Windows 10 S might prove to be the perfect operating system for some people, but those people almost certainly won’t be Linux fans. Microsoft has revealed that Linux distros won’t run on Windows 10 S, which might strike some as a strange announcement to make. After all, Microsoft also recently announced that those same Linux distros will soon be coming to the Windows Store.
For those who missed the reveal of Windows 10 S, Microsoft said that it will only run apps that have been downloaded from the Windows Store. If Microsoft will offer Linux distros through that platform, then they should work without issue on Windows 10 S, right? Well, not exactly.
As Rich Turner explains on the Microsoft blog, there are more requirements these Windows Store apps need to meet before they’ll run on Windows 10 S. “Just because an ‘app’ comes from the Windows Store does NOT automatically mean that it’s safe & suitable for running in Windows 10 S,” Turner writes. “There are some apps that are not allowed to run on Windows 10 S, including all command-line apps, shells and Consoles.”
Turner clarifies that Windows 10 S is aimed at “non-technical users” like teachers, students, and content creators who can do what they need within the sandbox Microsoft has constructed. Therefore, it isn’t a good operating system for app developers and administrators, as their dev tools will often need to access low-level features of the operating system. That said, Turner still does point out that you can use Windows 10 S to write code that will run on the internet or on IoT devices, but the rest is out.
“Windows 10 S does not run command-line applications, nor the Windows Console, Cmd / PowerShell, or Linux/Bash/WSL instances since command-line apps run outside the safe environment that protects Windows 10 S from malicious / misbehaving software” Turner says, noting that those who want those abilities would be better suited upgrading to Windows 10. This seems like a fairly decent compromise – if you’re an app developer who wants to use the freshly revealed Surface Laptop to write code, you still can as long as you shell out the $49 upgrade fee to Windows 10.
So, no Linux for people running Windows 10 S. That may have been obvious to some folks after hearing Microsoft describe the nature of the OS, but it’s good that the company has cleared the air nonetheless. At the very least, it’s nice to see that Linux distros heading are to the Windows store for those running Windows 10 proper.