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Microsoft To Run Linux On Azure 189

Posted by samzenpus
from the odd-couple dept.
snydeq writes "After years of battling Linux as a competitive threat, Microsoft is now offering Linux-based operating systems on its Windows Azure cloud service. The Linux services will go live on Azure at 4 a.m. EDT on Thursday. At that time, the Azure portal will offer a number of Linux distributions, including Suse Linux Enterprise Server 11 SP2, OpenSuse 12.01, CentOS 6.2 and Canonical Ubuntu 12.04. Azure users will be able to choose and deploy a Linux distribution from the Microsoft Windows Azure Image Gallery and be charged on an hourly pay-as-you-go basis."
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Microsoft To Run Linux On Azure

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  • Heh... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Yeah but how many people honestly use Azure?

  • So what's new? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by recoiledsnake (879048) on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @05:50PM (#40238349)

    Microsoft almost always supports other platforms if it has enough marketshare and if they think they can make money off it. They even seem to be making Office for the iPad. The summary is trying to be a troll as usual. This is like WINE, more support is always good if you trying to get as many customers as possible.

    They even released an Android app recently.

    http://www.zdnet.com/blog/microsoft/microsofts-bing-mobile-team-introduces-new-app-first-for-android-phones/12856 [zdnet.com]

    • by Anonymous Coward

      One app?

      https://play.google.com/store/search?q=microsoft+corp&c=apps

      Bing, OneNote, Lync

      OneNote is actually really awesome on android and so is Lync/communicator.

      Everyone forgets Microsoft has always been developer and platform friendly just not open source.
      They used to be good at documentation at least but that's been failing as of late also.

      So glad i just signed up for my free 90 day trial of Azure today though, was about to cancel that because even as a .NET developer it wasn't appealing to me to get

    • Re:So what's new? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by chrb (1083577) on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @07:08PM (#40239059)

      Microsoft almost always supports other platforms if it has enough marketshare and if they think they can make money off it.

      Microsoft will not support other platforms if they pose a real threat to their core product of Windows+Office, but they will support other platforms if it helps to maintain the appearance of competition and hence keep antitrust regulators at bay. Having an Apple desktop taking 5% of the global market is acceptable if it means that Microsoft gets the other 95%, and when accused of having a monopoly, they can point to Apple as evidence of a competitive alternative. A duopoly with a single-digit market share competitor is better than being subject to antitrust regulators.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Microsoft will not support other platforms if they pose a real threat to their core product of Windows+Office

        Who would? What sort of idiotic corporation would support their direct competitor's attempt destroy their own revenue stream?!

        but they will support other platforms if it helps to maintain the appearance of competition and hence keep antitrust regulators at bay.

        Or the more obvious reason of: They make money supporting those platforms. They are interested, like any other company, in making money so they will support any platform on which they can make money.

        • by Alex Belits (437) *

          Microsoft currently doesn't make money on anything but Windows and Office -- everything else is either runs at loss, or has so much money sunk in it while it was being developed or ran at loss, it will take significant amount of time to turn profit.

          Microsoft behavior is all about strategy now -- they want to keep their two platforms dominants and dabble into things that they think, they can have profitable in the future. But "dabble" is a key word -- Bing, Azure, their "Microsoft Nook" shit with Barnes and

    • There once were two cats of Kilkenny

      Each thought there was one cat too many

      So they fought and they fit

      And they scratched and they bit

      'Til (excepting their nails

      And the tips of their tails)

      Instead of two cats there weren't any!

      Kilkenny Cats [wikipedia.org]

      Microsoft and Android aren't just an "other platform" to each other. They are death itself.

  • I think it's a good step towards the right direction. Evil or not, Microsoft at least tilts towards being... less evil with this move. Might be too early to state that, but any nudge should be regarded with hope.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      until Linux is eating into their desktop business and then see them launch the Patent ICBMs. Canonical better buy some kinetic kill vehicles...

      • by terjeber (856226) on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @06:13PM (#40238599)

        Ah, I haven't had a good ROTFL in a long time. Some time in the '90s I guess. Thanks.

        Wait until ... Linux is eating into their desktop business...

        Yes, and that will be two days after pigs grow wings and fly.

        PS, I love Linux as a server, and it runs my Rails stuff very well, but "Linux on the Desktop"? Seriously? Does anyone believe in that anymore?

