When the education-focused Windows 10 S was announced, many people were dubious that it could be a success. Limiting the operating system to apps from the Windows Store seems like a recipe for disaster. That opinion is understandable, as we have sort of been down this road before with Windows RT -- which failed. The concept can confuse users.
I was sort of hopeful for Windows 10 S when Microsoft made a shocking announcement at Build 2017 that it is bringing Linux distributions to the Windows Store. This gave the impression that students using the S variant of the OS would be able to tinker with Linux. Unfortunately, this is not the case as Microsoft will be blocking Linux on the new OS. In other words, not all apps in the store will be available for Windows 10 S.
"Windows 10 S does not run command-line applications, nor the Windows Console, Cmd / PowerShell, or Linux/Bash/WSL instances since command-line apps run outside the safe environment that protects Windows 10 S from malicious / misbehaving software," says Rich Turner, Senior Product Manager, Microsoft.
Tuner further explains, "Linux distro store packages are an exotic type of app package that are published to the Windows Store by known partners. Users find and install distros, safely, quickly, and reliably via the Windows Store app. Once installed, however, distros should be treated as command-line tools that run outside the UWP sandbox and secure runtime infrastructure. They run with the capabilities granted to the local user -- in the same way as Cmd and PowerShell do. This is why Linux distros don't run on Windows 10 S: Even though they're delivered via the Windows Store, and installed as standard UWP APPX's, they run as non-UWP command-line tools and this can access more of a system than a UWP can."
Sadly, by design, Windows 10 S isn't designed to handle Linux distributions. If you want to run Linux from Windows Store, an upgrade to Windows 10 Pro is required. With Windows 10 S being designed for education, this is surely a missed opportunity, as learning Linux is very valuable nowadays.
What do you think about Microsoft blocking Linux on Windows 10 S? Should the company reverse course and find a way? Does this highlight why Windows 10 S could be a failure? Tell me in the comments,