You can now build your own WSL distro packages for the Microsoft Store

By: Costea Lestoc
2 minute read
WSL distro packages

There’s a new feature implemented in Windows 10 that will definitely get the attention of Linux enthusiasts. This feature is called the Windows Subsystem for Linux aka WSL, and it allows developers to run native Linux command-lines straight in the operating system. Anyone will have the ability to perform this alongside the good old Windows desktop and the modern apps from the Microsoft Store.

Bringing Linux distros to the Microsoft Store

It all began when Microsoft teamed up with Canonical to include Ubuntu in the Microsoft Store. Then, the company also partnered with more meaningful names including Debian, SUSE, Fedora, and Kali in order to bring their own Linux distros to the Store and WSL.

Microsoft open-sourced a WSL sample targeted at Linux distribution maintainers

Microsoft recently announced that it opened sourced a Windows Subsystem for Linux sample aimed at Linux distribution maintainers that will allow distro maintainers to develop WSL distro packages targeted at the Microsoft Store.

Developers also get the ability to create custom Linux distro packages that can be sideloaded on their systems running Windows 10. The only difference is the fact that developers are not able to submit their custom packages to the Store, while distribution maintainers will be able to deliver their Linux distros to more users.

Take a look at the WSL Distro-launcher sample

If you want to create your own Linux distribution app that you can later submit to the Microsoft Store or sideload on your system, you can use the helpful reference implementation for a WSL distribution installer app here.

The project is written in C++, and you’ll find there all you need including, the project’s goals, status, contents, details on the launcher outline, the project structure, how to get started, build and test info, and more.

All Linux distribution owners who are interested in adding their work to the Microsoft Store are advised to send an email to wslpartners@microosft.com in order to get approval to submit the distros to the Store.

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