        Microsoft makes big bucks from their server stuff. Really big money. Linux on the server is more of a threat to MS than is (an extremely theoretical) Linux on the desktop. Still they do it in Azure. Looks like you just proved that you are a clueless git (no, not the distributed kind that Torvalds did).

        • by cpu6502 (1960974)

          No but I still point people to ubuntu.com and say, "Here have some free software." Maybe they'll try it and like it.

          • by griffjon (14945)

            I wouldn't count it out yet. Ubuntu+Unity is one damned slick OS. Now, will it overtake windows? Not in the near future, to be sure, but I definitely see the role for Linux on tablets and netbooks as primed and ready. Unity is clearly structured for a touch+voice interface.

        • by lgw (121541)

          PS, I love Linux as a server, and it runs my Rails stuff very well, but "Linux on the Desktop"? Seriously? Does anyone believe in that anymore?

          If by "desktop" you mean "tablet, phone, or thin client with a real keyboard and monitor attached" then, yes. I expect Android to be a serious threat to Microsoft's "desktop" business once people realize that simply plugging in their existing KVM into the existing USB/HDMI ports on a typical andriod phone already have meets all the non-geek's computing needs. (And on the corporate desktop, thin client + desktop virtualization serves the need, though Microsoft still gets a Win7 licence fee there, so that w

          • Actually, using C# (.Net) you can share a lot of the same codebase for all of the above platforms. There are some UI differences, but most of the underlying libraries/code is the same.
            • Actually, using C# (.Net) you can share a lot of the same codebase for all of the above platforms. There are some UI differences, but most of the underlying libraries/code is the same.

              Interesting... That's EXACTLY the same thing I said about using GCC instead of MS VC. C FTW!

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by turbidostato (878842)

          "PS, I love Linux as a server, and it runs my Rails stuff very well, but "Linux on the Desktop"? Seriously? Does anyone believe in that anymore?"

          Well, since 2000 I've been working for four companies; all of them supported linux as their main desktop OS, so go figure.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by drinkypoo (153816)

          PS, I love Linux as a server, and it runs my Rails stuff very well, but "Linux on the Desktop"? Seriously? Does anyone believe in that anymore?

          Yes. It's called Android. More nettop devices are coming with it. Via is about to kick out a $49 all-in-one motherboard that comes with it and should offer acceptable web browsing performance (with Opera Mobile) and media playing performance, and Angry Birds, so it should succeed. There's a number of $99 boxes which are pretty credible and turnkey... And you can treat it like ordinary Linux if you choose. The current economic situation is leading more and more people to look at inexpensive "alternatives" so

      • by exomondo (1725132)

        until Linux is eating into their desktop business and then see them launch the Patent ICBMs. Canonical better buy some kinetic kill vehicles...

        Haha, it's been a while since i've seen a 'Year of the Linux Desktop is coming!' advocate :)

    • Re:A good start (Score:5, Insightful)

      by uigrad_2000 (398500) on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @06:28PM (#40238699) Homepage Journal

      I agree that this is a positive step.

      I have nearly a religious hatred towards MS, and it has nothing to do with "Microsoft's desire for profit." I work for a company that sells software for profit, so obviously that would would be hypocritical if I felt that way.

      What I've always hated about Microsoft was their willingness to buck standards just to prevent their users from using other products along with MS products.

      This started with early versions of Windows that required you to also buy DOS. A competitor to DOS came out (Dr. DOS), and Microsoft responded by putting a check into the Windows bootstrap that would cause it to exit out with an error if Dr. DOS was detected. Any time a company goes out of their way to make their own product not operate with 3rd party software, it generates serious rage from customers like me.

      As I look back over the last few years, the last move by MS that really angered me was the whole OOXML vs Open Document war [wikipedia.org], where Microsoft refused to use the new standard, and instead made their own new standard with built in obfuscation.

      There's still a lot terrible decisions that MS makes for their customers (hiding file extensions by default [techie-buzz.com] in Windows, modifying extensions on files downloaded with IE without informing the user [techtalkz.com], automatically removing line breaks [microsoft.com] on messages read in Outlook without telling the user), but I've seen far less pure evil come from the giant, compared to ages past.

