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Microsoft Releases Linux Device Drivers As GPL

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the could-easily-be-world's-largest-open-source-distributor dept.

Microsoft 362

mjasay writes "Microsoft used to call the GPL 'anti-American.' Now, as Microsoft releases Hyper-V Linux Integration Components (LinuxIC) under the GPL (version 2), apparently Microsoft calls the GPL 'ally.' Of course, there was little chance the device drivers would be accepted into the Linux kernel base unless open source, but the news suggests a shift for Microsoft. It also reflects Microsoft's continued interest in undermining its virtualization competition through low prices, and may suggests concern that it must open up if it wants to fend off insurgent virtualization strategies from Red Hat (KVM), Novell (XEN), and others in the open-source camp. Microsoft said the move demonstrates its interest in using open source in three key areas: 1) Make its software development processes more efficient, 2) product evangelism, and 3) using open source to reduce marketing and sales costs or to try out new features that highlight parts of the platform customers haven't seen before."

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362 comments

Hell called (5, Funny)

Anarke_Incarnate (733529) | more than 4 years ago | (#28758179)

Send sweaters

Re:Hell called (1, Insightful)

Ardaen (1099611) | more than 4 years ago | (#28758253)

Don't forget Microsoft's strategy: Embrace, Extend, Extinguish

Re:Hell called (5, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#28758325)

Don't forget Microsoft's strategy: Embrace, Extend, Extinguish

I heard reasonable arguments about that being true for the Ms-PL [opensource.org] but I thought the GPL (v2 and v3) were supposed to be embraceable and extensible but nearly non-extinguishable ... once the code is out there, just fork it. Care to explain to me how this plan can follow after releasing something under the GPL? I'd be shocked that no one's tried it yet if it's possible.

Re:Hell called (3, Informative)

McDutchie (151611) | more than 4 years ago | (#28758515)

Care to explain to me how this plan can follow after releasing something under the GPL?

They can sue for infringement of software patents [google.com] .

Re:Hell called (1)

bb5ch39t (786551) | more than 4 years ago | (#28758555)

Not under GPL v3. But is Hyper-V in any way better than XEN or KVM?

Re:Hell called (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#28758617)

...Too bad the software in question is released under the GPL V2 which doesn't have patent clauses in them.

Re:Hell called (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 4 years ago | (#28759145)

Too bad the software in question is released under the GPL V2 which doesn't have patent clauses in them.

You know, except for the part that says "if a patent license would not permit royalty-free redistribution of the Program by all those who receive copies directly or indirectly through you, then the only way you could satisfy both it and this License would be to refrain entirely from distribution of the Program."

Re:Hell called (5, Informative)

EvanED (569694) | more than 4 years ago | (#28758637)

Even the GPL v.2 has this to say about patents:

For example, if a patent license would not permit royalty-free redistribution of the Program by all those who receive copies directly or indirectly through you, then the only way you could satisfy both it and this License would be to refrain entirely from distribution of the Program.

So basically, if MS holds patents on the code they are contributing, my reading of the GPL says they can't contribute it (or can't enforce said patents).

Re:Hell called (5, Insightful)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 4 years ago | (#28758981)

Ah, so their motive here is try this in court and invalidate the entire GPL!

See, I knew we couldn't trust them.

Re:Hell called (5, Informative)

Sam Ramji (1089763) | more than 4 years ago | (#28758991)

Our use of the GPLv2 license, as requested by the Linux community, means we will not charge a royalty or assert any patents covering the driver code we are contributing.

Sam
sramji@microsoft.com

People in the U.S. culture can be very misleading. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28759201)

I'm guessing that you are a man from India who believes what his managers tell him. The use of the GPLv2 does not prevent Microsoft from engaging in its normal adversarial behavior: Embrace, Extend, Extinguish.

Re:Hell called (-1, Troll)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#28759447)

Don't bother responding, there is nothing you can say or do that will make this group happy. Microsoft could release their entire source collection into the public domain and donate all their money to Linux, and immediately dissolve and these fanboy's would just come up with a new bullshit reason to hate MS. Most are too stupid to realize that GPL isn't the only OSS license in existence.

Not that all users here are like that, but there are just far too many fanboys here to justify giving them a response unless you like trolling, which is my excuse.

Re:Hell called (3, Interesting)

Ardaen (1099611) | more than 4 years ago | (#28759493)

Again I ask:
How does this protect against the Hyper-V product being changed to be incompatible with the GPL drivers in the future. What guarentee do we have that compatibility will be maintained or the drivers updated?

GPL drivers don't do much good if they aren't compatible with the hypervisor. Otherwise we'd be using Xen drivers on Hyper-V wouldn't we?

I know I'm jumping to conclusions a bit, but this is a company with a very long history of this kind of behavior. Even after several court cases and many promises.

