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No joke: Linux is coming to Microsoft's app store

Satya Nadella LinuxMicrosoftMicrosoft CEO Satya Nadella

Microsoft just announced that three different versions of the free Linux operating system — Ubuntu, Suse, and Fedora — are coming to the Windows Store, the app market in Windows 10.

It sounds weird, but it makes perfect sense. In early 2016, Microsoft announced the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL), a way for developers to use full versions of Linux within Windows 10 itself.

Putting aside the historical ramifications here — Microsoft spent the 90s unsuccessfully trying to stamp out Linux, a free alternative to Windows — it was a move intended to bait programmers into using Windows 10.

Here’s the thinking: Developers like using Linux software, Windows 10 supports Linux software and Windows software, so maybe consider doing all your development with Windows 10. It was well-received by developers, and has apparently emboldened Microsoft to go further.

So adding Ubtuntu, Suse, and Fedora to the Windows Store is actually just a way to make it easier to get started with the WSL by letting you install the Linux version of your choice. Still, gosh, if you need a sign that Microsoft has changed, look no further.

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