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The first Linux® distribution optimized for WSL. Based on Debian®. From open-source software startup Whitewater Foundry. Formerly WLinux.

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See the Pengwin blog and @PengwinLinux for up-to-date news about Pengwin.

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If you are a commercial, government, or educational institution, you may like to check out our enterprise-focused distribution, Pengwin Enterprise.


  • Pengwin is a Linux environment for Windows 10 built on open-source technology concieved by Microsoft Research and the Linux ecosystem curated by the Debian project.
  • Pengwin is also the first Linux distribution pre-configured and optimized to run specifically on Windows® Subsystem for Linux, a Microsoft-supported feature of Windows 10 and Windows Server 2019.
  • Pengwin includes wslu, a set of useful open-source utilities for interacting between WSL and Windows 10.
  • A custom Pengwin-setup tool, accessible via $ pengwin-setup allows new Pengwin users to get started on Linux immediately:
    • Change language and keyboard settings.
    • Select optional shells: csh, zsh (with oh-my-zsh), and fish (with oh-my-fish).
    • Choose text editors: emacs, neovim, and Visual Studio Code.
    • Unpack your favorite development environment NodeJS (with n, npm, and/or yarn), Python 3.7 (with pip), Ruby (via rbenv), Rust (via rustup installer) and Go.
    • Manage your Microsoft Windows and Azure deployments with PowerShell and azure-cli, command line tools for Azure.
    • Enable/disable Windows Explorer shell integration.
    • Configure experimental GUI settings, including a Windows 10 theme for your Linux applications, HiDPI support and international input methods.
    • Create a secure bridge to Docker running on Windows.
  • Support for many Linux graphical applications with no need to configure display or libGL in Pengwin. (Requires a Windows-based X server, such as X410.)
  • Install over 27,790 open source packages via the apt package management system from the expansive Debian repositories and any third-party Debian-compatible repositories from outside projects.
  • Pengwin provides faster patching for WSL-specific bugs than any upstream Linux distro available on WSL.
  • A handful of unnecessary packages, such as systemd, have been removed from the base image to reduce image size and increase stability.
  • New features are actively developed based on community input. Learn how you can earn paid grants improving Pengwin.


  • Windows 10
    • Minimum 1709/16299
    • Recommended 1809/17763
  • Windows Subsystem for Linux Enabled
    • To enable Windows Subsystem for Linux open PowerShell as Administrator and run:
      Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName Microsoft-Windows-Subsystem-Linux


To check for updates, use the apt package management system.

  1. Check for the latest updates: $ sudo apt-get update
  2. Apply the latest updates: $ sudo apt-get upgrade


Pengwin is rolling release. Debian packages, pengwin-base, and pengwin-setup receive ongoing updates. Version numbers are used to track long-term progress on bugs and features, e.g. 1.2, and new versions are released every 2-3 months. New builds are regularly built and uploaded to the Store. The third build uploaded during 1.2.x window will be marked 1.2.3.

To check your version of pengwin-setup: $ apt-cache policy pengwin-setup

To check your verison of pengwin-base: $ apt-cache policy pengwin-base

Obtaining Support

Purchases of Pengwin in the Microsoft Store pay for a team of open source indie developers to add new features, test and release builds, evaluate WSL-related CVEs, and provide user support. User support is provided on a best effort basis. Most issues can be resolved by following the steps below.

  • First, search for your issue on the Pengwin Issues page here.
  • Next, search for your issue on the general WSL Issues page here.
  • Then consult the official Troubleshooting Windows Subsystem for Linux documentation from Microsoft.
  • Finally, if you are still unable to resolve your issue, please submit a bug report here and we will do our best to help you. We usually respond to most Issues within a few hours. Thank you for your patience.

Additional Pengwin Documentation

Related Pages


Core Team




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