(Hope I get answers, instead of just getting modded up, then suddenly down into oblivion again)

Re:Hell called (1)

McDutchie (151611) | more than 4 years ago | (#28759015)

So basically, if MS holds patents on the code they are contributing, my reading of the GPL says they can't contribute it (or can't enforce said patents).

Who says it has to be about the code they are contributing? There is plenty of other code in the Linux kernel that they could base a strategic lawsuit on. It's not like they haven't done that before.

Re:Hell called (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 4 years ago | (#28759091)

There is plenty of other code in the Linux kernel that they could base a strategic lawsuit on.

Sure, but it's not like there's a rule that says "you can only file a patent lawsuit against Linux if you first submit a new feature" or something.

The Hyper-V patch doesn't affect that; if they could claim patent infringements in other parts of the kernel now, they could do it before too.

Re:Hell called (2, Interesting)

McDutchie (151611) | more than 4 years ago | (#28759299)

The Hyper-V patch doesn't affect that; if they could claim patent infringements in other parts of the kernel now, they could do it before too.

Exactly. So there is nothing at all about their contribution that would prevent an embrace-extend-extinguish strategy.

Contributing is the embrace step. More people will use Linux when it's progressively made compatible with Microsoft technologies: extend. Then they can go all SCO and sue the pants off of some strategically selected parties that use it: extinguish. End result: Microsoft owns Linux.

The original question was: how could Microsoft still employ its usual embrace-extend-extinguish strategy while contributing to the Linux kernel? The answer is that it's very simple because there is nothing stopping them. They could do it if they wanted to. And given their track record, it would be silly to trust them not to.

Funny how my first post in this thread is now at -1, Flamebait for accurately answering a question.

Re:Hell called (0, Troll)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 4 years ago | (#28758645)

They can sue for infringement of software patents.

Which is why they didn't use the GPLv3. They could have. They didn't, because they prefer to reserve the right to do exactly that.

Re:Hell called (5, Informative)

EvanED (569694) | more than 4 years ago | (#28758733)

They could have.

No, they couldn't have, at least not if they wanted it to be distributable with Linux (which was kinda the point). The Linux kernel is GPL v.2 only, which is incompatible with the GPL v.3.

Furthermore, even the GPL 2 provides some protection against patents, as a couple people have pointed out.

In short, FUD.

Re:Hell called (4, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#28758649)

Care to explain to me how this plan can follow after releasing something under the GPL?

They can sue for infringement of software patents [google.com] .

Um. Okay, let's dissect this. Microsoft has released device drivers under the GPLv2 which states:

7. If, as a consequence of a court judgment or allegation of patent infringement or for any other reason (not limited to patent issues), conditions are imposed on you (whether by court order, agreement or otherwise) that contradict the conditions of this License, they do not excuse you from the conditions of this License. If you cannot distribute so as to satisfy simultaneously your obligations under this License and any other pertinent obligations, then as a consequence you may not distribute the Program at all. For example, if a patent license would not permit royalty-free redistribution of the Program by all those who receive copies directly or indirectly through you, then the only way you could satisfy both it and this License would be to refrain entirely from distribution of the Program.

Emphasis mine. I would find it more than hilarious to see the reaction on the faces at the EFF if Microsoft tried to sue someone who modifies/redistributes/forks this GPLv2 licensed code. By Microsoft releasing this under the GPL, Microsoft has basically announced there are no patents or copyrights on this code--otherwise they would not have been able to license it under the GPL. If so, Microsoft would have no one to sue but themselves before they demand people stop using the code.

I'm still not convinced on your argument. Don't get me wrong, I'm as cautious as the next guy. But isn't the GPL pretty rigorous (even v2) at protecting us from our fears?

Re:Hell called (4, Insightful)

gnick (1211984) | more than 4 years ago | (#28758747)

If so, Microsoft would have no one to sue but themselves before they demand people stop using the code.

I'm going to take this move at face value and assume that Microsoft is just doing something non-evil. But the notion still amuses me that they could be so fractured that one department may make a move like this only to be sued by another.

Re:Hell called (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28759395)

Don't confuse MS with the bank which was on slashdot sueing itself a couple days ago.

They may be evil, but they are not stupid.

Re:Hell called (2, Interesting)

perlchild (582235) | more than 4 years ago | (#28758573)

Given Microsoft's attacks on GPL as a license, I just do not understand why they licensed it GPL instead of LGPL or BSD

Re:Hell called (3, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#28758755)

I wouldn't be surprised if it was just tone deafness at whatever level the commitment was initiated at (I would speculate that the people actually working on the product and wanting to release the code had to take that request to somebody who could actually commit to the release; the yes probably left his desk with a certain license named, and the legal approval process didn't address/bother changing it).

