Microsoft Submits Drivers For Linux Kernel.

Tuesday, 21. July 2009

Microsoft submits thousands of lines of code for inclusion in the Linux Kernel.

Yep, you’re not seeing things. On July 20, 2009 at OSCON, Microsoft announced their submission of three drivers to the Linux kernel. These drivers are licensed under the GPL2, and according to the group that handles such submissions, they have met all criteria for the drivers to be excepted in to the main line kernel.

At first glance, it would appear that all that screaming and jumping around that Ballmer is famous for managed to cause him to burst a blood vessel in his brain, but after reading the stories surrounding the submission, it turns out that this is no act of charity by Microsoft.

Why would Microsoft want to help Linux?

The short answer here is that they aren’t helping Linux, they are submitting code that’s sole goal is to make Linux run better under the Microsoft Virtualization platform. The drivers submitted are to allow Linux to work with Microsoft’s hypervisor. This will give Microsoft an advantage over competing virtualization platforms such as VMWare.

So, if this will give Microsoft an advantage, why would Linux except the code?

Most of the people I know, are asking why the kernel project would even consider accepting the code? Well, because Microsoft played by the open source rules, that’s why. Unlike Microsoft, the open source community sets guidelines to protect from discrimination. Unlike corporate models that favor certain groups over others when it comes to code or driver submission, most open source projects have a more down to earth approach. Check out what the rules are for submitting drivers to the Linux kernel, and you’ll understand why.

So, even though Microsoft’s intentions are not what I would consider angelic, as long as they meet the requirements for inclusion, they get to play on our field as well.

— Stu