[LINK] Microsoft embraces Linux cancer to sell Windows servers

Bernard Robertson-Dunn 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
The Register

Microsoft is embracing cancer to help ensure Windows survives 
server-room consolidation.

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 stable release.

It's not clear whether the code is part of the already released Linux 
Integration components.

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 
open-source technologies.

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 
November 2006


Bernard Robertson-Dunn
Canberra Australia
brd at iimetro.com.au

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