Re:Hell called (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 4 years ago | (#28759241)

I don't think LGPL buys them anything. If they're going to release it as open-source (which they have to if they want it incorporated in the Linux kernel), then they'd presumably want to be as little use to their competition as possible. Not competition as in Linux or Xen, but as in VMWare, etc. -- closed-source, commercial virtualization vendors. BSD-licensed code could be very reasonably put to use by their competitors.

Re:Hell called (2)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#28758619)

GPL3 is different than GPL 2. This was GPL2, meaning it's only covered by Microsoft's "covenant".

Re:Hell called (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28758659)

The Extinguish usually comes after people become hooked on MS software, to the point where even if its free, MS can dump it and it becomes irrelevent. In this case, the Extinguish could happen after people become dependent upon Hyper-V, and MS could then improve its Windows version, while letting the Linux drivers lag behind, then it continues to lag behind until it becomes pointless on Linux.

But, thats far into the future, right now MS is probably just concerned with undercutting the competition without regards to the future. After all, once they get a monopoly, it wouldent be that much work to drop the Linux support, they could even switch to a new virtualization platform, one that Linux wont support if they wanted to.

This makes the GPL irrelevent, at least in this case of device drivers.

Re:Hell called (1)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 4 years ago | (#28759537)

Or simply pull a SCO and remind everyone they have patents on Hyper-V and thus anyone implementing it, even via GPL, needs to stary paying up.

Simple, can the fork survive? (2, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 4 years ago | (#28758675)

Forking sounds very nice but for this situation it would require NOT just for people to be willing to DO the fork but then to keep the fork up-to-date.

Remember MS sale technique. The first one is free. What if they release the base module as GPL, then put everything you are going to need once you started to use it as closed source? MS owns the code after all, so they GPL'ed this version but can keep any future version closed source just as long as they keep other peoples code out.

Read up on exactly WHAT Embrace, Extend, Extinguish means and remember that MS has NEVER EVER played nice. It will even hurt it self it thinks it can spite its customers. Look at the Zune. Why did it bend over backwards to introduce all kinds of restrictions? To appease who? The music industry? Why? The iPod didn't and Apple does just fine with the music industry. No, MS did it because MS will ALWAYS try to squeeze the last bit of money out of anything.

I personally do not believe for a SECOND that MS will NOT introduce some sort of tierd service that somehow is going to screw anyone who is going to build their business on this tech. Just as MS did with the MP3 companies that build their business on MS music store only to not enable its own tech in its own player.

Re:Hell called (4, Insightful)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | more than 4 years ago | (#28758795)

The usual way is to make their tools and solutions cheap/free, and get people to build their entire operation (code, infrastructure,etc.) around it. Require enough infrastructure that rebuilding is very expensive. Then, once the industry has managed to use your software as the center of their infrastructure, hammer them.

All they seemed to do was ensure linux will run on HyperV, something it has not previously done well, and which puts MS at a disadvantage. Thus customers have not been adopting that platform in droves. Now they'll have fewer excuses not to. Nothing prevents MS from later making the LinuxIC tools incompatible at a later date (or just letting them atrophy, as the technology develops).

Just don't use Microsoft products ever again...if you want to run a business you really shouldn't put all your eggs in their basket anyway.

Re:Hell called (1)

Ardaen (1099611) | more than 4 years ago | (#28759049)

They are releasing the drivers as open source, not the underlying product. I've not looked at the Hyper-V product very closely, but it seems to me that once they control the market, they only need to change the Hyper-V product to be incompatible with the GPL drivers. In that case, what good would a fork do?

GPL2 can be extinguished (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28759539)

DRM and patents can extinguish it.

Which is why GPL3 was made.

Re:Hell called (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28758687)

THIS.

All this quote demonstrates:

but the news suggests a shift for Microsoft

is that ol' Timothy here doesn't have a clue about Microsoft, or their history.

Hyper-V? Never heard of it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28758269)

What is Hyper-V?

Re:Hyper-V? Never heard of it. (2, Informative)

Dotren (1449427) | more than 4 years ago | (#28758397)

Hyper-V [wikipedia.org]

Basically, its a virtualization system that runs as a role on Server 2008. Parts of it work a lot like VirtualPC does (Microsoft's desktop virtualizaton system) but it also has some nice features such as automatic save-state when the host OS is shutting down which also can automatically restore when the host OS comes back up and starts the Hypver-V role.

Re:Hyper-V? Never heard of it. (5, Insightful)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 4 years ago | (#28758459)

Hyper-virtualisation. Running OS's under other OS's. In other words, this is a patch for Linux to make it run well on Microsoft systems, so customers will feel less need to actually install Linux on servers. It's not a friendly gesture to make normal Linux systems work better, as the title suggests.

Re:Hyper-V? Never heard of it. (2, Interesting)

rufus t firefly (35399) | more than 4 years ago | (#28759397)

Hyper-virtualisation. Running OS's under other OS's. In other words, this is a patch for Linux to make it run well on Microsoft systems, so customers will feel less need to actually install Linux on servers. It's not a friendly gesture to make normal Linux systems work better, as the title suggests.

