Feeds

Microsoft set for open source outpouring?

Next up: Office, Red Hat, and Fedora

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Microsoft's massive code drop to the once-hated GPL looks like the first in a series of open source moves from the Redmond software giant.

Today, the company will announce a set of plug-ins for Microsoft Office for scientific discovery, chemical equations, and formulas built by Microsoft, and the plug-ins look like they will join a growing set of add-ons and code for Microsoft Office and Office applications released under Microsoft's OSI-approved open-source licenses.

You can check out Microsoft's open-source software for Office on CodePlex here. No further details were available on the new, Microsoft-led plug-ins at the time of going to press.

On the server side, Microsoft has promised news on its relationship with leading Linux distro Red Hat on virtualization in a statement that also hinted at the possibility of Fedora running smoothly as a virtualized guest on Hyper-V in Windows Server 2008 and forthcoming R 2.

Speaking after Microsoft announced it had released 20,000 lines of Windows kernel code for inclusion in the Linux kernel, senior director of platform strategy Sam Ramji told The Reg we should: "Expect more from us on Red Hat in the coming weeks."

He said the release of the kernel source code would make working with Red Hat easier, before adding: "We'll also expect to work with other commercial and non commercial distros."

Microsoft and Red Hat announced a partnership in March to test, validate, and jointly support each others' operating system running in their respective virtualizaiton hypervisors.

Building on the release of the kernel code Monday, Ramji promised Microsoft would work with the community to continually maintain and improve the code.

The Windows kernel code and subsequent improvements are being made available for free by Microsoft.

Updates and changes will be coordinated by Novell Linux Driver Project lead and Novell programmer Greg Kroah-Hartman, who apparently approached Microsoft to release the code, and Unix expert now Microsoft principal group program manager Hank Janssen.

Asked why open-sourcers should take Microsoft's commitment seriously, Ramji qualified Microsoft's growing support for open-source and Linux, which has stretched to a license it once backed away from hissing. He said the company was being pragmatic.

"We like any business we are interested in that has sustainable revenue," he said. In this case, it's selling more copies of Windows that run open-source applications or that work with Linux.

He predicted there would be even more backing for open source inside Microsoft as more business units see the benefits of this strategy. He noted the volume of requests Microsoft has received from customers to work with open source and Linux is enough for it to "break with tradition."

Just don't expect Microsoft to make too many concessions to modern times by releasing more Windows drivers for Linux under the GPL. Microsoft's 20,000 lines of code cover just three drivers - SCSI, IDE and Ethernet - in just one area of interest: virtualization.

However, if you take a look at the number of drivers the Linux kernel still needs on hardware here, you'll see just how far Linux lags Windows on some basic plug-and-play functionality.

"We don't have anything else on the roadmap right now," Ramji said. "If we identify other areas - let's say mouse or graphics and those become important, we certainly listen to those needs. Our roadmap is about improving the performance and the manageability of Linux on top of Hyper-V." ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Preview redux: Microsoft ships new Windows 10 build with 7,000 changes
Latest bleeding-edge bits borrow Action Center from Windows Phone
Google opens Inbox – email for people too thick to handle email
Print this article out and give it to someone tech-y if you get stuck
Microsoft promises Windows 10 will mean two-factor auth for all
Sneak peek at security features Redmond's baking into new OS
UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan
'Veteran Unix Admins' fear desktop emphasis is betraying open source
Google+ goes TITSUP. But WHO knew? How long? Anyone ... Hello ...
Wobbly Gmail, Contacts, Calendar on the other hand ...
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
Redmond top man Satya Nadella: 'Microsoft LOVES Linux'
Open-source 'love' fairly runneth over at cloud event
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.