[LINK] Microsoft embraces Linux cancer to sell Windows servers
brd at iimetro.com.au
Tue Jul 21 09:33:28 AEST 2009
Microsoft embraces Linux cancer to sell Windows servers
By Gavin Clarke in San Francisco
20th July 2009 18:03 GMT
Microsoft is embracing cancer to help ensure Windows survives
The company has released 20,000 lines of Windows kernel code under
version two of the GPL. Microsoft called the license it once hated "the
community's preferred license".
How things have changed. Back in 2001, Microsoft's chief research and
strategy officer Craig Mundie described the GPL as a threat to users'
intellectual property and the independent commercial software sector.
The great majority of Linux is licensed under GPL, and about the same
time as Mundie was sounding off, Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer
called Linux a "cancer".
Linux aficionados welcomed the move. Linux Foundation executive director
Jim Zemlin is reported to have said he was "tickled" by the surprise move
"Hell has frozen over, the seas have parted," Zemlin said.
Monday's code drop includes three Linux device drivers to enhance the
performance of Linux running as a virtualized guest on Hyper-V in
Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2. Microsoft's code will be
made available to the next Linux public tree release in the next 24
hours and will become part of the 126.96.36.199 stable release.
It's not clear whether the code is part of the already released Linux
On Monday, Microsoft explained the move in terms of helping customers
reduce the cost of deploying and managing their IT infrastructure by
using server consolidation.
Certainly, Microsoft's worked hard in the last few years to improve the
performance and integration of Windows with important and popular
Among these, Microsoft signed an interoperability agreement with Red Hat
in March. That would allow operating systems from one to run on the
hypervisors of the other.
But Red Hat is clearly the leading Linux distro in the server room and
offers Microsoft the most competition.
But clearly, Microsoft wants customers to consolidate on Windows servers
in the data center, rather than have them deploy and manage Linux in
addition to Windows or pick Linux instead of Windows. Making Linux a
welcome guest on Windows should help. Also, running Linux on the already
free Hyper-V makes Microsoft's virtualization even more appealing than
VMware from a price perspective.
Today's code giveaway came after chief operating officer Kevin Turner
told partners that Microsoft is now measuring itself in terms of market
share and competing to win.
The lengths to which Microsoft is willing to go in order to win are
demonstrated by fact its country level subsidiaries have been authorized
to cut their own deals with wavering customers without looping in
Redmond. These "deal factories" have the power to expedite negotiations,
The Reg revealed.
Significantly, senior director of Platform Strategy Sam Ramji said in a
scripted Q&A about the 20,000-line-code drop that customers are turning
to Microsoft "more frequently" to help them succeed in a heterogeneous
"So there's mutual benefit for customers, for Microsoft, and for
commercial and community distributions of Linux, to enhance the
performance of Linux as a guest operating system where Windows Server is
the host," Ramji said.
It's worth nothing that the Linux Driver Project lead is Greg
Kroah-Hartman, a programmer with Novell, which signed an
interoperability and patent protection agreement with Microsoft in
brd at iimetro.com.au
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