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Microsoft Linux

Microsoft Using Linux To Optimize Skype Traffic 396

Posted by samzenpus
from the strange-bedfellows dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A security researcher believes that Microsoft has overhauled Skype, with thousands of Linux boxes serving as the 'supernodes' that route calls between users of the voice-over-IP service. Kostya Kortchinsky of Immunity Security 'discovered the Linux supernodes using a Skype probing technique he and colleague Fabrice Desclaux first demonstrated in 2006,' according to Ars Technica. The drastic infrastructure change doesn't affect the peer-to-peer nature of the calls between Skype users."
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Microsoft Using Linux To Optimize Skype Traffic

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  • by benedictaddis (1472927) on Thursday May 03, 2012 @07:52PM (#39884717)
    These intermediary nodes are only needed because we've broken the end-to-end principle - the idea that any Internet endpoint can talk to any other. We need to wean ourselves off NAT and start to demand native IPv6.
  • by Overly Critical Guy (663429) * on Thursday May 03, 2012 @07:54PM (#39884737)

    To gloat over the irony of Microsoft using cheap UNIX boxes for P2P infrastructure. Even in 2012, Microsoft is still the bogeyman here.

  • Why So Serious? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Thursday May 03, 2012 @07:55PM (#39884755)

    I've never understood why people get all shocked when someone uses a competitor's product when theirs can do the job too. Well, Linux is a better platform for embedded applications, single-purpose servers, etc. It is much more efficient because there's no GUI to drive and only the bare minimum needs to be loaded in memory. Even the kernel can be stripped down to only essential modules, and it can be tweaked for realtime applications.

    Windows servers aren't designed for that. They're designed to be low maintenance multi-purpose servers which are easily configurable. Most businesses who setup windows servers aren't using them in areas where high performance is needed. They are for satellite offices, small workgroups, etc., where the server has a variety of roles. The only high performance servers I routinely see windows deployed on routinely are domain controllers and mail servers (specifically Exchange servers).

    It's a sound business move.

  • Re:MS and Linux (Score:1, Insightful)

    by CriticalAnalysis (2631225) on Thursday May 03, 2012 @07:56PM (#39884759)
    How is it ironic? Microsoft has used Linux on some of their services for a long time. It just shows that Microsoft doesn't take the hard approach of FOSS fanatics but uses what suits the purpose best. Maybe there's something to learn from that.
  • by SplashMyBandit (1543257) on Thursday May 03, 2012 @08:00PM (#39884801)
    Well, very appropriate considering Microsoft's position on Linux and Free Software was that they were a "cancer" (their words, not mine). So maybe giving them a ribbing at this news isn't unjustified.
  • Re:Why So Serious? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TubeSteak (669689) on Thursday May 03, 2012 @08:02PM (#39884823) Journal

    I've never understood why people get all shocked when someone uses a competitor's product when theirs can do the job too. Well, Linux is a better platform for embedded applications, single-purpose servers, etc. It is much more efficient because there's no GUI to drive and only the bare minimum needs to be loaded in memory. Even the kernel can be stripped down to only essential modules, and it can be tweaked for realtime applications.

    Windows servers aren't designed for that.

    Eat your own dog food.
    If Windows Server isn't secure enough or powerful enough to do the job, maybe Microsoft should revisit their design choices.

  • Re:Why So Serious? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by aintnostranger (1811098) on Thursday May 03, 2012 @08:06PM (#39884875)

    I've never understood why people get all shocked when someone uses a competitor's product

    Maybe in this case people get shocked not because it's just a competing product but one that was deemed a "cancer" by MS itself? It's one thing to use a competitor product, it's another to use something you denounce as immoral.

  • by Overly Critical Guy (663429) * on Thursday May 03, 2012 @08:16PM (#39885007)

    Not to come off as a defender of Microsoft, but Ballmer said that over 11 years ago, and it was in reference to the GPL's viral nature. Ribbing of Microsoft on Slashdot has to do with us-versus-them platform fanboyism more than anything.

  • Re:No surprise (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 03, 2012 @08:17PM (#39885027)

    This is such tripe. These patches are to get it working well on their hypervisor. It's not like they were improving scheduling performance, patching security holes, or implementing drivers. They want Linux to work better running under Windows.

