There are a number of Linux distros available for Windows 10 that you can grab straight from the Microsoft Store – Ubuntu or Debian, to pluck out a couple of examples – but now there’s a new introduction in the form of Arch Linux (with caveats which we’ll talk more about in a moment).
In case you’re not familiar with the distro, Arch Linux is commonly regarded as one of the more difficult to deal with members of the Linux crowd, being tricky to set up and not so user-friendly – although it offers major potential in terms of being able to fully customize and tailor the OS to your needs.
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So Arch Linux has now landed in the Microsoft Store (opens in new tab), but unlike Ubuntu – which was put in place (and is fully supported) by developer Canonical – this distro has been made available by a third-party dev (Scott Xu) unrelated to the Arch Linux project. Xu notes that: “This is not an official application of Microsoft or Arch Linux.”
As Betanews (opens in new tab) points out, this may mean there are issues around permissions or trademark infringement, so it’s not clear if this distro will remain available on the store – although it has done since its release a week ago (May 7).
Furthermore, as it isn’t an official image, if you decide to go ahead and use it, you do so completely at your own risk (we’ve seen chatter (opens in new tab) online about it making package signing optional, for example). In other words, caution might be the better part of valor here, and it could well be worth waiting to see what the reaction of the official Arch Linux developers is to the project.
Arch Linux (and the other Linux distros) run via the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL), which later this year will get a full custom-built Linux kernel to underpin it, as Microsoft revealed at its Build developer conference recently.
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