Microsoft announced support for Linux in its Azure cloud service on Wednesday, and received some praise for its effort. Ubuntu's multimillionaire funder, Mark Shuttleworth, has described the service as "impressive", adding: "I highly recommend you try it."
In a blog post, Ubuntu on Microsoft’s Windows Azure IAAS, Shuttleworth writes:
"The team leading Azure has a sophisticated understanding of Ubuntu and Linux in general. They are taking a pragmatic approach that will raise eye- brows around the Redmond campus, but is exactly what customers want to see. We have taken a similar view. I know there will be members of the free software community that will leap at the chance to berate Microsoft for its very existence, but it’s not very Ubuntu to do so: let’s argue our perspective, work towards our goals, be open to those who are open to us, and build great stuff. There is nothing proprietary in Ubuntu-for-Azure, and no about-turn from us on long-held values."
The statement that "it's not very Ubuntu" to berate Microsoft refers to the Ubuntu Code of Conduct, which asks users to be considerate, respectful and display "humanity towards others". It's a code that the troll-ridden free software and open source movements ignore when it comes to Microsoft.
In fact, Microsoft hosting Linux on its Azure cloud isn't really any different from IBM hosting Linux on its proprietary mainframe operating systems and proprietary mainframe hardware. However, one difference is that IBM prefers to sell its own version of Unix, AIX, whereas Microsoft spun off its popular Unix, called Xenix, decades ago.
When announcing A New Milestone For Openness On Windows Azure at its Port 25 website, Microsoft noted that "Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc. has been working closely with the Windows Azure team … exploring openness and taking interoperability to a new level."
Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc, headed by Jean Paoli, was launched in April "to advance the company’s investment in openness – including interoperability, open standards and open source."
Microsoft also announced Windows Azure Web Sites, which it described as "a hosting framework for Web apps that will work across both Windows Azure and private-cloud datacenters," plus "new releases of the Windows Azure open source SDKs," which now include .NET, Java, Python, PHP and Node.js.
Microsoft claims it is now easy to deploy sites based on "WordPress or Drupal, Joomla or Umbraco, DotNetNuke or PHPBB" on Windows Azure.
As well as Ubuntu 12.04 as a virtual machine, Microsoft is also supporting OpenSUSE 12.1, CentOS 6.2, and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11.