Linux for Windows 10 serious problem fixes and adds important features

Microsoft released a new update of Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 (WSL2) for Windows Insider program members. The latest version supports the new kernel based on a version of Linux 5.10 LTS (long-term support), corrects a serious synchronization problem, and still has a long-awaited feature.

Earlier this year, in February, the company had upgraded the kernel from the original 4.19 branch to the 5.4 LTS in WSL2. The system has been further enhanced to support the most current version of LTS, which is compatible with AMD's new GPUs and APUs, a kernel lock feature, and access to the exFAT file system. Version 5.4 also brought a new light and read-only file system called EROFS.

The launch is important for two main reasons. First, because it brings the most modern in terms of the LTS kernel to WSL2, which includes bug fixes and performance improvements. Second, and perhaps even more relevant, is that the update solves an old problem and inaugurates a new feature for WSL2 users.

One of the new additions is the ability to support Linux Unified Key Setup (LUKS) disk encryption. After installing the update, Windows Insider WSL2 users will be able to mount LUKS disks and access them from within their installation.

While most disk encryption software implements different and incompatible formats, LUKS uses a standard, platform-independent format for use in various tools. This facilitates compatibility and ensures interoperability between different programs.

The clock bug

Another important change is a fix for a clock synchronization problem, which caused the system time within WSL instances to be different from the main machine. This difference can lead to serious compatibility problems between software and critical errors in the system. Before the update, developers were required to manually adjust this difference in order to avoid failures.

In a joint post, Craig Loewen, program manager, and Windows developer, and Pierre Boulay, WSL developer, noted that the clock synchronization bug was fixed because of changes within the 5.10 LTS kernel.

According to the schedule, changes to Windows Insider builds take a few months to reach all users. Therefore, WSL users can wait until the end of the second quarter of 2021 (June) to get their hands on the new Linux kernel.

The Microsoft developer-focused conference is scheduled to take place May 25-27. Until then, the company may be dedicated to bringing new fixes and adding new features to WSL.

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