Microsoft has made it official. Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 distributions are now supported on Windows Server 2022.
The technology emerged in preview form last month and represented somewhat of an about-face from the Windows giant, whose employees had previously complained that while the tech was handy for desktop users, sticking it on a server might mean it gets used for things for which it wasn’t intended.
(And Windows Server absolutely had to have the bloated user interface of its desktop stablemate as well, right?)
News of the official support was imparted by Microsoft program manager Craig Loewen and it is indeed good for developers with a particular use case that requires them to fire up Linux on Windows Server 2022. No more full-blown Hyper-V sessions needed – the considerably lighter-weight WSL2 should do the trick nicely.
Sadly, it doesn’t appear to be all good news. Many organizations will be running the Long Term Servicing Channel of Windows Server for the sake of stability. This is currently Windows Server 2019 and Loewen told eager WSL2 fans that nope, there were no plans to backport the change.
The lack of a backport means that it is the semi-annual channel that will get the goodies, although the two to three year gap between Long-Term Servicing Channel release means another should be along before long.
As for Windows Server 2022, a simple Check for Updates is all that is required to update to the latest version with support for WSL2 distributions. Once done, firing up
wsl --install from a PowerShell session with administrative privileges is required to get the platform up and running.
The arrival of WSL2 on Windows Server 2022 makes for a considerably more usable experience for Linux fans. WSL1 made use of translation trickery, but WSL2 introduced a lightweight VM and near-as-dammit complete compatibility. However, it was very much a desktop-only system, much to the frustration of some users.
Its debut on Windows Server 2022 should go some way to keeping onside those developers who prefer a distinct Linux flavor to their server code. ®