Thursday, April 21, 2005

Microsoft is Virtually on Linux

The upcoming release of Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 Service Pack 1 will have support for heterogenous networks, including Linux-based computers. The Beta is already available for download. Virtualization provides key benefits to IT administrators, enabling them to
  • Flexibly deploy applications on hardware best suited for the job

  • Physical server consolidation - a hot-button issue, costs-wise

  • Legacy application re-hosting on modern server machines
The new Service Pack also provides 64-bit Windows Server 2003 compatibility, as well as royalty-free licensing of the Virtual Hard Disk

This is a significant step in the maturity of Linux, although it will have no impact on end-users' adoption of Linux. It also marks a departure from Microsoft's usual characterizations of Linux as 'a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches'. Microsoft has focused on interoperability in the past, and recognized the competitive threat of Linux, with Steve Ballmer, wanting "to emphasise the competitive threat, and in some senses the competitive opportunity, that Linux represents. Linux is a tough competitor. There's no company called Linux, there's barely a Linux road map. Yet Linux sort of springs organically from the earth"

Steve Ballmer is under pressure to demonstrate that Microsoft has not lost its' direction, given that their stock has effectively treaded water for the last three years. The company itself is doing very well, and significant initatives over the next couple of years will redefine the computing platform that we have gotten used to for a decade.

These initiatives range from the releases of the Team System, SQL Server 2005, and the much-heralded 'Longhorn'. Longhorn features seem to get better by the day, despite early reports that some killer features were pulled into current Windows versions. Longhorn will feature 'hypervisor' technology, enabling hardware virtualization right at the desktop OS level. The XBox 360 will debut later this year, and the folks at Microsoft Labs have sunk much money into a few Google-killers, while watching the company that 'does no evil' seize as much of the market mindshare and customer attention that Microsoft did in the past.

Vibrant /. discussion on the news - some highlights:

Microsoft's take on this, as in Microsoft's take on WordPerfect documents, Netscape Bookmarks, Apache, etc, is strictly one way. If you want to move from (insert Microsoft competitor here) they want to make that real easy. But going the other way will be hard as hell.

In this case, the sales argument to pointy haired bosses will be "did evil admins set up Linux infrasctucture on your network without you knowing? No problem. We can move that back to a supported platform. Microsoft. Where do you want to go today ?(TM)."

It also exposes the virtualized Linux sessions to the full power of Microsoft's partners, the malware vendors.

This is like the Sith saying, "We can do everything you can do, but now tremble before the power of the Dark Side!"

In the post-Microsoft world, I, for one, welcome our communist carcinogenic Linux overlords

Linux is really the flagship for the battle between freedom of information and big-business' inability to cope with change. Open source software has problems yes, but it sets up a playing field where 16 year olds from Turkmenistan can compete with one of the largest corporations in the world. There is a sea change in that is flattening out the World thanks to the wonders of the computer age. The Army of Penguins is ready to leave fipper-shaped welts on the backsides of the mighty Empire and Slashdot readers want to be on the front lines, ears to the ground, sharpening our beaks, er swords, er motherboards..?

Oh, and you know they're running scared when they trot out the old "socialism is communism" argument. Pfff, by their definition labor unions and organized sports are communist

Virtualization: From Desktop To The Enterprise/Erick M. Halter The Linux Uprising : How a ragtag band of software geeks is threatening Sun and Microsoft-and turning the computer world upside down/Spencer E. Ante Mastering Windows Server 2003/Mark Minasi UNIX and Windows 2000 Interoperability Guide/Alan R. Roberts Hackers and Painters: Big Ideas from the Computer Age/Paul Graham

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