Microsoft, broadest supporter of Linux

In writing recently about the continuation (451 subscribers) of the Microsoft-SUSE Windows-Linux interoperability and patent agreement, it occurred to me that in a sense, Microsoft is the broadest supporter of Linux in the industry. Microsoft obviously supports SUSE Linux quite deeply given nearly five years of work with its commercial backer. Microsoft somewhat begrudgingly entered into a virtualization agreement with Red Hat, so that both could better support one another’s operating systems and hypervisors. Finally, Microsoft has been among the most aggressive vendors in the industry to back unpaid, community Linux, such as CentOS, for which it unveiled support last month.

Indeed, Microsoft has consistently displayed some respect for Linux in general, including its contribution of code to the Linux kernel under the GPL.

Despite the concerns about Microsoft’s control over SUSE Linux or Linux in general, the fact of the matter is Microsoft’s investment of both dollars, including its SUSE deals worth a few hundred million, and investment of of resources, such as the interoperability work with Novell/SUSE, the kernel contribution, the cross-OS and hypervisor support work with Red Hat and the support of CentOS, Microsoft is significantly supporting Linux development and use in the enterprise.

I wrote last year about the uncertainty around Novell/SUSE kernel contribution given the Attachmate acquisition.

That all-important contribution from one of the key drivers behind the Linux kernel will now likely continue in large part thanks to Microsoft. And while we cannot simply forget Microsoft’s past actions, such as resisting the GPL, the company’s position as a broad supporter of Linux certainly illustrates how we live in a much different Linux landscape today.

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12 comments ↓

#1 John on 09.02.11 at 8:39 am

I disagreed with your.

I haven’t seen a really important investment of Microsoft to Linux. I don’t see MS betting on Linux.

Why we dont see MS products like Sharepoint, Exchange, SQL server ported and supported under Linux?

That will be an important investment. Oracle and IBM had almost all their server software ported to Linux. MS does not have done that.

#2 Jay Lyman on 09.07.11 at 4:04 pm

Thanks for posting, John,

You have a fair disagreement. Microsoft has not bet on Linux or supported it with its other software. The point of my post, however, is that Microsoft is now among the primary providers of enterprise Linux support, given its work with SUSE on interoperability and joint marketing, with Red Hat on mutual virtualization support and with the community CentOS distribution. It’s part of the changing Linux landscape that I am covering. That’s a far cry from the anti-open source, evil proprietary rival that Microsoft and Windows were five years ago or 10 years ago.

JL

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