Munawar Hafiz (munawar) wrote,
Munawar Hafiz

Cross Polliniation

I was fooled to think of Microsoft as the good Samaritan when I read this news,

"REDMOND, Wash., July 20, 2009 — Today, in a break from the ordinary, Microsoft released 20,000 lines of device driver code to the Linux community."

It is a significant move made by Microsoft because of two "firsts".

1. First time they are releasing code to Linux community.
2. First time they are releasing it under GPLv2 license.

When asked about the newly submitted codebase, Linus Torvalds commented that, 1) he does not have any issue in welcoming the initiative, 2) he is not interested in the code because he is not interested in device drivers in general, and 3) he acknowledges that it is a selfish attempt.

The third comment irked my interest, as I initially thought that this is a good-natured act from Microsoft. Further exploration revealed that, indeed this effort is solely to serve Microsoft.

What the device driver does is to allow users to virtualize Linux servers with good performance on Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V or Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V. Since a lot of users are planning to migrate to elsewhere to virtualize Linux server, this device driver is an attempt to stem that exodus.

To be fair, this is a perfectly rational thing for Microsoft to do. After all, who would not want to keep their customer base from moving away? The only thing is that I was foolishly considering it as an unselfish act for a few moments. Silly me.

PS. Another interesting comment that Linus makes is that he only looks at code when it has bugs. It would be a fun story to follow if the device driver introduces some bugs. Maybe someone can smell a sinister plot to infest simple and beautiful Linux code with buggy new code...

PS2. The blog is an excerpt from a recent article on the Linux magazine. Here is the url,

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