Top Five Linux Contributor: Microsoft

Top Five Linux Contributor: Microsoft

Summary: While you shouldn't expect Windows to be open-sourced in your life-time, Microsoft—yes, Microsoft—is the fifth largest code contributor to Linux 3.0.

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Cats and dogs; apples and oranges; Linux and Microsoft. Two of these three things do not go together. Would you believe that Microsoft—yes Microsoft—was the fifth largest contributor to the soon to be released Linux 3.0 kernel? Believe it.

In a Linux Weekly News story, currently only available to subscribers, an analysis of Linux 3.0 contributors reveals that Microsoft was the fifth largest corporate contributer to Linux 3.0. While only 15h overall, that still puts Microsoft behind only Red Hat, Intel, Novell, and IBM in contributing new code to this version of Linux.

To be exact, Microsoft developer K. Y Srinivasan gets the credit for helping to improve Linux. Of course, as you might guess, neither Srinivasan nor Microsoft are doing this due to any particular love tor Linux per se.

The vast bulk of Microsoft's contributions has been to its own Hyper-V virtualization hypervisor drivers. Hyper-V is Microsoft's 64-bit hypervisor-based virtualization system. It's Microsoft's answer to VMware and Linux's own native Kernel-based Virtualization Manager (KVM).

Microsoft you see wants it to be possible for both Linux to run Server 2008 R2 instances and for Windows 2008 R2 to run Linux instances using its own virtualizaton tools. Microsoft has been working on this for some time with Novell, now SUSE.

At first, this code wasn't open-sourced at all, but in 2009, it was discovered that some GPL code was already in Hyper-V's Linux drivers. So it was that “In a break from the ordinary, Microsoft released 20,000 lines of device driver code to the Linux community. The code, which includes three Linux device drivers, has been submitted to the Linux kernel community for inclusion in the Linux tree. The drivers will be available to the Linux community and customers alike, and will enhance the performance of the Linux operating system when virtualized on Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V or Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V.”

It also helped, of course, that Microsoft, ever so reluctantly, has been forced to work with Linux to try to keep their market share. As Matt Asay, a noted open-source executive and author said at the time, “The news reflects Microsoft's continued interest in lobotomizing its virtualization competition through low prices, but also the recognition that it must open up if it wants to fend off insurgent virtualization strategies from Red Hat, Novell, and others in the open-source camp.

In the months after that though Microsoft did little to improve its code. Indeed Greg Kroah-Hartman, who oversees code staging to the Linux kernel, has complained at times that “The [Microsoft] developers again seem to have disappeared, this is getting old” and he threatened to remove the code from Linux.

Microsoft seems to have finally gotten the message. In the last few months they've worked hard to improve Hyper-V and Linux interoperability.

This may not last, and it's really only for Microsoft's own goals, but for now, Microsoft, yes Microsoft, is a leading contributor to Linux. Now, in these days of miracles, let me see if I can get my dogs to stop barking at my neighbors' cats.

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Topics: Software, Linux, Microsoft, Open Source, Operating Systems, Virtualization

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107 comments
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  • It's a bit misleading

    but if you parse the LXer information, the Linux Kernel Staging area is one where code lands and gets vetted, and if it stands up to scrutiny it later merges to the Main Line kernel.

    From what I understand, there have been a lot of little code snippet changes put in my MS, which while bumping their code contribution doesn't indicate breadth of pure number of lines of code.
    Dietrich T. Schmitz, *~* Your Linux Advocate
    • RE: Top Five Linux Contributor: Microsoft

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz, *~* Your Linux Advocate
      open source and Linux fanatics/trolls just cant let Microsoft do any right can they...
      Viper589
      • Fact of the matter is

        @Knix96
        Microsoft's interest is strictly in creating shims to allow Hyper-V run Linux and in particular, CentOS, not uncoincidentally a strong contender for RedHat shop business opportunities.

        Unfortunately, their efforts will be for naught as most shops are interested in doing the opposite: run Windows in Linux VMs; not the other way around.

        Remember the acronym kvm. It is going to come up alot.
        Dietrich T. Schmitz, *~* Your Linux Advocate
      • RE: Top Five Linux Contributor: Microsoft

        "Unfortunately, their efforts will be for naught as most shops are interested in doing the opposite: run Windows in Linux VMs; not the other way around."

