Today, Microsoft contributed Linux drivers to Linux community that will enhance the performance of the Linux operating system when virtualized on Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V or Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V. Although not an entirely new phenomena, Microsoft is rarely seen to embrace GNU General Public License (v2) and is very vocal about the licensing procedure although this is the first time ever of any direct code contribution (20000 lines) to GPL v2.
As a featured story inside Microsoft’s press release, Tom Hanrahan, director of Microsoft’s Open Source Technology Center, is seen through the Q&A session of this release, here’s what he has to say about the announcement -
Today we’re releasing Linux device driver code to the Linux kernel community. 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 license, which is the Linux community’s preferred license.
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.
The Linux device drivers we are releasing are designed so Linux can run in enlightened mode, giving it the same optimized synthetic devices as a Windows virtual machine running on top of Hyper-V. Without this driver code, Linux can run on top of Windows, but without the same high performance levels. We worked very closely with the Hyper-V team at Microsoft to make that happen.
In a blog posted by Windows Virtualization product group, the author seems intrigued by such announcement and hopeful to see future integration made easier between the two communities, especially for Hyper-V integration components. Learn more (watch) about the announcement and how the drivers will enhance performance of Linux OS when virtualized with Hyper-V Technology at MSDN Channel 9.
Microsoft Hyper-V is a hypervisor-based virtualization system for x64 systems. It is available as part of certain x64 editions of Windows Server 2008 and a free stand-along version called “Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008” was released separately as a variant of Windows Server 2008 Core OS.