How to start Microsoft’s own Linux distro: CBL-Mariner 2021 tips


This tutorial covers how you can start Microsoft’s own Linux distribution: CBL-Mariner. We will do our best to make sure you understand this guide. I hope you will like this blog How to start Microsoft’s own Linux distribution: CBL-Mariner. If your answer is yes, please share after reading this.

Check out how you can start Microsoft’s own Linux distribution: CBL-Mariner

It’s been a few years since Microsoft released the second version of its Windows Subsystem for Linux (AKA WSL 2), and the runtime is now mature enough to run Linux applications with a GUI. The next stop on the journey is none other than the Windows Subsystem for Android, which will let you run Android apps on Windows 11. Microsoft’s love for Linux doesn’t end there, as the company has also maintained a full linux. distribution for a while. Known as CBL-Mariner (where CBL stands for Common Base Linux), the distro was created by Microsoft’s Linux Systems group, the same team that created the Linux kernel used for WSL 2.

In particular, CBL-Mariner is not a traditional user-centric Linux distribution with a sophisticated graphical user interface. Instead, you only have the basic packages required to support and run the containers. The package management system is based on RPM, which uses both dnf and tdnf (Tiny DNF). The distribution also supports an image-based update mechanism for atomic service and rollback using RPM-OSTree. In terms of security, CBL-Mariner comes with a hardened kernel, signed updates, ASLR, compiler-based hardening and tamper-evident registries, among many other features.

How to start CBL-Mariner using the official ISO

Although Microsoft released the operating system in 2020, the company initially did not offer precompiled ISOs. The source code is available on GitHub and users must create the ISO themselves. This situation has changed recently, as Microsoft now hosts the official versions of CBL-Mariner ISO on its server.

While power users can still create a bootable VHDX (or VHD) image from precompiled RPMs in the CBL-Mariner package repository, you can also grab the installer disk image in ISO format and easily install the operating system. on a virtualization platform or a real PC.

Step 1: get the ISO

CBL-Mariner ISO is UEFI compatible and can be started on any modern x86-64 PC. The latest version of the ISO can be downloaded from the following link:

If you want to create the ISO yourself, follow these steps:

  • Clone the CBL-Mariner GitHub repository using git:
  • git clone
  • Navigate to the Toolbox folder:

CBL-Mariner cd / toolbox

  • Run the ISO build command:

sudo make iso REBUILD_TOOLS = and REBUILD_PACKAGES = n CONFIG_FILE =. / imageconfigs / full.json

  • The resulting ISO can be found at ../out/images/full.

Step 2: prepare the target platform

As mentioned above, CBL-Mariner is not intended to be a daily driver operating system for your PC. It would be better to install it on a hypervisor platform. On Windows, you can use Microsoft’s own Hyper-V. Oracle VM VirtualBox is another cross-platform solution that can be used on Windows, Linux, and macOS. Depending on the host operating system, you can also choose an appropriate virtualization product from VMware or Parallels.

In this tutorial, we’ll be using Hyper-V for convenience.

  • Since Hyper-V is built into Windows as an optional feature, we need to enable it first. Home SKUs and Home Single Language SKUs are not officially supported by Hyper-V, but it is possible to enable the feature in these editions using this tutorial.
  • Open the Hyper-V Manager application and select Action-> New-> Virtual Machine. Give your virtual machine a name and tap Next>.
  • Select Generation 1 (VHD) or Generation 2 (VHDX), then tap Next>.
  • Change the memory size if you want, then tap Next>.
  • Select a virtual switch, then click Next>.
  • Select Create Virtual Hard Disk, choose a location for your VHD (X) and set the desired disk size. Then tap Next>.
  • Select Install an operating system from a bootable image file and locate your CBL-Mariner ISO.
  • Tap Finish.

If you created a Generation 2 virtual machine, you need to configure a few additional settings:

  • Right click on your virtual machine from Hyper-V Manager.
  • Select the Settings… option.
  • Select Security and under Template: select Microsoft UEFI Certification Authority.
  • Select Firmware and set the boot order so that DVD is first and hard drive is second.
  • Select Apply to apply all changes.

Step 3: Install the operating system

Now that we have prepared the platform, we are ready to install CBL-Mariner on the virtual machine.

  • Right click on your VM and select the Connect… option to start the boot.
  • Select Start.
  • The installer application will give the possibility to continue in text or graphic mode. In this tutorial, we will choose the latter.
  • There are two types of installations: Core and Full.
  • After choosing the flavor you want, it will ask you for typical settings like username, partitions, etc.
  • When the installation is complete, select reboot to restart the machine. The installation ISO will be automatically ejected.

Step 4: start the operating system

As soon as the installation phase is complete, the virtual machine will restart and then start booting the newly installed operating system from the virtual hard disk. When prompted, log into your CBL-Mariner instance with the username and password provided through the setup application.

That’s all! You can now add additional packages like an SSH server and customize the VM instance according to your needs. For more information on its security features, see CBL-Mariner’s GitHub Security Features List.


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