[LINK] Giving ground on Linux

Glen Turner glen.turner at aarnet.edu.au
Wed Jul 19 23:13:33 AEST 2006

Howard Lowndes wrote:
> My understanding is that Xen combined with Intel's VT technology can 
> already run Windows, so I wonder whether this is aimed at taking Intel 
> out of the loop.  I think, for once, that M$ might be facing up to reality.

I prefer the thought that Microsoft are being Microsoft and trying to
own the entirety of the computing universe (because they fear not
owning the next Windows 95).

VMWare is the competitor here. It runs Windows and Linux. A supposedly
competing virtualisation system from Microsoft that did not run Linux
would simply be laughed at.  And Microsoft have had that happen once
already when they promoted the relabeled Connectix Virtual PC as
"enterprise" virtualisation software. And when they said that Linux
would run, but wasn't supported, that just sent enterprises the
signal that Microsoft were playing politics in preference to
offering good software, reinforcing the case for buying VMWare.

Technically, running a Xen client Linux on a Microsoft VM host gives
much better performance than running a normal Linux client on a
Microsoft VM host.  The Xen client Linux knows it's going to be
virtualised and thus can help out a bit (not maintaining a clock,
not scheduling disk heads, not grabbing all the "spare" RAM for
disk buffer).  That requires an API between the client OS and the
host OS.

You'll recall that VMWare recently published an API for use by
operating systems for use by client operating systems.  And here's
Microsoft teaming up with a small player to offer a competing
API.  Colour me surprised, I think we've seen this one from
Microsoft before.  The twist is that this time the small player
produces software for Linux.

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