      • Re:A good start (Score:5, Informative)

        by shutdown -p now (807394) on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @07:03PM (#40239001) Journal

        This started with early versions of Windows that required you to also buy DOS. A competitor to DOS came out (Dr. DOS), and Microsoft responded by putting a check into the Windows bootstrap that would cause it to exit out with an error if Dr. DOS was detected.

        If you're telling old war stories, at least tell them right. This particular one is known as AARD code [wikipedia.org]. It was present in a beta version of Windows 3.1. Digital Research found it a month before release, and so it was disabled there.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          And always remember to include the memo from Microsoft Senior Vice President Brad Silverberg:

          "What the [user] is supposed to do is feel uncomfortable, and when he has bugs, suspect that the problem is DR-DOS and then go out to buy MS-DOS."

      • by devent (1627873)

        Just theoretical, Microsoft could just say it supports Linux distributions in Azure, but they will run 10% slower then any Windows Server, and are more difficult to configure. I don't think they will be that stupid anyway. Linux is demanded from their customers, and if it runs bad on their Azure it will be big news.

    • by bram (490)

      you must be new here

    • "I think it's a good step towards the right direction. Evil or not, Microsoft at least tilts towards being... less evil with this move."

      You think so.

      Microsoft knows it has a hard time with Azure being a Microsoft-only platform. Linux is now considered a valid choice at least server-side so a number of companies, even if going with Microsoft servers, would reject Azure in the basis of "what if we want to go the Linux path tomorrow?" when other "cloud" companies are offering support for both platforms.

      But "l

  • Microsoft doesn't care about loyalty, to customers, to vendors, to themselves, or even their own products. They simply care about profit.
    • by Microlith (54737)

      Microsoft cares about loyalty to their own products. They will never exclude them, and will always give them an advantage. But they will support things if they are forced to by the market, which is damn near miraculous given how hard Microsoft has tried (and is trying) to destroy them.

      • by exomondo (1725132)

        Microsoft cares about loyalty to their own products. They will never exclude them, and will always give them an advantage.

        Not really, perfect example is Photosynth wrt Windows Phone, or on{x} [computerworld.com.au] on Android.

  • As a 'distributor' of Linux services will they be suing themselves for all the 'blatant' patent infringement that Linux is doing or just trap the end users with those patent fees?

    • As a 'distributor' of Linux services will they be suing themselves for all the 'blatant' patent infringement that Linux is doing or just trap the end users with those patent fees?

      No, Microsoft won't sue themselves, because they have a right to exercise their own patents. Microsoft has nothing against people paying Microsoft in order to use Linux, whether its because the direct user is paying for Azure, or because someone in the distribution chain is paying Microsoft a patent licensing fee.

      What Microsoft obj

      • No what microsoft is objecting to is poeple using software without paying them.

        Does not matter which software.

        • by reub2000 (705806)

          Payment is something you give to someone that provided you with something. The word you are looking for is protection money.

      • They have a history of double dipping so why the hell not?

        Surely, at some point, it will become inconceivable that they earn more money from AWS or other cloud users patent fees than from their own cloud clients. They're extracting money from Android manufacturers. They know all too well how and where to piggy back themselves onto others along the food chain... Parasites...

    • They are not distributing Linux services. They have released some driver code that is now in the Linux kernel. They are renting VM space to customers. Customers may choose to install Windows, Linux, or something else in those VMs (Microsoft, NetApp an Citrix just added Hyper-V support to FreeBSD and are in the process of pushing that code upstream, so that's about to become a third choice), but it's the customer's liability if it's something that infringes patents. There is a good chance, however, that
  • I hope someone is charging them an absolute pantload of money and giving them absolutely no support options whatsoever.

    • It's Linux. The second part is included with the install.

