This article is more than 1 year old

What do WLinux and Benedict Cumberbatch have in common? They're both fond of Pengwin

Distro designed for Windows Subsystem for Linux gains a snappier moniker as 1.2 looms

The team at Whitewater Foundry have waved the rebranding wand at WLinux. Behold – Pengwin.

With Microsoft's ongoing embracing of all things Linux and open source, it's a little surprising that the moniker hadn't already been adopted as a codename for an upcoming version of Windows. After all, with Lean, Lite and Core all doing the rounds, why not Pengwin too?


WLinux brings a custom Windows Subsystem for Linux experience to the Microsoft Store


Pengwin is the new name for WLinux, the Debian-based distro downloadable from the Microsoft Store and optimised for life within the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL.)

Hayden Barnes, of Whitewater Foundry, told El Reg that WLinux was only ever supposed to be a codename, and the new name "reflects our distribution's connection to both Linux and Windows". He added "it is close to the Japanese pronunciation and transliteration of penguin, which is pengin." Japan remains the company's top market.

Open source veteran Dennis D Bednarz also had a hand in the update, and Barnes noted that "It is also a small call-out to Cygwin, which is in many ways the spiritual ancestor to our project."

We took a look at WLinux back in September and came away impressed with the seamless running of graphical Linux apps within the Windows 10 environment, if a little less so by the stream of alerts in the WSL console.

The gang later emitted an Enterprise version and a remix of upstream Fedora, optimised for WSL (but lacking some of the more exciting WLinux features). Last month, the team trumpeted the ability to run Oracle Linux on WLinux Enterprise.

The tagline goes "Putting the win in Windows", something even the crack team of Reg headline writers might baulk at. Better than "Shoving the ow into Windows", which could easily have been the slogan for the last couple of Windows 10 updates.

The rebrand comes on the eve of the next release of WLinux, with 1.2 due in the next couple of weeks according to the company's Twitter orifice. The new version will be considerably more modular, something the team expects will make the thing more maintainable and lower the barrier for users wanting to submit features. It will also include an update to wslutilities.

The release, described by Barnes as "our biggest, most important release to date" also adds OpenStack, delivery of Pengwin optimisations via apt and CLI tools for AWS and Azure. ®


Brit Doctor Strange actor Benedict Cumberbatch was the voice of a BBC/discovery channel documentary that showed just how many different ways there are to pronounce the word - he famously used about three different ones in his narration.

Anglophones who pronounce it "ping-win" should note that some etymologists believe the name of the aquatic flightless bird derives from the Welsh "pen gwyn" - meaning the Japanese transliteration might be closer to the original.

More about


Send us news

Other stories you might like