Microsoft recently announced that it had contributed source code allowing a Linux system to happily exist in a virtualized environment hosted by Hyper-V. While this code may not make it into the Linux kernel for a number of reasons, it is significant that Microsoft chose to develop this code, protect it using the GPL V2 license and then offer it to the Linux community.
Here are my initial thoughts on this move:
- Microsoft is acting on the realization that Linux has become a member of the datacenter club and has offered kernel-level code making Linux systems work better in a Hyper-V hosted environment
- One could make the case that Microsoft is demonstrating that their virtual systems are non-standard and that special kernel-level code is needed to make things work well in their environment.
- If Microsoft's view of cloud computing is to come to predominate, Microsoft must be more hospitable to Linux or those workloads will never be part of a world that Microsoft controls.
- The Linux community will be very suspicious of this off and will look for the hook hidden within the bait. This means that the code will be very, very carefully scrutinized.
- The availability of these kernel modules, by themselves, does not mean Hyper-V has become an open environment by any means. Hyper-V still controls how virtual systems can access the network, storage and a number of other critical system resources. All sorts of "deviltry" could happen that would make Linux workloads perform poorly in this environment so that Microsoft could claim "See, we told you. Linux isn't as good as Windows and so you should rehost your software to run on Windows." Just remember how the POSIX interface standards were initially implemented in the Windows world.
Now the real sport begins. Let's watch how the Linux community deals with this gift.