With the release of the Windows 10 Anniversary Update in August 2016, Microsoft added a new feature called Windows Subsystem for Linux. Here, any user running Windows 10 Pro could run the Linux terminals from their Windows 10 desktop environment. Earlier, they worked with popular clients like Ubuntu, openSUSE. Debian and Kali Linux and bought them to Windows 10.
Microsoft’s Distro Launcher
But now Microsoft is aiming higher as they have now enabled the deployment of any open source project to Windows 10. Microsoft has released a new open source reference project that will let any willing developer build their own Linux distro for deploying and running it under WSL or Windows Subsystem for Linux. This will help anyone to sideload their own custom Linux Distro and use it just like how they use the existing Linux Distros.
They didn’t stop here. If the developer is willing, they can publish that custom-made distro to the Microsoft Store too. All they need to do is contact Microsoft and show their interest in doing so. They will be published in the Microsoft Store as other distros are. And, it will be working and published like a regular UWP or Universal Windows Platform App.
In a blog post, Microsoft’s Tara Raj mentioned that,
We know that many Linux distros rely entirely on open source software, so we would like to bring WSL closer to the OSS community. We hope open sourcing this project will help increase community engagement and bring more of your favorite distros to the Microsoft Store.
If you want to dive deeper into how to do it? Check out this GitHub project to learn more.