I think I'm way more likely to virtualize *Windows* servers on a Linux host than otherwise. The company I work for doesn't run Windows on bare metal anymore.

A good reason for that is that Windows isn't really administrable via a serial console, so that if networking is blown, you'd require either an iLO/DRAC type hardware solution or would have to go with relatively costly KVM over IP.

Honestly, I don't think this is big news. The host component isn't being opensourced, so you need a Windows-whatever server to run Linux hosts under it. I think I'll stick to Xen for paravirtualization and VMware/Virtualbox for full virtualization, thank you.

Re:Hyper-V? Never heard of it. (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#28759437)

In other words, this is a patch for Linux to make it run well on Microsoft systems, so customers will feel less need to actually install Linux on servers.

It's not quite true - Hyper-V is specifically pushed as a server virtualization solution (while usable as a virtual desktop, it has a number of rather annoying limitations in that role, such as no resolutions higher than 1600x1200, and rather slow video). Thus, the ability to run Linux as a Hyper-V guest OS implies running Linux on (virtualized) servers. If this was about desktop Linux, we'd see release of similar drivers for Virtual PC (specifically the new version of it that comes with Win7).

What hidden dangers? (1, Insightful)

Techmeology (1426095) | more than 4 years ago | (#28758273)

Microsoft has never been interested in anything other than its self. One must question its motives, and be acutely aware of the potential for unknown dangers waiting to surprise all of us.

Re:What hidden dangers? (2, Funny)

mrvan (973822) | more than 4 years ago | (#28758375)

Ahhh right. And IBM c.s. is run by a bunch of code-hugging hippies and they function as a charity to release code for the improvement of the world.

How *could* I have missed that?

Re:What hidden dangers? (1)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 4 years ago | (#28759075)

There's a difference between doing something because it's good for you, and doing something because it's bad for other people. One is selfish, the other is malicious.

The Thing M$ Likes about the GPL (1)

StCredZero (169093) | more than 4 years ago | (#28758463)

Microsoft has never been interested in anything other than its self. One must question its motives...

The GPL is about maintaining control. (Imagine Yoda reading that sentence.) The author maintains control over the source. Why wouldn't Microsoft like that? Microsoft is not against anything that lets it maintain control. What Microsoft doesn't like is what lets you keep control. Conclusion: Microsoft is likely to be fine with the GPL, so long as it's the only one who ever uses it. Granted, that's a long term goal...

Re:The Thing M$ Likes about the GPL (2, Insightful)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 4 years ago | (#28758587)

The GPL is about maintaining control.

The GPL is about maintaining control huh? Tell that to Oracle. Who has control over the future of MySQL? Oracle or the people who are contributing code to it?

Re:The Thing M$ Likes about the GPL (1)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 4 years ago | (#28759321)

MySQL has been dual-licensed for a long, long time. The GPL version of MySQL is the copyrighted properly of the company. Reference: assigning copyright to another entity when you contribute code.

Re:The Thing M$ Likes about the GPL (5, Informative)

superdana (1211758) | more than 4 years ago | (#28758597)

I think you have this precisely backwards. The GPL is about protecting the rights of users to modify the software they use and distribute those modifications. So it does, in fact, give control to the end user--the sort of control that Microsoft does not tend to give--while the author relinquishes some control.

Re:The Thing M$ Likes about the GPL (1)

sam.haskins (1106069) | more than 4 years ago | (#28759041)

Well, I think you might have it a little off too... The GPL protects the rights of the *code* to always be open-source and freely distributable. If I want to modify the software and distribute those modifications, but not release the source to my modifications, the GPL takes control, and denies me that privilege. GPL protects the freedom of code, BSD protects the freedom of coders.

Re:The Thing M$ Likes about the GPL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28759245)

[...] Imagine Yoda reading that sentence [...]

I think you have this precisely backwards.

That sounds about right.

Re:The Thing M$ Likes about the GPL (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#28758833)

If an author of a GPL program accepts significant changes from another contributor (without some sort of copyright assignment), he essentially loses control of the combined version of the code.

Depending on how you interpret copyright and the GPL, if he closely studies the implementation of various features, he may have trouble later claiming to have developed an independent version (and there certainly is not substantial legal precedent to look to in such a situation).

Re:What hidden dangers? (5, Insightful)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 4 years ago | (#28758511)

With IBM, their value proposition was quite clear and we could get along happily. Microsoft is a much trickier case. They frequently do things that are not necessarily in their best interest in the short term in order to destroy their competition and achieve long-term control.

And this results in things like IE languishing for years because nobody else is a credible threat in the browser arena. People who say that Microsoft is simply interested in making things better for their customers are blind. Microsoft had no interest in making IE better because they had no interest in the browser as a platform. It did not further their ability to control.

