PORTLAND, OR -- Microsoft will support Red Hat Linux as a guest operating system in Windows Hyper-V but reaction to the news, disclosed at OSCON 2011 today, was muted, perhaps because this crowd remains wary of the Windows giant and its intentions towards open source.
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OSCON attendee and software architect Bryan Davis was unimpressed: “Same story, different day. Microsoft defines open as free add-ons to their closed systems and core technology to appropriate and fork."
Others said Microsoft’s motivation is pragmatic self interest. “It’s simple. Microsoft is doing it to make money, said Ulf Sandberg, CEO of SkySQL.
A manager at a large tech company who supports multi-vendor IT deployments was similarly blase. "If the shop is really into mixed environments, chances are it's running VMware anyway. Hyper-V is really more a Microsoft-only product, and IMHO the support for CentOS and RH is more of a sop to say 'See, we really DO love open-source, so consider us competition for VMware' than an honest attempt to support someone else's OS," he said via email. "I can't see Microsoft putting a lot of effort into Linux. No one I have spoken to is particularly excited at the prospect. The RHEL KVM seems to be generating more buzz in the circles I live in."
But, Gianugo Rabellino, Microsoft’s senior director of open source communities, did his best to woo OSCON attendees, stressing that many customers run a mix of Linux and Windows and that interoperability in this era of “mixed IT” is thus imperative.
Along the same lines, Microsoft also extended its SUSE Linux interoperability agreement (this time with Attachmate instead of Novell) until January 2016. During that time, Microsoft agreed to invest $100 million in new SUSE Linux Enterprise certificates for customers getting Linux support from SUSE.
The Red Hat Linux-Hyper-V news wasn’t really shocking given Microsoft’s big interoperability push—earlier this year it said it would support CentOS as a guest OS in HyperV.
Rabellino also talked up other examples of Microsoft’s good citizenship including its work to support Drupal and Joomla open source content management systems. Microsoft also announced that Version 4.0 of Windows Azure SDK for PHP and new tools to enable PHP application development in the cloud.
But, Rabellino’s attempts to appeal to the audience by touting his Apache Software foundation membership and his relatively short tenure in Redmond didn’t sway the more cynical attendees.
He invited OSCON participants to visit the Microsoft Redmond campus themselves, joking about the fear that some might feel at the notion.
“There are 60 buildings on the Redmond campus,” Rabellino said. “I know, 60 buildings full of Microsoft people may sound disturbing. But it is not, it’s actually pretty good.”
--Senior News Director Barbara Darrow contributed to this report.
More news from OSCON 2011, including livestream video.