A few weeks ago when Microsoft announced Windows 10 S to the world in New York City during their big education focused event, a key feature which was touted about this version of the OS was its locked down status and ability to only run apps that are in the Windows Store.
Combine that tidbit with last weeks announcement at Build 2017 that SUSE and Fedora Linux would both join Ubuntu in the Windows Store and you suddenly have IT Pros, System Admins, and developers asking about running those Linux distros on a device with Windows 10 S installed.
Well yesterday, Rich Turner a Senior Program Manager at Microsoft who works on the team that is delivering the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) to Windows 10 users, provided a straight forward answer to this question:
"The answer is No!"
No way to misunderstand that answer for sure but there are some very valid reasons behind it which he goes on to explain over on the Windows Command Line Tools For Developers blog.
Turner explains that Windows 10 S is not well suited for many app developers/hackers, admins & IT pro's!
He provided a summary of those issues/concerns:
-- App developers often need to use tools that have access to low-level features of the local machine, e.g. debuggers, registry access, filesystem access, hardware access, etc.
-- Admins & IT Pro’s need to write and run scripts & tools that deploy apps, configure users’ accounts, modify security settings, configure firewalls & anti-malware systems, etc.
-- Windows 10 S does not run command-line applications, nor the Windows Console, Cmd / PowerShell, or Linux/Bash/WSL instances because they operate outside of the safe environment provided by Windows 10 S to protect against malicious software.
Now some of you reading this will ask about apps in the Windows Store that were converted using the Desktop Bridge and have more access to system level functions. Although this is true, each of those apps are being published through a direct partnership between the company and Microsoft so they have been vetted and the publisher provides full support and updates. In Turner's words they are vetted for that access and verified they are not a security risk.
It is permissions and system level access which are needed by the Linux distro's that make them unsafe for Windows 10 S but any other Universal Windows Platform app that is available in the Windows Store should run just fine in their protected sandbox.
If you are a developer, admin, or IT Pro and you need more capabilities on a Windows 10 S based system like a Surface Laptop then you can always upgrade to full Windows 10 Pro for $50 however, until the end of 2017 that upgrade is being offered for free.
So as you can see upon further review, there is nothing nefarious here and the limitations of some apps being able to run on Windows 10 S make sense when it comes to the operating systems intended purpose of being more secure for its users.
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