Microsoft would prefer a smaller and less innovative market that they completely owned to a much larger market in which they were simply a player, even if they could make a bigger profit in the larger market.

So your request to look for hidden dangers is a cogent one. And we should be looking for dangers in which Microsoft sacrifices profitability for control and destroying competition. Microsoft has repeatedly shown a willingness to do that in the past.

The motives are quite simple (5, Insightful)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 4 years ago | (#28758663)

If you have a mixed environment and need to host both Linux VMs and Windows VMs with optimal performance, until now VMWarea and Xen were your best options, because Linux performed sub-optimally under Hyper-V.

Now with this patch Linux will probably perform just as good under Hyper-V as it does in VMWare and Xen.

So now you might be able to be convinced to host your VMs on MIcrosoft's Hyper-V platform, where before it was not even an option.

Re:The motives are quite simple (2, Interesting)

nschubach (922175) | more than 4 years ago | (#28759271)

Yep, I think that's the crux of it. It's a point of control. If they can remain the closest to the hardware, they control the system no matter what's running on it. If they can get Linux to run under Windows and they successfully outpace other VMs, then they can start adding "compatibility" code and making Linux perform worse than Windows Virtual systems.

It's also well documented that Microsoft would rather give away their technology to get people using it than let people use a competitor.

Re:What hidden dangers? (0, Flamebait)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 4 years ago | (#28758703)

given the state of Linux on the desktop you can say that Linux hackers haven't been interested in anything other than themselves either. It's a great OS for running little servers and hacking code. But it took a great deal of cat herding to get Linux going as a desktop OS, and some argue it's still not ready. (I'd argue that it's ready, but not done.)

offtopic - why does everyone hate Ms-Pl so much?

Re:What hidden dangers? (4, Insightful)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 4 years ago | (#28759213)

God the paranoia on this site is thick. It increases the value of Hyper-V to Microsoft clients, as their Linux virtual machines will run more efficiently in it. That's it. That's all. Relax. Breathe into a paper bag for a few minutes until you're under control again. The sky is not falling. Dogs and cats are not sleeping together.

Re:What hidden dangers? (2, Insightful)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 4 years ago | (#28759385)

Easy -- they think people will be more likely to use Microsoft's HyperV if its Linux performance is better. They're in competition with other virtualization software makers. They can either release an appropriate Linux driver or tell HyperV users to have decreased Linux performance and functionality. Clearly they think the former is a better business deal. It doesn't really add a lot to Linux, since if you're in the market for virtualization, you probably aren't trying to decide if your guests will run Linux or Windows, but already have specific requirements.

stand by for heavy rolls (3, Funny)

mr_death (106532) | more than 4 years ago | (#28758383)

Perhaps Microsoft's lawyers found a weakness in the GPL, or they want to litigate the FSF into the ground.

"Beware of G[r]eeks bearing gifts".

Re:stand by for heavy rolls (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28758899)

"Beware of G[r]eeks bearing gifts".

Only if they ask you to bend over...

Interoperability to defend Windows business (5, Insightful)

javacowboy (222023) | more than 4 years ago | (#28758389)

I guess a few years Microsoft finally got the memo that they can't protect sales of Windows by attempting to force lock-in to their entire Windows ecosystem. They realized that many of their customers mix technologies together. Examples are Java/JBoss on Windows server, Windows desktops and Linux servers (Samba), working with Mozilla developers to port Firefox to Vista, and iPhones connecting to Exchange servers (licensing ActiveSync to Apple).

By taking these actions, Microsoft ensures the continued relevance of the Windows platform instead of potentially dooming it to a proprietary ghetto.

The flip side of this focus is that Microsoft will still push Windows to OEMs to fend off other platforms. An example is their actions in the netbook space among which was to essentially give away XP. So for at least some things, Microsoft is still up to their old tricks.

I'm impressed... NOT! (5, Interesting)

Osvaldo Doederlein (34220) | more than 4 years ago | (#28758395)

Some drivers to make Linux work better inside MS's Windows Server Hyper-V virtualization platform? How altruistic...

I'll be more impressed when MS, for example, helps with the SAMBA project. Or at least, doesn't actively screw up with such interop projects from the FOSS community. No GPL code required, just give people decent, up-to-date, open specs; and no patents bullshit.

Or at very least, when MS stops enforcing such patents (see TomTom / FAT32, or again SMB in MS/Novell "agreement").

Re:I'm impressed... NOT! (4, Informative)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 4 years ago | (#28758603)

Oh, you mean like this: http://www.onekit.com/store/review/microsoft_deal_gives_samba_access_to_windows_protocol_documentation.html [onekit.com]

Also, did you consider that TomTom had some patents on thing MS might be using, and thus only sued to get a deal to be struck? http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/03/20/0215215 [slashdot.org]

Na... just let your beliefs obscure any facts.

