One of the most surprising things Microsoft did when the company introduced Windows 10 was to include a Windows Subsystem for Linux, which allows users to install Ubuntu or other GNU/Linux distributions and run them within Windows.

The optional feature lets you open up a terminal window and run Linux commands without the need to reboot, switch computers, or launch a full virtual machine using software like VirtualBox.

This year the Windows Subsystem for Linux got faster with the launch of WSL 2, which brings speedier file system performance, among other things. But not everyone is ready to update to the latest version of Windows 10 — so Microsoft has announced it’s making WSL 2 available for Windows 10 versions 1903 and 1909.

That could come as good news for enterprise users or anyone else who may want to take things slowly when it comes to major operating system upgrades… but who would like speedier performance when running Linux commands within Windows.

There are still some reasons you might want to keep using WSL 1 though. It supports storing files in the Windows file system, while WSL 2 does not, for example. And if you want to cross-compile using Windows and Linux tools, then WSL 1 is still the way to go.

But it’s nice to have the choice of which version of WSL you’d prefer to use.

Here’s a roundup of some recent tech news from around the web.

Google Pixel 5 leaked render (via OnLeaks and Pricebaba)

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  1. Chromebooks – with gsuite/office 365 I have sufficient productivity myself, plus with Crostini I can run linux within ChromeOS. Also Android Apps can complement any missing feature.
    MacOS/Macs – they are always an option… I wouldn’t take it myself but they are there.
    Android x86 – I was joking yes 🙂 but normal android on a good tablet is still an option, specially with gsuite/office 365 available.

    I have to confess that my windows 10 laptop keeps getting dust on the shelf – specially since I can’t get patches installed on version 2004. More and more I use my Chromebook HP 11G5 (replacement arriving soon) and my tablet(s).

    At work I do use windows 10 on a top of the line dell laptop and there I have tried WSL and decided to keep using cygwin with the occasional VM on VBox (which I prefer against VMWARE or HyperV). If my new chromebook works ok I may try to convince my IT to allow me to go to a corporate run Chromebook – specially if we finish the Office 365 migration without hiccups.

  2. Well I do use my PC for productivity not just browsing, so Chromebooks are out. Also I do not plan to change my rig only to run another OS, so MacOS is also out (I do have a fairly powerful GB Brix hackintohed to Mojave thou) and as for Android x86… you must be joking or never used that in your life. I use DeX on a daily basis, so I do know it’s limitations, and Android x86 is just barely more than a tech demo.

  3. There appears to be a few caviats with that WSL2 thing. First, even for the 1903 and 1909 builds you have to be in the preview channel on version 1049 or up. The mainstream build for those is 1016 currently. Second, it breaks compatibility with virtualbox (and possibly other virtualisation software too). So probably hold on for now. It’s frustrating that 2004 still cannot install on my machine even after 4 months of patching, and being a relatively clean system (just tried to upgrade today), but probably that’s for the better seeing how it has a ton of problems with bluetooth and virtualisation as well. One of these days I’ll just go full linux I swear…

  4. I still haven’t started using WSL but does WSL support USB devices? I had bookmarked a wpdev.uservoice.com feedback post about USB support a while back but it seems MS has deleted the entire forum.

    Also, how’s disk performance on WSL 2? I think it was supposed to improve it.