Microsoft did something that few could have predicted: it submitted 20,000 lines of code to the Linux community under a GPLv2 license.
The code is meant for four drivers which allow Linux operating systems to run on the latest version of the Windows Server using virtualization. It’s code-named Viridian and commonly called Hyper-V. With this code Linux servers should be able to run on Windows Server 2008’s Hyper-V virtualization system with a minimal performance loss. So why is Microsoft apparently trying to help Linux? With better support and performance for Linux on its Windows servers, it might be hoping to improve sales. On the other hand, Microsoft has been saying that Linux violates 235 of its patents, ranging from the kernel right up to the user interface.
This move seems to have put some pressure on VMWare which is a major player in the virtualization scene. It has had support for Linux for a while but this code could help Microsoft’s own servers to take a leap in performance and surpass VMWare’s offerings.
The code handed over will be integrated in the next Linux kernel, release 2.6.32, slated for December this year.