Re:I'm impressed... NOT! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28758793)

"Oh, you mean like this: http://www.onekit.com/store/review/microsoft_deal_gives_samba_access_to_windows_protocol_documentation.html"

Might have meant a little more if they'd decided to do this without being held at legal gunpoint.

Re:I'm impressed... NOT! (-1, Troll)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#28758615)

Some drivers to make Linux work better inside MS's Windows Server Hyper-V virtualization platform? How altruistic...

When pigs fly.

Back in the day when Lotus was king and Excel was buggy crap (the opposite of today), MS's motto was "DOS ain't done 'til Lotus won't run."

The first time I installed XP, the next day I had no internet connection, as Windows Update replaced my perfectly good network driver with one that didn't work at all. Taught me to never use autoupdate!

I would hesitate greatly to use anything Microsoft wrote in a Linux box. In fact, I wouldn't use one at all unless it was the only one out there. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. I'd rather trust the "hobby" coders than the people who replaced my driver with a dud.

Re:I'm impressed... NOT! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28758837)

Back in the day when Lotus was king and Excel was buggy crap (the opposite of today), MS's motto was "DOS ain't done 'til Lotus won't run."

Stop spreading this bullshit [proudlyserving.com] , asshole.

Re:I'm impressed... NOT! (1)

gaggle (206502) | more than 4 years ago | (#28759109)

So that's, what, eight years ago? You had a problem with a genre of drivers notorious for being problematic (network issues have always been a constant pain), on a platform known for its millions of hardware combinations? And they got it wrong with your specific combination, oh woe is them... maybe it's time to kiss and make up?

I don't really care what you do man, and I'm not saying my rephrasing of your problem is any more "right" than what you posted. It just sounds like maybe its time to revisit your feelings and test if the underlying reasons remain valid. Maybe, just maybe, Microsoft's VM department really do want to give their customers the best Linux experience possible. Sounds like basic business to me, so I imagine the drivers will work pretty well for what they're for.

Finally, an MS article with a reasonable viewpoint (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28758405)

[Message from the future, because it sure as fuck didn't happen today]

Greeting Fellow Multiversers (5, Funny)

mindbrane (1548037) | more than 4 years ago | (#28758425)

I honestly don't know how I got here. I just woke up and here I am in your universe, AN ALTERNATE UNIVERSE TO MY OWN HOME UNIVERSE. IT'S TRUE! You can't imagine how glad I am to be here. I'm definitely not going back. Things are bad where I come from.

*Head asplodes* (0, Flamebait)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#28758465)

They're making drivers open source? And for an OS they once called a "cancer" and unamerican? Personally, I find using a monopoly to crush its competetion to be anti-capitalist and therefore unamerican. And since they come preinstalled on 90% of all desktop systems, who's the cancer?

Just imagine... (1)

Dotren (1449427) | more than 4 years ago | (#28758505)

Serious discussion on this aside for a second, who else is anxious to see people's reactions (visually or even just message board posts) the first time they see a driver in their favorite distro that says something to the effect of "Publisher: Microsoft"?

And what of Microsoft? (0, Flamebait)

genghisjahn (1344927) | more than 4 years ago | (#28758561)

If Microsoft has obtained a complete technical reading of this Linux kernel, it is possible, however unlikely, they might find a weakness and exploit it...

Microsoft is going to kill VMWare (5, Interesting)

mewsenews (251487) | more than 4 years ago | (#28758567)

I think Microsoft gets upset if any other company talks to the BIOS besides them. Here's a page from VMWare [vmware.com] that compares their own product to Microsoft's Hyper-V. Hyper-V only debuted as a beta a year ago and they're already compromising company policy to release Linux kernel level code.

Wikipedia page for Hyper-V [wikipedia.org]

Re:Microsoft is going to kill VMWare (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#28758693)

VMware will always win on Macs though. I know a lot of people who have bought Fusion so they don't have to dual boot in order to use XP. MS hasn't made any quality software on Macs, let alone replaced any product with decent marketshare.

Re:Microsoft is going to kill VMWare (1)

javacowboy (222023) | more than 4 years ago | (#28759469)

VMware will always win on Macs though. I know a lot of people who have bought Fusion so they don't have to dual boot in order to use XP. MS hasn't made any quality software on Macs, let alone replaced any product with decent marketshare.

Let's tackle these one at a time shall we?

1) VMWare Fusion... Perhaps it doesn't run Windows as well, but I find the free VirtualBox fulfills my needs for a VM on Mac.
2) MS still distributes Microsoft Office for Mac, and it's still the #1 office program on OS X, albeit limited to just Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Keynote may beat PowerPoint hands down, but Word is arguably better than Pages and Excel is definitely better than Numbers. MSN Messenger also works decently on Macs.