      • Not in this case, apparently. TFA:

        Open-source support company OpenLogic is providing CentOS for the Azure portal. CentOS is a clone of the enterprise-focused Red Hat Enterprise Linux distribution. (Red Hat did not respond to queries to comment on the Azure announcement.) OpenLogic has provided commercial support for CentOS since 2009, along with 600 other open-source programs. For Microsoft, OpenLogic will support all the running instances of CentOS, which includes providing Azure with the latest version of CentOS. Users will be able to update their CentOS virtual machines from a repository of patches that OpenLogic will maintain on Azure. Microsoft has contracted OpenLogic to provide support, initially, for a set monthly fee, said Steve Grandchamp, CEO of OpenLogic.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @06:11PM (#40238593) Journal
    My understanding, back when MS first started talking about the whole 'Azure' thing, was that they were trying to distinguish themselves from Amazon(and others) 'just a bunch of VMs, but easy to buy/release programmatically' product in favor of some sort of more abstracted 'platform' that would hide both the hardware details and the OS guts, in favor of an environment that mostly resembled an application's-eye-view of Windows; but without the Windows administration, along with some similarly abstracted SQL and web-hosting things. It was always presumed that it wouldn't exactly be running on Linux; but that it didn't 'run Windows' in the sense of any 'Windows' SKU that Joe Customer could buy a box of and plunk onto a server at the office...

    Was offering just-plain-boring offsite VMs always part of the plan? Did they discover somewhere partway through the execution phase that their pure-cloud application environment just wasn't quite Windows enough for their customers? Are the plain-VM offerings an integral part of the somewhat confusing alphabet soup of 'azure services', or is this a checkbox-filling thing that was tacked on because somebody wanted it and the internal cost of hyper-v licenses is small?
    • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @07:12PM (#40239093) Journal

      I don't know what the original plan was, but today Azure covers both ends of the spectrum. If you want, you can treat it as an abstract black box, deploying websites or services without caring what the underlying OS is and how it runs - all you know that it runs .NET and native Win32 binaries. Ditto for SQL Azure and other services.

      On the other end, VMs have already been available for a while, and you could even upload your own VHDs there and mount them. I don't recall when that was added, but certainly not from the very beginning.

      The original black box is not so black anymore, either. For example, you can use RDP to connect to your web and worker instances, to e.g. debug things there. In practice, it turns out that it was "Windows enough" all along, it just wasn't revealed entirely. On other fronts, it lets you e.g. configure PHP to run as an ISAPI module or via FastCGI, which exposes the fact that its IIS.

      As to why, well... I guess some people want more control and VMs with RDP (and now Linux, too), while others are perfectly happy with not bothering at all and just clicking "Deploy" for their package in the admin interface. If you can convince both of those to give you money, why not? Especially if you're heavily competing against two other cloud service providers, one of which pretty much dominates the market.

    • by Junta (36770)

      Regardless of initial intent (I seem to vaguely remember the same message being relayed by people *swearing* azure was going to render other platforms irrelevant), they probably see EC2 continuing on without popularity abating. MS realized they aren't fundamentally changing the game so they want to try to beat EC2 at their own game. Probably a whole lot of practical realization that while in theory a platform that magically has 'no OS' is actually going to be harder to debug/service than they expected....

  • frozen confectioneries sighted in the Netherworld

    -I'm just sayin'
  • by claytongulick (725397) on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @06:15PM (#40238621) Homepage

    I was planning to book a skiing vacation in Colorado, but it looks at if all the sweet powder will be on the mountains in hell.

    • by digitig (1056110)
      Don't worry. The version Microsoft supports will be an "improved" one that is subtly incompatible with "traditional" Linux services.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Otherwise known as Ubuntu

  • Charon (Score:4, Informative)

    by Saija (1114681) on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @06:16PM (#40238627) Journal
    I heard this Charon guy it's having problems with the freeze of the styx river
  • after which it is expected to spontaneously burst into flames
  • If you're into devops, the company I work for has today released a knife client plugin for compatibility with Azure, allowing you to spin up and manage Azure instances easily from the command line. And of course knife can bootstrap Chef onto any of the announced Azure OSs. I'll let the press release provide details, because it does a better job of it than I will ;)

    http://www.opscode.com/press-releases/opscode-announces-interoperability-with-windows-azure/ [opscode.com]

  • If you can't beat 'em, find a way to make money while you join 'em.

    Well played, Microsoft, well played.

  • Repent, ye sinners, as this is certain sign that the End of Days is upon us.
  • OpenSUSE 12.01 doesn't exist, but 12.1 is the current version, so that's probably what was meant in the summary.
  • by srobert (4099) on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @06:38PM (#40238777)

    ... that Microsoft is now embracing Linux and will be extending its capabilities?

