This Year Microsoft Embraced eBPF, Debuted CBL-Mariner, Continued With WSL Features

Written by Michael Larabel in Microsoft on 31 December 2021 at 04:50 AM EST. 9 Comments
Each year it's interesting to see how Microsoft's usage and contributions around Linux and open-source evolve. In a short period of time they go from sponsoring coffee at LinuxTag to enabling .NET and more on Linux to now in 2021 having made public their CBL-Mariner Linux distribution, supporting more features like eBPF and IO_uring on Windows, and continue heavily investing in the Windows Subsystem for Linux.

Each year it's interesting to see what new Microsoft plays there are around open-source and Linux. This year can be summed up by their many Mesa contributions, CBL-Mariner seeing monthly updates as their internal-focused Linux distribution, and more features at least inspired by Linux/OSS projects making their way from Windows. For running through many of the wild actions by Microsoft this year, below is a look at the most popular news stories on Phoronix pertaining to the Redmond company.

Microsoft Announces Windows 11 - Benchmarks Against Linux To Begin Soon
As expected this morning Microsoft officially lifted the curtain on Windows 11 as the latest evolutionary step to their operating system past Windows 10.

Better Microsoft Surface Support Is On The Way With Linux 5.12
More improvements for Microsoft Surface laptops on Linux are set to land for Linux 5.12.

Microsoft Posts WSLg Preview - GUI App Support With Windows Subsystem For Linux
After announcing last year that they would be supporting GUI applications with Windows Subsystem for Linux, today Microsoft published their "WSLg" preview for this feature to run Linux GUI applications atop Windows 10.

LibreOffice Adds A Command Popup / HUD, Inspired By Half-Decade Old Microsoft Office Feature
Adding to the changes building up for LibreOffice 7.2 ahead of its debut in August is a "Command Popup" or a heads-up display (HUD) of sorts for easily running LibreOffice commands.

Microsoft Security Researcher Proposes Unprivileged Chroot For Linux
Security researcher and Microsoft engineer Mickaël Salaün is proposing unprivileged chroot support for the Linux kernel.

Microsoft Working On Direct3D 12 Video Acceleration For Mesa
Microsoft's latest work in the area of open-source graphics drivers with the Mesa stack is for adding Direct3D 12 video acceleration support.

Microsoft's Internal Linux Distribution "CBL-Mariner" Continues Maturing
Besides Azure Cloud Switch as a Linux platform created by Microsoft, the Windows company has also been developing CBL-Mariner (Common Base Linux) as their own internal albeit public and open-source Linux distribution.

Microsoft Releases Performance Tools For Linux/Android
Microsoft has introduced "Microsoft-Performance-Tools for Linux-Android" as a collection of open-source tools for analyzing system performance on Linux and Android.

Microsoft & Others Form The eBPF Foundation
One of the most exciting Linux kernel innovations in recent years has been eBPF for an in-kernel virtual machine allowing sandboxed programs running within the Linux kernel. The Linux Foundation along with Microsoft and other partners are now forming the eBPF Foundation.

Microsoft Bringing eBPF Support To Windows
eBPF has been one of the greatest Linux kernel innovations of the past decade and now Microsoft has decided to bring this "revolutionary technology" to Windows Server and Windows 10.

Amazon Open-Sources Babelfish for PostgreSQL To More Easily Move Away From Microsoft SQL
Amazon Web Services today announced the open-source Babelfish for PostgreSQL server project. Babelfish allows for applications written against Microsoft SQL Server to work seamlessly with PostgreSQL.

Systemd/Microsoft Effort For A Global Counter On Block/Disk Changes Coming To Linux 5.15
Last month I wrote about a possible global counter for block/disk changes on Linux being discussed by Microsoft and systemd developers to better track changes via a system-wide monotonically increasing number as an alternative to the existing per-disk tracking. That functionality is now queued up as part of the block subsystem changes ahead of the Linux 5.15 merge window in a few weeks.

Microsoft Adds Linux Support To Endpoint Manager
Microsoft's latest surprise is adding native Linux support to their Endpoint Manager software.

Microsoft To Make Windows Terminal The Default Choice On Windows 11
Back in early 2019 Microsoft announced Windows Terminal as a new terminal for Windows that seemed rather Linux-inspired and supported tabs and other modern functionality. Beginning in 2022, Microsoft will make Windows Terminal their default terminal program on Windows 11.

Intel + Microsoft Bring oneAPI L0 & OpenCL To WSL2 With Open-Source Stack + DXGKRNL
While Intel Alder Lake is dominating today's news cycle, Intel and Microsoft also announced today that they have brought oneAPI Level Zero and Intel OpenCL support to Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL2) while employing Intel graphics hardware acceleration.

Microsoft Makes The Extensible Storage Engine Open-Source
Microsoft's Extensible Storage Engine that has been in use for more than a quarter century and present since Windows NT 3.51 and Microsoft Exchange 4.0 is now open-source.

Microsoft Releases Updated CBL-Mariner Linux Distribution
While now half-way through December, Microsoft today published their November 2021 update to CBL-Mariner 1.0, their in-house Linux distribution.

Laptop Improvements With Linux 5.14 Benefit Lenovo, Dell, Microsoft Surface Devices
The x86 platform driver updates have been submitted for the in-development Linux 5.14 kernel. This area of the kernel principally benefits x86 laptop support on Linux but also has other drivers like around the Intel Speed Select Technology and more.

Microsoft Releases Its August Update For The CBL-Mariner Linux Distribution
While now into September, Microsoft just published its "August 2021" update to their CBL-Mariner Linux distribution with a variety of changes.

Microsoft Sends Out Patches For Hyper-V "Isolation VMs" With Linux
With the forthcoming Linux 5.12 kernel there is a big Redmond victory with Linux being able to boot as the root partition on Microsoft's hypervisor while moving forward the company still has more in store for the ongoing years long effort of Linux on Hyper-V.

What do you hope to see out of Microsoft for Linux/open-source in 2022? Let us know in the forums.
Related News
About The Author
Michael Larabel

Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

Popular News This Week