Re:Microsoft is going to kill VMWare (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28758829)

i think most people are missing the point...

the move on microsofts part is to help its partners (citrix and xenserver) product line and provide easier means for transfer of vms between the two. both of which have a goal of crushing vmware.

once vmware is toppled, and microsoft has full interopratability with citrix/xenserver, microsoft can then transition to knock citrix/xenserver out of the market and become the virtual machine leader...

this is just an intermediate step needed to further this goal

2) product evangelism (1)

bertoelcon (1557907) | more than 4 years ago | (#28758571)

They are using GPL as a ploy to gain more fanbois, and sadly it may have worked if they were not generally hated by those that aren't already fanboy status.

Re:2) product evangelism (1)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 4 years ago | (#28759293)

Unless of course, Microsoft wants to get it into the kernel source, like described in the summary, and then it needs to be GPLv2.

Once and Done Project (1)

mpapet (761907) | more than 4 years ago | (#28758595)

This reminds me of Microsoft's 'commitment' to other document standards.

The likelihood it will ever be sufficiently maintained by Microsoft is 1%. So, they can say "Works with Linux!" when it might work for one version at one point in time of SLES.

Re:Once and Done Project (1)

m.ducharme (1082683) | more than 4 years ago | (#28758867)

I haven't read TFA, but my impression from other posters who have is that this driver enables users to run vm's of linux on Windows host boxes, using Microsoft's vm software. In other words, the better this driver works, the happier Microsoft is going to be.

"It's a trap!" (0, Troll)

Orion Blastar (457579) | more than 4 years ago | (#28758621)

Microsoft might be trying to put their own "IP" and get it accepted into Linux distributions, only to sue later and claim Linux has their "IP" in it. After the SCO vs. IBM and Linux, and Microsoft suing Tom Tom over their Linux code accessing FAT tables on SD Cards, you have to wonder why Microsoft is releasing some of their "technology drivers" under the GPL for Linux when Microsoft has a history or suing over Linux or using SCO to sue over Linux in the past.

The SCO vs. IBM charge was that IBM took SCO Unix source code (It used to be Microsoft Xenix [wikipedia.org] before it was sold to SCO) and you have to wonder if Microsoft was behind that lawsuit.

This kind of stuff makes one a bit paranoid about Microsoft releasing anything for Linux.

If Microsoft didn't have a past history of trying to sue over Linux, people like me wouldn't be this paranoid. I am sure I am not alone in thinking that, since this is Slashdot after all. Patent Trolls [wikipedia.org] are a current theme here.

Re:"It's a trap!" (2, Insightful)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | more than 4 years ago | (#28759239)

"If Microsoft didn't have a past history of trying to sue over Linux, people like me wouldn't be this paranoid."

It is not paranoia if they really are out to get you.

Quite strategic... (0, Troll)

titaniumtux (1601949) | more than 4 years ago | (#28758631)

The strategy is obvious...this driver is a selling point! M$ can claim that their windeuce servers can virtualize Red Hat very effectively, so that if a buyer were considering a Linux server, M$ can claim it works well on their systems. Also, this allows Red Hat to identify itself to the Interweb as running within windeuce, meaning M$ will have more relevant market share data, and they'll have it faster than anyone else.

Re:Quite strategic... (1)

schon (31600) | more than 4 years ago | (#28759535)

M$ can claim that their windeuce servers can virtualize Red Hat very effectively, so that if a buyer were considering a Linux server, M$ can claim it works well on their systems.

Only if RedHat ships this driver with their kernel, which isn't guaranteed. There are a lot of in-tree kernel modules that RH doesn't ship or support (various FS drivers, for example.)

Just because it's in the kernel mainline tree is no guarantee of RedHat (or any other distro) shipping with it.

Patent\IP Protection (1)

markkezner (1209776) | more than 4 years ago | (#28758655)

The code has been released under an acceptable OSS license, but does that guarantee protection from Patent or IP litigation? Does this protection extend to downstream distributors and users? What were the reasons for selecting GPL v2 instead of v3? These are important questions to ask.

The OSS community has been criticized in some cases of distrusting Microsoft as a knee-jerk reaction, but given Microsoft's long history of antagonistic behavior, I can't say that I blame them.

or use the time tested strategy (1, Interesting)

nimbius (983462) | more than 4 years ago | (#28758695)

of muscling into the industry only to release a flop product, and blame it on linux...while your virtualization of the same type works just fine

MS NEVER "shifts"!! (1, Troll)

SpaghettiPattern (609814) | more than 4 years ago | (#28758761)

Remember DHCP? MS came with that as an extension of bootp and with an RFC too. Surely a fortunate bug somewhere -that never was fixed- causing WfW not to comply, resulting in MS DHCP servers.

