The way to Set up Microsoft’s CBL-Mariner in VirtualBox

Microsoft has released its own Linux distribution – the Common Base Linux Mariner (CBL-Mariner). It is well known that Linux and Windows are arch-rivals when you consider that they are constantly trying to win over computer users with their offerings.

The release of CBL-Mariner surprised a lot of people, but that's how the tech-ridden world works. Rest assured, Microsoft is not replacing Windows with CBL-Mariner. In fact, CBL-Mariner was designed to support Microsoft's in-house engineering team.

Let's take a closer look at CBL Mariner and see the steps to install it in a virtual machine.

What is the CBL Mariner?

Microsoft's Linux Systems Group developed and developed CBL-Mariner. It's not just another Linux distribution, it serves a bigger purpose for Microsoft. The main goal of CBL is to pave the way for the development of Microsoft's Edge products and services in addition to the development of the cloud infrastructure.

The source code for the operating system is licensed under various open source licenses, including the GNU General Public License and the MIT License. It currently exists as a GitHub repository and there is no ISO image to install the operating system on your computer. The good news is that you can still use the distribution by making your own ISO image and installing it on your own virtual machine.

Related: Should You Run Linux in a Virtual Machine or WSL?

CBL-Mariner isn't new to the tech world. It was previously used internally by Microsoft to maintain the Azure cloud infrastructure. Redmond has improved the security of CBL by hardening the kernel, providing signed updates, using compiler-based hardening, tamper-proof registry, and many more features.

How to install CBL-Mariner in VirtualBox

Converting the source code to an ISO image is probably the easiest way to get the distribution up and running in a virtual machine. This method involves downloading the code from the repository and converting it to an ISO image.

For the purposes of this article, the installation was done on VirtualBox, a popular hypervisor for virtual machines.

Step 1: Download VirtualBox

If you don't already have VirtualBox installed on your system, you can download and install it from the website before creating the ISO image.

Download: Oracle VirtualBox

Step 2: Install the required dependencies

Before starting the actual installation, you need to install some dependencies on your Linux machine. You may already have some of these, but it's always good to double-check.

To install the dependencies on a Debian based distribution like Ubuntu, type:

sudo apt-get install git make tar wget curl rpm qemu-utils golang-go genisoimage python2.0 bison gawk


Step 3: cloning the GitHub repository

The next step is to clone CBL's official GitHub repository using the git clone command.

git clone


Step 4: Generate the ISO image

After downloading the source code, the next step is to access a specific directory to generate the ISO image. Enter the following commands one by one to create the ISO for startup:

cd CBL-Mariner / Toolkit
sudo make iso REBUILD_TOOLS = y REBUILD_PACKAGES = n CONFIG_FILE =. / imageconfigs / full.json


The system sends the ISO file to the / out / images / full Directory after successful conversion.

Step 5: Create the Virtual Machine

The first step is to open VirtualBox. Then click on that New Button to create a new VM.

As soon as you click on New, a dialog box opens. Enter in the name column CBL Mariner as an operating system. By doing Type Dropdown, choose Linux. Also, you need to choose Other Linux (64-bit) as a version.

On the next screen you need to allocate the memory size for your device. Ideally, you can allocate 1GB of RAM at this step. If you can allocate more, adjust the memory accordingly. There is an upper limit, however, so it is best to follow the on-screen instructions.

On the next screen, click that Now create a virtual hard drive Opportunity.

In the following screen, select the option VDI (VirtualBox Disk Image) Opportunity.

Then choose Dynamically assigned as an option for Storage on physical hard drive.

As soon as you click on Next, you reach the File location and size Screen. Enter the path where you want to save the file VDI File. You can also choose the size of the virtual hard disk. An ideal size is 10 GB of space, but you can allocate more if you have plenty of free space on your system.

Click on Create to complete the creation of the virtual machine.

Step 6: Configure the Virtual Machine

To configure the virtual machine, you need to click the newly created virtual machine in the left sidebar. Then choose CBL Mariner followed by settings, and finally the storage Opportunity. On the Storage tab, click the optical drive Icon and select the ISO file you created earlier.

You can now start the virtual machine with the CBL-Mariner ISO image by clicking on the begin Button.

Step 7: Install CBL-Mariner on your VM

Start by installing the ISO file using the graphical installer. Follow the given steps to proceed with the installation.

Select the Graphical installer from the list of options at the beginning of the installation.

The following installation steps are very similar to any other Linux distribution.

Select the CBL mariner full Option in the installation window for a full installation. You can also apply for the Core installation Option if you don't want any preinstalled packages. The choice won't make much of a difference as the system contains hardly any packages.

To go to the next screen, accept the license terms.

The following installation window asks about the hard disk partitioning. In this window, you can create hard drive partitions as needed. If you want to continue with the default partitions, click Next.

On the next screen, enter the host name, username and password for your system. Then the installation should begin. Restart the virtual machine after the installation is successful.

Log into the system by entering the username and password given above.

Congratulations! CBL-Mariner is now installed on your computer. Unfortunately, it starts in command line mode so you have direct access to the terminal window.

Running CBL-Mariner on a virtual machine

Installing CBL-Mariner is not a very simple process. You don't get an actual ISO file, which makes the installation process tedious. Even so, the installation is very similar to any other traditional distribution, especially if you generate the ISO file.

In addition, the distribution is basic and does not contain many packages. You should check out CBL-Mariner if you want to see the latest Linux offering from Microsoft.

Microsoft has released its own Linux distribution called CBL-Mariner

As one of the technology giants, Microsoft is demonstrating its stance on open source software by releasing its own Linux distribution.

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About the author

Wini Bhalla
(61 published articles)

Wini is a Delhi based writer with 2 years of writing experience. While writing, she was associated with digital marketing agencies and technical firms. She has written content on programming languages, cloud technology, AWS, machine learning, and much more. In her free time, she enjoys painting, spending time with her family and traveling to the mountains whenever possible.

By Wini Bhalla

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