During the company’s Build 2019 event this week, Microsoft announced that for the first time ever, a custom-built Linux kernel would be added to Windows. A brand-new terminal application for command-line junkies was also revealed.

Insiders will be able to get their hands on the first build of Windows 10 with a baked-in Linux kernel this summer. It’ll be based on version 4.19, “the latest long-term stable release of Linux.”

Performance of the original Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) suffered due to emulation, but thanks to the inclusion of a Linux kernel, WSL2 should be speedier than ever.   

The term “Linux” is often used to refer both to the Linux kernel as well as the GNU userspace. As with WSL1, WSL2 will not provide any userspace binaries. Instead, the Microsoft kernel will interface with a userspace selected by the user. This will generally come through installation via the Windows store but can also be “sideloaded” through the creation of a custom distribution package.

With Windows Terminal, Microsoft has dramatically improved the command-line experience with a single app that integrates Command Prompt, PowerShell, and other popular tools. Multiple tab support means users can easily switch between apps.

The interface is also fully customizable, allowing one to create profiles and select unique combinations of font styles and background colors for each shell or app.

As of today, the Windows Terminal and Windows Console have been made open source and you can clone, build, run, and test the code from the repository on GitHub This summer in 2019, Windows Terminal previews will be released to the Microsoft Store for early adopters to use and provide feedback. This winter in 2019, our goal is to launch Windows Terminal 1.0 and we’ll work with the community to ensure it’s ready before we release!

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