Windows Server 2022 now supports Windows Subsystem for Linux 2, as long as you don’t mind installing a preview patch.
Less than a week after users posted somber comments like, “I don’t think that’s gonna happen,” it did, with news coming in from Microsoft Program Manager Craig Loewen last night.
WSL 2 distributions are now supported on Windows Server! This is currently available by installing a KB for seekers, and will be updated soon as part of a regular update.https://t.co/s3aF4cJNZ6
— Craig Loewen (@craigaloewen) May 25, 2022
Available via KB5014021 (which will likely be part of the next patch on Tuesday), Windows Server 2022 now supports WSL2 Linux distributions.
Senior Program Manager for Azure Stack HCI and Windows Server, Jeff Woolsey was also eager to promote change.
PLEASE RT: WSL2 is coming to Windows Server 2022. WSL2 will be widely available in the Windows Server 2022 June Cumulative Update, for those looking to get it sooner, it’s available today via the update. 5C update here: https://t.co/xa2AiHSXiN
—Jeff Woolsey (@WSV_GUY) May 25, 2022
“Going forward,” Loewen said, “WSL will be supported on both Windows Servers and Windows Desktop SKUs.”
The move ends an odyssey that began with the arrival of Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) 2 on Windows 10 several years ago and calls from users for Windows Server to receive the same treatment.
The change is also somewhat of an about-face from Microsoft. In 2021, in response to user requests to backport the technology to Windows Server 2019, Woolsey WSL described in early 2021 as “fantastic for development” and “perfect for the Windows client” but warned: “If we put it in Windows Server, people will use it in production scenarios that it’s not intended for. “
The trusted path was to spin up a full Linux virtual machine. A bit heavier than the lighter WSL2.
Signs of Microsoft listening to feedback appeared earlier this year, when Loewen “clarified” that WSL2 distros would work on Windows Server 2004 and 20H2 builds, though LTSC builds found in many data centers remained exempt. from WSL2.
Until this week, that is.
Updating is rather a big deal for users with Linux workloads and Windows servers. While WSL 1 was a neat translation trick, it was WSL 2 that took things to a whole new level with what was pretty much a full Linux kernel running in a lightweight virtual machine. The change means much better system call compatibility and much better performance (although networking and jumping over VM boundaries may present issues.)
Right now it doesn’t look like Windows Server 2019 will receive the same largesse, but for users with WSL2 workloads who don’t want to stick the Windows desktop in the data center, WSL2 on Windows Server 2022 is welcome. ®