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More Linux love for Windows Insiders with a kernel update

Rounded corners are nice, but what you really want is Linux 5.10, right?

Windows Insiders have been given a bit of Linux love with the arrival of a freshly updated kernel and an all-important clock fix.

Having yanked the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) 2 out of the usual Windows servicing cadence, Microsoft's engineers have been able to update WSL 2 without requiring a full-on OS patch.

The original 4.19 branch was updated to 5.4.72 in February. The kernel has now been brought considerably more up to date with the version.

5.10 is the latest Long Term Support (LTS) version of the Linux kernel (originally released at the end of 2020) and, as such, its arrival will welcomed by developers. At time of writing, 5.11 was the very freshest of versions with 5.12 still languishing in testing.

Another major change in the release is a fix for a clock sync issue where the clock inside a user's WSL 2 instances could be different to that of the host machine, causing much hilarity among those affected. We'd seen the issue on some of our test rigs where the clock failed to update after a hibernation event, meaning that the Linux clock eventually fell well behind that of Windows.

You can make your own joke about the pace of Linux and Windows development there.

"This bug," said Microsoft, "was fixed entirely by changes inside of the Linux kernel itself that are present in this latest version."

Support has also been added for Linux Unified Key Setup (LUKS) disks, which can be accessed using wsl -mount following mounting.

The update, according to WSL program manager Craig Loewen, could be rolled out to all WSL users (rather than just available to Windows Insiders) "within a few months."

Sadly, there was still no sign of the out-of-the-box Linux GUI app integration shown off last year. The Register understands that the WSL2 team is keen to iron out as many wrinkles as possible before unleashing it officially. As of last month, the word from Loewen was "We're working on it!"

Microsoft's developer-focused Build event is due to take place from 25 to 27 May. No pressure then. ®

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