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Microsoft Gives 20,000 Lines of Code to Linux

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 30 comments

That's right, Microsoft's giving something to Linux. For free.

Despite Microsoft being what it is and generally distant from the Linux community, the software giant this week released 20,000 lines of device driver code to the Linux kernel community for inclusion in the Linux tree.

The code is for three Linux device drivers, which will enhance the performance of the Linux operating system when virtualized on Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V or Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V.

"This is a significant milestone because it’s the first time we’ve released code directly to the Linux community. Additionally significant is that we are releasing the code under the GPLv2 license, which is the Linux community’s preferred license," said Tom Hanrahan, director of Microsoft's Open Source Technology Center (OSTC). "Our initial goal in developing the code was to enable Linux to run as a virtual machine on top of Hyper-V, Microsoft’s hypervisor and implementation of virtualization."

"The Linux device drivers we are releasing are designed so Linux can run in enlightened mode, giving it the same optimized synthetic devices as a Windows virtual machine running on top of Hyper-V," Hanrahan added. "Without this driver code, Linux can run on top of Windows, but without the same high performance levels."

Essentially, Microsoft releasing Linux drivers was still in the interest of keeping its customers happy to use Windows.

Hanrahan explains, "Customers have told us that they would like to standardize on one virtualization platform, and the Linux device drivers will help customers who are running Linux to consolidate their Linux and Windows servers on a single virtualization platform, thereby reducing the complexity of their infrastructure.

"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."

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Top Comments
  • 24 Hide
    nekatreven , July 21, 2009 10:45 PM
    This is a good thing, but Microsoft is still doing much more "lets make their stuff work with Windows" than they are "lets make our stuff work with Linux".

    I'm holding onto my bricks until they do a bit more of the latter.
  • 18 Hide
    maigo , July 21, 2009 10:33 PM
    No, hell did not freeze over. You'll need a copy of Windows and a license to run the virtualization. They've just gotten a bunch of LINUX users to install Windows. Instant money!
  • 15 Hide
    domenic , July 21, 2009 11:34 PM
    MS, like any other corp, is looking after its own interest.
Other Comments
    Display all 30 comments.
  • 13 Hide
    ben850 , July 21, 2009 10:08 PM
    bricks have been shat
  • 4 Hide
    audioee , July 21, 2009 10:27 PM
    Did hell just freeze over? Oh wait, that will happen when the Chicago Cubs win the World Series!!
  • 18 Hide
    maigo , July 21, 2009 10:33 PM
    No, hell did not freeze over. You'll need a copy of Windows and a license to run the virtualization. They've just gotten a bunch of LINUX users to install Windows. Instant money!
  • 24 Hide
    nekatreven , July 21, 2009 10:45 PM
    This is a good thing, but Microsoft is still doing much more "lets make their stuff work with Windows" than they are "lets make our stuff work with Linux".

    I'm holding onto my bricks until they do a bit more of the latter.
  • 7 Hide
    hikayu , July 21, 2009 11:11 PM
    microsoft and free on the sameline ? i must be high !
  • -6 Hide
    salem80 , July 21, 2009 11:12 PM
    MS not give up..
    give with one hand and take with the other
  • 15 Hide
    domenic , July 21, 2009 11:34 PM
    MS, like any other corp, is looking after its own interest.
  • -9 Hide
    megamanx00 , July 22, 2009 12:05 AM
    Latter they will probably say "Hey, Linux is using some of our patents. The fact that we put them there is besides the point".
  • 10 Hide
    NewJohnny , July 22, 2009 12:08 AM
    So, a free pass for Linux to ride the Microsoft bus? How generous.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , July 22, 2009 12:18 AM
    Well thought out!
    It requires a Windows operating system to make benefit of the virtualization.

    It's most likely an attempt to convert people running Windows in a virtual environment from a Linux platform, to running either Windows, or Linux in a virtual environment in a Windows platform.
  • -1 Hide
    adamovera , July 22, 2009 12:30 AM
    One question - Why would anyone want to run a secure and stable OS as a virtualized guest on an unsecure host OS? Running Windows on a Linux host makes perfect sense, I'm not sure about the other way around. But at the end of the day interoperability is interoperability, and that's always a good thing.
  • -2 Hide
    doomtomb , July 22, 2009 12:44 AM
    I'm thinking Microsoft would rather help out Linux than Google Chrome OS (I know their similar, yes).
  • 9 Hide
    doc70 , July 22, 2009 12:49 AM
    well, you have to admit it's a smart move and everybody gains something. MS will not lose anything, Linux users will not migrate en-masse to Windows just for a bunch of code lines but will benefit from interoperability and it just expands our options (including keeping the option of not doing anything about it, as some of you are thinking already).
    Don't be bitching about being offered more options, bitch about the opposite if that's the case!
  • 4 Hide
    WheelsOfConfusion , July 22, 2009 2:32 AM
    They had to release the source because they used GPL2 code to make this work. Derivative work needs to be release to satisfy the licensing agreement.

    Besides which, these drivers help MS Server-based machines run Linux guests with better speed, which improves customer satisfaction for those who have Hyper-V systems installed without them having to turn to Linux before MS.
  • -3 Hide
    computabug , July 22, 2009 3:10 AM
    Noo! Don't adulterate the only fully funtional suite of OS distro's remaining!

    Or I could just use 9.04 Kubuntu for the rest of my life...
  • 1 Hide
    hemelskonijn , July 22, 2009 4:57 AM
    doomtomb:

    They released the code under the GPLv2 license so they are effectively helping any one that is able to use the released code in any way they chose to.
    If google wants to use it they are free to and so are you.

    On-topic:

    Now it would be way cooler if some used the released bulk of code to reverse engineer the "other" side of the VM and in turn wrote some nice scripts in support of wine.

    Awww how i love to dream.
    And BTW Gooooodmorning every one !
  • 4 Hide
    Anonymous , July 22, 2009 5:49 AM
    There's no pleasing you primitive apes, is there?
  • -1 Hide
    ohim , July 22, 2009 7:32 AM
    such an aggresion from the linux boys ... at this point you`re so deep with your heads in your asses that even if MS would say from tomorrow on windows will be free, you`ll still be bashing MS, so much hate.
  • -1 Hide
    randomizer , July 22, 2009 7:43 AM
    ProDigit80Well thought out!It requires a Windows operating system to make benefit of the virtualization.It's most likely an attempt to convert people running Windows in a virtual environment from a Linux platform, to running either Windows, or Linux in a virtual environment in a Windows platform.

    Which isn't going to happen because most Linux users either:

    1) Had Linux installed by a friend/relative and don't know what virtualisation is, or

    2) Hate Windows (or simply prefer linux) and have no reason to run Windows as the host OS.
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