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Microsoft suddenly wants to tell you how to install Linux – but why?

Microsoft has released its own instructions on how to install Linux on your PC, detailing in a step-by-step guide how you should go about choosing a Linux distro and then installing it.

In the help article, Redmond suggests four methods of getting Linux to run on your machine: Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL), bare metal Linux, a local VM, or a cloud VM.

The guide also directs Linux perspectives to a Microsoft-hosted library of Linux resources. But all of this while it continues to try to push its own OS, Windows 11.

Microsoft wants to help you run Linux

Although both Linux and Windows are separate operating systems, their purposes are fundamentally very different. Because of Linux’s open-source nature, it’s a lot more customizable and a broad array of distros have been created to cater to certain types of industries and businesses.

It could be that Microsoft just wants to help you run Linux alongside Windows, rather than lose you entirely to the open-source side.

The article also makes frequent mention of WSL, which itself uses a virtual machine. A chance to plug its own solution could be a move designed to keep Windows users within the ecosystem even when they decide to venture astray.

Despite the regular reminders of Microsoft’s products and services, the article speaks highly of Linux-based OSs and offers up, on plenty of occasions, distros with no affiliation to Microsoft.

Exactly why the maker of the world’s most popular desktop operating system (it accounts for more than two-thirds of all OSs, according to Statcounter) wanted to hold users’ hands as it walks them through installation instructions remains a mystery, and it’s something that has been met with much confusion, but it could be part of a more general shift towards interoperability.

Tech companies worldwide are under increasing pressure over their dominance in different sectors of the market, and with more pressure coming from regulatory bodies, it’s a sensible idea to start playing ball with competitors now.

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