Remember NetBIOS over TCP? Where a clear algorithm was defined to map NetBIOS names to DNS. Not too unfortunately, in WfW the algorithm wasn't implemented causing incompatibilities between OS/2 and WfW, and making a transition from NetBIOS over NetBEUI a bigger pain than it should have been.

There must be more recent examples which I don't know about.

MS never gives a little without getting a lot. Stay clear of the b'stards.

Re:MS NEVER "shifts"!! (1)

nxtw (866177) | more than 4 years ago | (#28759051)

Remember DHCP? MS came with that as an extension of bootp and with an RFC too. Surely a fortunate bug somewhere -that never was fixed- causing WfW not to comply, resulting in MS DHCP servers.

Remember NetBIOS over TCP? Where a clear algorithm was defined to map NetBIOS names to DNS. Not too unfortunately, in WfW the algorithm wasn't implemented causing incompatibilities between OS/2 and WfW, and making a transition from NetBIOS over NetBEUI a bigger pain than it should have been.

There must be more recent examples which I don't know about.

Do you have any examples from the past 5 years? Anything from the past 15 years?

Re:MS NEVER "shifts"!! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28759471)

from the past 15 years - Win 2000 and non-standard Kerberos extensions

from the past 5 years - Vista and non-standard wireless ARP requests.

Re:MS NEVER "shifts"!! (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 4 years ago | (#28759317)

There must be more recent examples which I don't know about.

That's a shame, since your examples are ancient and petty. Making a transition from NetBIOS a bigger pain? That's seriously the best you have?

Hell, you don't even make it clear Microsoft did anything wrong on the second example... ok so there was "a clear algorithm" defined, but was it a standard? Had Microsoft ever signed off on it, or even see it for that matter? Was it not implemented out of spite, or was it a simple bug?

Reading your post, I almost feel like your opinion just cemented like 15 years ago, and now you're completely unwilling or unable to re-consider anything. Is it the same with all the opinions you hold? For example, are you wearing hammer pants and a hypercolor t-shirt right now because they're so cool? It's fascinating.

Of course, if MS builds up enough cust., then (0, Troll)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 4 years ago | (#28759023)

they will change the interface. It is normal MO for them; Embrace, Extend, Extinguish. MS does not know how to play nicely together.

Big deal. Such drivers are trivial. (3, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 4 years ago | (#28759177)

Big deal. Such drivers are trivial.

Virtualizing physical I/O devices on PC-like architectures requires code in the hypervisor to emulate the device. The driver in the operating system does stores into "device registers" as if talking the real device. Each such store or load causes a trap to the hypervisor, which has a device emulator watching the register changes and pretending to be the real peripheral. When the right registers have been loaded with the right values, and the final register store is made that would start the I/O operation, the device emulator then figures out what the OS wanted to do, and makes a call to the hypervisor's I/O system to do it.

In many cases, the device driver in the OS is doing all the optimization for the device controller of a real disk, doing angular optimization and head movement minimization. Since the real device underneath may be completely different, most of this is wasted work, and may reduce performance instead of increasing it.

So it's common to have dummy device drivers for virtual machines that just pass the OS's request through to the hypervisor, without trying to manage a real device. Such drivers don't do much, and are usually trivial, although Microsoft will probably try to complicate them somehow.

This isn't a new idea; it first appeared in IBM's VM for the System/370, where such calls were passed through using the DIAGNOSE instruction (an opcode used for hardware diagnostics only, and thus never used in ordinary programs and available as a spare opcode.)

One of the hypervisor vendors calls this "paravirtualization".

billg has left the building? (1)

Natasha (31280) | more than 4 years ago | (#28759195)

So is it just me or did Microsoft get more friendly toward Open Source about the time Bill Gates retired?

Precedent? (1)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 4 years ago | (#28759383)

Microsoft seems to have set a precedent for itself for being late in the game and then overpowering competition ... except for this time. Do you remember when Bill Gates made the pronouncement that no one would adopt TCP/IP as the networking standard? When everyone did, Microsoft hastily added Winsock to its Windows 3.11 for Workgroups. Do you remember how Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer made the pronouncement that open source would never take on and never cause any serious competition? Whoops, again, the great bastion of computing was wrong. Now, Microsoft is seeking to overwhelm Red Hat and Novell in Virtualization? I would say the deck is stacked heavily against Microsoft in this arena. Both Red Hat and Novell are using relatively mature virtualization engines when compared with the one MS just open sourced. Why would I choose MS's virtualization engine when Red Hat and Novell have ones that are more mature? What does Microsoft offer that would make me choose it over Zen, VMWare, or KVM? My guess is not much since I have tried their product and it does not perform as well as its competitors.

running that (1)

codepunk (167897) | more than 4 years ago | (#28759475)

Running those drivers would be about as smart as running Dr. Dos on windows....What do you mean it crashed?

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