Microsoft releases 20,000 lines of device driver code to the Linux community under the popular GPLv2 license.
has released 20,000 lines of device driver code to the Linux
The software giant announced its move at the O'Reilly Open Source Convention
Jose, Calif., on July 20. The
code, which includes three Linux device drivers, has been submitted to the
Linux kernel community for inclusion in the Linux tree, Microsoft said.
The drivers will be available to the Linux community and customers alike,
and will enhance the performance of the Linux operating system when virtualized
on Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V or Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V, Microsoft
In a Q&A about the release of the code on Microsoft's
site, Tom Hanrahan, director of Microsoft's OSTC (Open
Center), said, "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 [General Public License Version 2] license, which is the
Linux community's preferred license."
Hanrahan added, "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."
Sam Ramji, senior director of Platform Strategy in Microsoft's Server and
Tools organization, said part of Microsoft's motivation behind this move is to
help companies cope with "the current economic climate," which calls
for increased heterogeneity.
Moreover, "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
Ramji also noted that Microsoft is involved in other open-source efforts. Ramji
Examples can be found in the work we
have done with the PHP Community, which has involved contributing to the PHP
Engine, optimizing PHP 5.3 to perform strongly on Windows, and working to
improve the performance of numerous PHP applications on Windows. Then there is
the ongoing participation in various Apache Software Foundation projects, such
as Hadoop, Stonehenge and QPID. In addition to this, we worked to
improve interoperability with Axis2 and provided support to the Firefox
community to optimize Firefox for Vista and
Windows Media Player.
In a statement, Novell said: "As a leading Linux solutions provider and
an active player in the Linux community, Novell was influential in bringing
this about and has worked closely with Microsoft to make this a reality. Under
the direction of Novell Fellow Greg Kroah-Hartman, who leads the Linux Kernel
Device Driver project, Novell proactively engaged with Microsoft to provide
valuable guidance and feedback to the Open
Center, which enabled the team to
contribute the code in a way that was in line with community processes."
Meanwhile, in a blog post, Novell
CTO Jeff Jaffe
Novell and Microsoft created our
partnership primarily to focus on customer needs. We heard from customers that
there was a need for greater interoperability between Linux and Windows. We
launched a broad partnership collaborating in technology and business to meet
customer needs. This was often misunderstood-we were criticized for it-but both
companies stuck to our guns because the customer need was the overarching