Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Microsoft becomes a contributor to Linux

The headline sorta says it all. And no, this isn't a joke...
In an historic move, Microsoft Monday submitted driver source code for inclusion in the Linux kernel under a GPLv2 license.

The code consists of four drivers that are part of a technology called Linux Device Driver for Virtualization. The drivers, once added to the Linux kernel, will provide the hooks for any distribution of Linux to run on Windows Server 2008 and its Hyper-V hypervisor technology. Microsoft will provide ongoing maintenance of the code.
Wow. Does Steve Ballmer know about this?
"Obviously we are tickled about it," said Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation. "Hell has frozen over, the seas have parted," he said with a chuckle.

Microsoft made the announcement at the annual OSCON open source conference that opened Monday in San Jose.

Greg Kroah-Hartman, the Linux driver project lead and a Novell fellow, said he accepted 22,000 lines of Microsoft's code at 9 a.m. PST Monday. Kroah-Hartman said the Microsoft code will be available as part of the next Linux public tree release in the next 24 hours. The code will become part of the stable release.

"Then the whole world will be able to look at the code," he said.
Well, gee. Who could have ever imagined Microsoft releasing any code under a free software license? What a pleasant surprise.

We sure hope this is merely a sign of things to come. We at the Northwest Progressive Institute are strong believers in interoperability - the property that things should be able to work together. The concept is important in software because without it, there cannot be a free exchange of information.

The free software community has long accepted and cherished the idea, and it seems at long last Microsoft is starting to come around.

We extend our congratulations to Sam Ramji, Microsoft's director of open source technology strategy, for this breakthrough.


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