Canonical released Ubuntu 18.04 LTS in April, and now the popular Linux distribution is available to download from the Microsoft Store in Windows 10 as a UWP app.
Running Linux in Windows 10 as an app may be a bit of a baffling concept, but there is some method to this madness. Ubuntu first came to the Microsoft Store as an app last year, and it allows people who install it to run a full Ubuntu terminal from within Windows 10, granting them access to tools such as git, ssh, apt and bash.
So, Windows 10 users can now take advantage of the new features that this long term support version of Ubuntu brings, which will be supported by Canonical for the next three years.
Tara Raj, program manager at Microsoft, states in a blog post that: "We're happy to announce that Ubuntu 18.04 is now available in the Microsoft store [...] The Ubuntu apps you see in the Store are published by Canonical. We partner with them to release the apps and test them on WSL."
Raj points out that there are now two Ubuntu apps in the Microsoft Store. The first, called simply 'Ubuntu' is Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, which is still being supported, while 'Ubuntu 18.04' is the name of the latest app.
Getting Ubuntu in Windows 10
To run Ubuntu in Windows 10, you’ll need to go to the Ubuntu 18.04 app in the Microsoft Store and click 'Get'. You’ll then be able to launch it from the Ubuntu tile that appears in the Start Menu.
You’ll also need to turn on the 'Windows Subsytem for Linux' feature. To do that, search for 'Turn Windows features on or off' in the taskbar search bar, press return, then select the Linux option, click 'OK' and reboot your PC.
However, if you’re running Windows 10 S, you won’t be able to use this app.
The softening of Microsoft's stance towards Linux is certainly welcome, and tools like this mean that developers working on Linux code don’t necessarily have to ditch Windows, while also bringing Ubuntu to a larger audience.
Microsoft also announced that it's working on a future version of Windows 10 that will allow people to launch a Linux shell directly from File Explorer. You'll be able to right-click in an open File Explorer window, and select 'Open Linux shell here' from the menu that appears.
It's a feature that many people have been asking for, according to Raj, and it's another handy example of the lines between Windows and Linux blurring. How times have changed since Steve Ballmer, then CEO of Microsoft, called Linux "a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches" back in 2001.
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