Microsoft has its very own Linux Distro: CBL-Mariner is not a Desktop OS but does everything else

CBL-Mariner Microsoft Linux Distro
Microsoft has a legitimate Linux Distribution. Pic credit: Global Panorama/Flickr

Microsoft has silently released source code for its very own Linux Distribution. The company is calling it CBL-Mariner which stands for Common Base Linux – Mariner.

The company that makes Windows Operating System also has a special-purpose Linux distribution. Although general desktop users might not appreciate the same, backend network system administrators can use it.

What is Microsoft CBL-Mariner Linux Distro?

Microsoft has quietly released the code on GitHub for the CBL-Mariner Linux Distro. Technically, anyone with knowledge of compiling an ISO or installer image for Linux can use the same.

Incidentally, Juan Manuel Rey, a Microsoft Senior Program Manager for Azure VMware, has published a guide on how to build an ISO CBL-Mariner image.

CBL-Mariner is not a Linux Desktop OS. Instead, it is a server-side Linux distro. Experts refer to such an OS as an internal Linux distribution. In other words, Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure and edge products and services use the same.

CBL-Mariner’s primary job is to provide a consistent Linux platform for Microsoft’s server-end applications. Needless to mention, the Linux distro lacks several key aspects that regular distros have.

Reports indicate CBL-Mariner has a small common core set of packages to address the needs of cloud and edge services. Experts Linux users, however, can easily add additional packages using standard package distribution platforms.

Microsoft Linux can be a container or a container host, depending on the needs of server-side applications:

It seems Microsoft has designed CBL-Mariner with safety, security, and reliability as priorities. As it is devoid of several layers common in other Linux Distros, it has very few vulnerable aspects.

Microsoft Linux makes it extremely easy for its designers and developers to create and deploy security patches. Needless to say, none of the Windows OS iterations may ever have such ease of Feature Updates deployment.

For a long time, Microsoft has staunchly opposed Linux. However, the company has completely altered its perception.

In fact, the company now wholeheartedly embraces Linux. Starting with Windows 10, and continuing in Windows 11, there’s a whole subsystem for Linux called WSL (Windows Subsystem for Linux).

Hardcore Linux and Opensource users, however, do not appreciate Microsoft’s presence. The CBL-Mariner could help in changing the perception.

The CBL-Mariner Distro is literally a barebones edition of Linux. Expert Linux users will have to compile nearly every aspect of the distro. Although not useful as a desktop OS, Microsoft Linux could be a good option for edge computing or container needs.

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