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CBL-Mariner: Microsoft’s Linux Distribution

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CBL-MarinerIn recent years, Microsoft has shown much more love for Linux. This is evident in the Windows Subsystem for Linux. 

In 2016, Microsoft introduced Windows Subsystem for Linux. Since then, users have been installing Linux alongside the Windows operating system to facilitate their workflow.

Microsoft has been reportedly working on its own version of Linux distro since November 2020.

What is CBL-Mariner

CBL-Mariner is a Linux distribution developed by Microsoft’s Linux System Group, the team responsible for the WSL compatibility layer. CBL stands for Common Base Linux. This distribution was built specifically for powering Microsoft’s Azure Edge services, Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure and edge products.

Microsoft quietly released the CBL-Mariner code on GitHub for anyone to use. In fact, a Senior Microsoft Program Manager for VMware in Azure Mr. Juan Manuel Rey, recently published a guide for creating ISO CBL-Mariner images.

A minimal, lightweight distribution you can use to run containers and container hosts. Keeping CBL-Mariner lightweight Microsoft believes this will reduce its security attack surface.

As its package manager, CBL-Mariner uses Tiny DNF, an RPM-based Operating System. With a configurable firewall, signed updates, ASLR (Address Space Layout Randomization), system call filtering, storage encryption and more, it’s a highly secure and stable Linux distribution.

WSL 2.0 will enable the use of a graphical user interface (GUI) Linux application.

You can easily build custom CBL-Mariner images whether you’re a professional developer or a mere hobbyist. Previous exposure to Linux distributions will be useful.

Microsoft provides comprehensive documentation to help users get up and running quickly with CBL-Mariner. You can set up your installation in the shortest amount of time by following their tutorials on their GitHub repo.

Final Words: Microsoft Steps Up Its Linux Game

“Linux is Cancer” – Steve Balmer in 2001

Microsoft has taken the right step when it comes to free software and Linux with CBL-Mariner. It appears that the company that once stood steadfast against its open-source competitor has finally adjusted to the changing reality of the IT industry. We’ll have to wait and see what the future holds for this new strategy.

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