  • by dan_barrett (259964) on Thursday May 03, 2012 @08:18PM (#39885043)

    Why is this interesting / amusing ?
    Technically using Linux or some other unix as a supernode is fine, probably a better solution than Windows server - but this is Microsoft, the dominant operating system provider; very much the competitor to Linux. they *could* use a competitor's solution but traditionally Microsoft reinvents the wheel rather than do this (see Silverlight, XPS, .NET, Office Open document format, Sync framework for examples)

    Choosing Linux rather than their own OS product for this task seems like bad PR especailly after publicly criticising Linux as an insecure, slow, potentially IP-violating OS platform.
    You may recall they were "caught" using FreeBSD for hotmail after acquiring that service - and eventually migrated it to Windows.

    I'm guessing there will soon be a "WinMin" or Windows server core based platform that hosts this instead of Linux.

  • Re:And... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob.hotmail@com> on Thursday May 03, 2012 @08:22PM (#39885083) Journal

    So what? Why should the average person care?

    Oddly enough, they shouldn't care because hell has frozen over and Microsoft is using Linux.

    They should care because Microsoft is taking steps to centralise what was a peer-to-peer telephony system. By adding supernodes that they control, they are positioning Skype to transition to a system where everybody's data goes through Microsoft servers rather than direct person to person.

    They're happy to have us discussing Linux because the privacy implications are what they don't want us talking about.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 03, 2012 @08:28PM (#39885159)

    MS is pretty irrelevant these days outside of the enterprise desktop arena. I don't get the continual obsession with them around these parts. People still living in the 1990s, I guess.

  • Re:MS and Linux (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wanzeo (1800058) on Thursday May 03, 2012 @08:57PM (#39885397)

    Microsoft was in the top 10 corporate contributors to the kernel in 2011. And I am not a shill, check my posts dawg.

  • by caywen (942955) on Thursday May 03, 2012 @10:44PM (#39886133)

    Dear Recently Acquired Skype Division:

    Please abandon your entire Linux infrastructure, like, right after you read this. I know the market is hypercompetitive, but we really need you to spend 2 years rebuilding everything from scratch on Windows Server, because if word got out that one of our divisions is using Linux, the slashdot community will go ape shit. In the meanwhile, you'll still be accountable to shareholders for revenue, so figure out how to make money after your service goes down for 2 years. Maybe you can sell chocolate bars or have a bake sale or something.

    Yours,
    Steve Ballmer

  • by SplashMyBandit (1543257) on Thursday May 03, 2012 @11:32PM (#39886375)
    Ballmer understood Linux and Free Software - if he didn't then he was negligent as CEO, and I actually give him more credit than others. Ballmer also understood that with the right tech support networks (eg. pre-installation) that Linux was a huge competitive threat to Windows. It is only recently that Microsoft has backed off on such comments, they weren't isolated comments made in 2001, they were made consistently and has part of an orchestrated campaign over many years (please, check out the notorious "Halloween Documents" for some perspective on Microsoft's modus operandi - you may never of heard of them, but anyone who is anything but a n00b is well aware of these and Microsoft's other dirty tricks).
  • Re:MS and Linux (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bert64 (520050) <bert&slashdot,firenzee,com> on Friday May 04, 2012 @02:05AM (#39887083) Homepage

    They only even acknowledge the existence of linux when they are still at the "embrace" stage, in markets where ms is already dominant they never even acknowledge that linux exists at all...

    ODBC driver for mssql - ms do not dominate the database market, oracle are still huge, mysql and db2 are well known too
    hyper-v drivers - ms are nothing in the virtualization market, having been very late to the party and already released and subsequently dropped a previous virtualization product (ms virtual server)
    frontpage extensions - again, apache is still the biggest player in webhosting

    They don't even attempt to make linux ports of any of their desktop apps, nor do they make it easy for linux users to connect to their more widespread server products like exchange

  • by unixisc (2429386) on Friday May 04, 2012 @02:57AM (#39887307)

    The firewall will (or at least should) be there - NAT or no NAT. In case of Skype, the application has to work by undergoing something called NAT traversal, which pretty much destroys the 'security' aspect of NAT. Skype & other internet telephony need to wok on peer to peer configurations, and that means not having any address translations in b/w. If anything, Skype is one of the last places where one should have NAT.

    The single entry point is easy - one can have a computer or wireless router/access point acting as a DHCP6 server, and assigning addresses from there. If certain devices are not to be able to access the external internet, don't assign them public addresses. If you want to connect something to the internet but not have its IP used for future security breaches, use dynamic public addresses. If OTOH you want your garage door to have an IP so that you can open it remotely if your spouse is stuck outside while you're @ work, give it a static public IP.

"Love may fail, but courtesy will previal." -- A Kurt Vonnegut fan

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