made with the WSL init process.
“ Additional modifications had to be made to ensure a clean shutdown (as that shutdown is controlled by systemd now) and to have compatibility with WSLg, It is also important to note that with these change, systemd services will NOT keep your WSL instance alive.”
Windows Insiders can grab the latest WSL update now, before it comes to all users in the coming weeks. Of course, you can also grab the update manually through GitHub.
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