Oracle Linux appears somewhere unexpected: The Windows Store

A familiar face in an unfamiliar place

On the last day of January, Oracle Linux 8.5, the current version of Big Red's RHEL-alike, quietly appeared on the Windows Store.

It's packaged to run on the Windows Subsystem for Linux and says it needs Windows 10 version 19041.0 or newer. That's the much-delayed Windows 10 May 2020 update, also known as 20H1.

This is the first official presence of any member of the greater Red Hat family – although Oracle Linux isn't directly a Red Hat product, obviously – in Microsoft's online souk.

In the Windows Store, if you search for Linux, you'll find Ubuntu, both SUSE and openSUSE, Debian, Kali, Alpine, and Pengwin, which was built for WSL. What you won't see is Fedora, CentOS, RHEL, or anything like it. There is also a Fedora remix for WSL that costs a few bucks if you want to contribute to that particular project; Fedora is otherwise free.

This isn't totally unprecedented. It's possible to install Fedora in WSL2 – but that's quite a different animal.

WSL2 runs a full Linux kernel in a managed VM on Microsoft's Hyper-V hypervisor. The original WSL, on the other hand, essentially provides Linux-compatible kernel interfaces to run Linux software.

Still, it's an interesting step. WSL has been somewhat sidelined by WSL2: the latter means running a real Linux kernel, which means better application-level compatibility. WSL1, on the other hand, uses fewer resources and integrates better with the rest of the OS. ®

Editor's note: It's been pointed out we were perhaps a bit mean about Fedora Remix for WSL, saying you should avoid it as Fedora is free. If you want to contribute to that project, knock yourself out.

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