CyberTech Rambler

July 21, 2009

Microsoft finally contributing something under GPL

Filed under: Uncategorized — ctrambler @ 4:41 pm

Got to give it to TheRegister for saying it best : “Microsoft embraces Linux ‘cancer’ to sell Windows servers

The contribution is a few device driver to allow Linux to be virtualized better in Microsoft’s own hypervisor.  The significant thing is it is done under GPL, the very license Microsoft tried extremely hard to avoid.

In all, it prove that Microsoft is pragmatic. It also shows that Linux has become so big that sidelining it is no longer a possibility. Microsoft realized that it’s own hypervisor will be placed in a disadvantage if it does not support Linux as a first class citizen, and this is vindication that Microsoft realize the cost of not doing is too high to bear.

Technically speaking, the value of the driver is rather limited. If you do not run Microsoft’s hypervisor, then you do not need the driver.

Of course PJ is going to see it as “Microsoft donates code to Linux: Remember, folks, what comes after Embraces” and she is not going to be alone. Of  course we have to keep our guards up, but I think the risk in this case is rather low. I see the risk of Microsoft’s hypervisor becoming very dominant that others will die away, but I cannot see Microsoft’s hypervisor as the only hypervisor remaining, or have dominant share of greater than 70% over its rival. Moreover,  if you install Linux as virtual machine, you are going to play with it. Sooner or later you will start asking yourself the question why am I paying for proprietary operating system when I can get one for free? The risk of people defecting to Linux increased with Linux playing well in the hypervisor, not the other way.

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