After Six Years in Development, WSL Reached Version 1.0.0

As of WSL 1.0.0, the Windows Subsystem for Linux has reached the production-ready state, removing the "preview" label.

The Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) is a compatibility layer that allows Linux binary executables to be run natively on Windows. In other words, it is a Windows feature that allows you to run Linux alongside your regular Windows desktop and programs.

WSL grows significantly with each new release, and as we announced a few months ago, since v0.67.6, it even supports systemd.

However, all previous WSL versions, including the most recent 0.70.8, released just two weeks ago, have been marked as “pre-release.” But now, after more than six years in development (with its initial release in August 2016), WSL v1.0.0 has changed this.

WSL 1.0.0 running on Windows 11
WSL 1.0.0 running on Windows 11

But if you are expecting big changes, you will be disappointed. WSL 1.0.0 does not have any significant ones, as the release of a major version would imply, let alone to be the first with a production-ready status.

Actuality, there are just two technical improvements in WSL 1.0.0:

  • Use an override in generator.early to prevent the /tmp/.X11-unix socket from being removed during boot
  • Don’t create a pty for systemd to fix the issue where systemd would time out during boot

You can refer to the WSL 1.0.0 release notes for detailed information.

WSL Versions Explained

However, many users may be a little confused. Why? On the one side, there is WSL1; on the other, WSL2, and now there is a stable WSL 1.0.0. After all, it is a reasonable question: which refers to which?

To be clear, WSL 1.0.0 is nothing more than a software version. Its purpose is to mark the end of WSL’s pre-release stage and the beginning of the production-ready phase.

In other words, we still have WSL1 and WSL2 identifiers for two software products providing differing features and functionalities. WSL 1.0.0 is the current version of the “software hat” under which they stand.

Windows’ feature Windows Subsystem For Linux, is part of the operating system and enables WSL1 (the compatibility layer) and WSL2 system features, as well as their integrations.

At the same time, the Microsoft Store software package “Windows Subsystem For Linux” provides upgrades to the Microsoft-built Linux kernel and WSL system container.

The only component for WSL2 that does not come with Windows is the Linux kernel binaries, which users can install via a simple command (wsl --update) or directly as a software package from the Microsoft Store.

Finally, we’d like to point out that the future seems bright, given that we now have a stable WSL version. Furthermore, Microsoft plans to continue investing in WSL development, which benefits both the Windows operating system and anyone willing to try Linux or work with it in a Windows environment.

Bobby Borisov

Bobby Borisov

Bobby, an editor-in-chief at Linuxiac, is a Linux professional with over 20 years of experience. With a strong focus on Linux and open-source software, he has worked as a Senior Linux System Administrator, Software Developer, and DevOps Engineer for small and large multinational companies.

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