  • Go back to the original spec. If it's not working per the spec, that's a bug, fix it free. If they want a change to something that is working per the spec, that's a chargeable change.
  • Red Hat apparently not supported. Yet CentOS is. And lots of others. The biggest and most important one omitted for some reason. Me thinks it smells like divide & conquer. Anybody (still) believes in M$ intentions ? "Honest Microsoft" ? Isn't it an oxymoron ?
    • by jo_ham (604554)

      Maybe Red Hat declined to participate?

      Isn't that the point of CentOS in the first place?

      • by unixisc (2429386)
        How does that make sense? Had Microsoft approached RH and told them that we want to buy RHEL licenses and support it on Azure, why would they say no, particularly when there is money rolling in? Seems more like what shutdown said - either it's cheaper, or more likely, MS doesn't want to buy from their competitor.
        • by jo_ham (604554)

          They could say no because they don't want to work with MS for ideological reasons, or just plain business reasons - on either side. Who knows. I just thought it was unlikely that in a move where MS is adapting its business to explicitly offer Linux OS options on Azure that their reason for not offering RHEL was "divide and conquer" and the insinuation from the GP that MS is dishonest and evil.

          Far more likely that one or other simply didn't want to work together, rather than some highly convoluted scheme whe

    • It's "supported" as in "official support".

      Open-source support company OpenLogic is providing CentOS for the Azure portal. CentOS is a clone of the enterprise-focused Red Hat Enterprise Linux distribution. (Red Hat did not respond to queries to comment on the Azure announcement.) OpenLogic has provided commercial support for CentOS since 2009, along with 600 other open-source programs. For Microsoft, OpenLogic will support all the running instances of CentOS, which includes providing Azure with the latest version of CentOS. Users will be able to update their CentOS virtual machines from a repository of patches that OpenLogic will maintain on Azure. Microsoft has contracted OpenLogic to provide support, initially, for a set monthly fee, said Steve Grandchamp, CEO of OpenLogic.

      Otherwise you can run whatever the hell you want there:

      In addition to the virtual machine images of selected distributions, users will be able to import their own Linux builds through Microsoft's Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) capability, according to the announcement posted by Microsoft.

      I guess the reason why it's CentOS + paid support rather than RedHat is either because it's cheaper, or because MS doesn't want to give money to one of their major competitors in server space, or likely both.

      • by boorack (1345877)

        Actually I'm using CentOS at some deployments and Red Hat at others. Some customers require official paid support and I don't mind recommend them paying Red Hat for this - they tend to use this money to develop better products and do release source code for most of them. Contrast this with M$ where money you pay is often used to pay off patent lawyers running their shakeout operations, BSA etc.

        What I'm trying to say is that there is a significant omision in their support matrix and this is clearly politica

    • So basically when people come on here and loudly brag about how they use Centos and never pay Redhat for support that's uber-cool sticking it to the man because Redhat is evil (for some undefined reason while we blindly worship Ubuntu).

      However, when "evil" "M$" does the same thing it just proves they are sub-human 1%er scum (because George Soros told me to say that since he is betting against them in the derivatives market and George Soros is just a humble grass-roots community organizer).

      Gotcha: No matter

      • by Kidbro (80868)

        Gotcha: No matter what M$ does is evil becuase you feel like it and the facts don't matter. Have you considered working for Assad to spread propaganda about the Syrian people?

        No matter what Microsoft does is evil because, frankly, that's the historical record. Fool me once, and all that. When Microsoft has spent as long behaving well as they did behaving evil I'll give them the benefit of doubt. Right now, they still have two decades (give or take) of repentance left.

        Thanks for bringing Assad into this. I wouldn't trust him either, even if I see him handing out free toys to kids for a few days. Would you stand there spouting some "Whatever he does, you'll call him evil!" bullsh

  • And when will FreeBSD be coming to Azure?
  • First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. And then they attack you and want to burn you. And then they build monuments to you.
  • So: run an unpopular OS on a monopoly business network? Depend on the monopoly to run an OS it hates, on top of an OS it loves that sucks?

    That sounds like a terrible deal, the worst of both worlds.

  • by slashmydots (2189826) on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @10:59PM (#40240673)
    Apparently even Microsoft can't affording Microsoft licensing on its servers, lol.
  • anyone else notice the "Windows" slashdot category icon changed from the broken window panes to just "Windows"?

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