Windows 10 will get a built-in Linux kernel this summer

2019 really is the year of the Linux desktop... on Windows.

The suddenly-cozy relationship between Linux and Windows is taking another step forward, as Microsoft announced in a blog post that it's going to ship a full Linux kernel in Windows 10. It will arrive first with Insider preview builds by the end of June, underpinning the new Windows Subsystem for Linux 2. The first release will be based on version 4.19, the latest stable Linux release, and will keep up with each stable release going forward. According to Microsoft this isn't its first release of a Linux kernel -- that came last year on Azure Sphere -- but it is the first time on Windows.

By making this switch as a "drop-in replacement" for the current emulator, it should speed up performance significantly, with faster bootup and more efficient use of memory. Users can interface with it either by installing a distribution from the Microsoft Store or sideloading.

Also, the kernel itself will be open source, with instructions available to create your own, and Microsoft has pledged to contribute changes it makes open for others to use. All of this news also came after Microsoft earlier announced a new version of its Windows Terminal command line app.