Microsoft, which saw Linux as the cancer of the computer world in the early 2000s, has completely changed its cover over the past decade. Redmond Company Since then I have invested heavily in open source development as evidenced by the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) and Azure Sphere OS tools. Meanwhile, Microsoft also bought GitHub, the platform that hosts the world’s most open source software, for nearly $8 billion in 2018. Now, Microsoft offers CBL-Mariner, its own Linux distribution used by its internal teams.
“Yes, I read the title well. Hell freezes because at Microsoft we have our own Linux distribution called Mariner or more specifically CBL-Mariner where CBL stands for Common Base Linux,” Juan Manuel Ray, an engineer in Microsoft Azure, wrote in a blog post Presents the company’s new Linux distribution. CBL-Mariner is developed by Microsoft’s Linux Systems Group, which is also the author of WSL2. The distribution is security-oriented, and uses RPMs with DNF/Tiny DNF to manage packages, different types of installation, etc.
But again, it is not meant to be a general purpose Linux distro, but the different engineering teams at Microsoft can use it for their different use cases. The latest CBL-Mariner update, version 1.0, arrived last week with an upgrade to the latest Linux kernel 5.10 LTS, various security fixes, downgrading the Kubernetes version in the Extras repository, and adding many other packages. CBL-Mariner features also allow for faster start times and less attack space.
Comment Installer Microsoft CBL-Mariner?
Microsoft released CBL-Mariner on GitHub under the MIT license. Although the source code is available, there are no ISO images, but you can create your own. Here’s how to do it using Ubuntu.
Create an ISO image of the installation
First, let’s install some of the prerequisites we’ll need to build an ISO image:
sudo apt install make tar wget curl rpm qemu-utils golang-go genisoimage python2-minimal bison gawk
Next, clone CBL-Mariner's GitHub repository:
git clone https://github.com/microsoft/CBL-Mariner.git
Finally, enter the CBL-Mariner/toolkit directory and build the ISO image of the installation. The following procedure creates a bootable ISO image of the precompiled RPMs:
cd CBL-Mariner/toolkit sudo make iso REBUILD_TOOLS=y REBUILD_PACKAGES=n CONFIG_FILE=./imageconfigs/full.json
it's done. You can find the ISO file in the ../out/images/full/ directory named full-1.0.20210712.2155.iso.
Installer Microsoft CBL-Mariner on VirtualBox
Create a new VirtualBox VM. Configure the machine with 1 CPU, 1 GB RAM, and 8 GB disk. This should be enough for the test. Select your startup disk, in this case full-1.0.20210712.2155.iso, and start the installation process by following the steps below.
- choose the option "Graphical Installer";
- Select "CBL-Mariner Full" as the installation type;
- accept the terms and conditions of use;
- Select the "Erase disk" option. Of course, it is possible to manually partition the disk;
- Enter your name, username and password. Note that this user will have root / sudo privilege. When finished, click the "Install" button;
- Wait for the installation to finish (Microsoft considers the installation process to be very fast);
- After installation, simply log in with the previously created user credentials.
What do you think of Microsoft's CBL-Mariner Linux distribution?