        I've been running the other way around for years, still do. Linux is an interesting OS, but I don't see it replacing Windows.
        CobraA1
      • As Matt Asay is a nobody anymore

        @Knix96
        My guess is that Dietrich T. Schmitz wants people to believe he is heir apparent to his position.
        William Pharaoh
        • Why so scared, Dietrich?

          @William Pharaoh
          Something has you worried - your posts are even more "FUDdy" then usual.

          Something has you really bothered, that much is for sure.
          William Pharaoh
      • RE: Top Five Linux Contributor: Microsoft

        @Knix96
        When Microsoft finally does something right....Just let the rest of us know....Talk about trolls...LOL!!!
        linux for me
      • RE: trolls just cant let Microsoft do any right can they

        @Knix96

        It is <b>never</b> a good idea to turn your back on a coiled snake; as you never know when it will strike.

        And, using past experience WRT Microsoft, you are looking at a coiled snake; one never to be trusted.
        fatman65535
      • RE: Top Five Linux Contributor: Microsoft

        @
        "...most shops are interested in doing the opposite: run Windows in Linux VMs; not the other way around." That would probably not be as accurate your dreamworld may seem to be. We are the opposite.
        ItsTheBottomLine
      • RE: Top Five Linux Contributor: Microsoft

        @CobraA1,

        On all of our servers, we run VMWare ESX which loads a Linux kernel first. Then we run Windows VMs and Linux VMs. No, Linux probably won't take over as our desktop of choice in the enterprise, and it probably won't take over a lot of tasks for our servers either (too many proprietary apps running on Windows servers). But all of those servers are running within VMWare ESX, which is based on Linux.
        benched42
      • RE: Top Five Linux Contributor: Microsoft

        @benched42 - "But all of those servers are running within VMWare ESX, which is based on Linux. "

        That's not entirely accurate - ESX runs atop a custom kernel developed by VMWare for that purpose. It is not linux-based in itself, but linux is used as a loader for the ESX kernel.
        daftkey
    • I only wish you were so detailed in your

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz, *~* Your Linux Advocate rants against other companies, OS's other than Open and such:P Of course that would mean the rant part of your rants would end and you'd see things without that open source or die ideal that you cling to:)

      Pagan jim
      James Quinn
      • I am sorry your meal isn't sitting well with you

        @James Quinn

        Gas pains, indigestion, worse?
        Feel better.
        Dietrich T. Schmitz, *~* Your Linux Advocate
      • Classic... If you have no counter insult:P

        Dietrich T. Schmitz, *~* Your Linux Advocate I want to take this time to thank you for pointing out that whole "ideal" thing to me and others who might read this and it's effects on rational argument. You've yet to show you can be equally critical of Google and or Android as you can be of Apple and or MS, iOS or WP7. If you could drop that ideal and look at Google and or Android in the same light you do other companies you'd see that tGoogle is no different from any other multi billion dollar mega giant nor is Android free of IP violations. Such "Openness" (So very cool I could use that on you) or your part would make your arguments actually and factually better.

        Pagan jim
        James Quinn
        • Sorry you don't like reading what I write

          @James Quinn
          If you'd do some reading, you'd realize that what I have written is true. Microsoft is making attempts to get their Hyper-V shim code (drivers) into the Mainline Kernel, plain and simple. That is a very small subset of code my friend and if you were to look at the diffs you'd see just how little code they have contributed. Small snippets.

          Next time you see a comment from me, look away.
          Dietrich T. Schmitz, *~* Your Linux Advocate
      • RE: Top Five Linux Contributor: Microsoft

        "Next time you see a comment from me, look away."

        The most sensible thing you've said all year - your comments are rubbish, nobody should be taking them seriously. Everybody should follow this advice.
        CobraA1
      • RE: Top Five Linux Contributor: Microsoft

        @James Quinn _ thank you for your efforts but it's like convincing Taliban to shave their beards... Blind is blind is blind.
        ItsTheBottomLine
    • RE: Top Five Linux Contributor: Microsoft

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz, *~* Your Linux Troll

      "which while bumping their code contribution doesn't indicate breadth of pure number of lines of code."

      Who cares?
      CobraA1
      • RE: Top Five Linux Contributor: Microsoft

        @CobraA1
        You responded, you care. That is just sweet.
        daikon
      • RE: Top Five Linux Contributor: Microsoft

        @CobraA1
        On net you can see comparison of line numbers of MS and Intel. Its not so favorable to MS, but still any statistics that gets MS in top5 contributors to linux??? It is miracle :)
        przemoli