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Microsoft Open Source Stats Linux

Microsoft Counted As Key Linux Contributor 305

alphadogg writes "For the first time ever, Microsoft can be counted as a key contributor to Linux. The company, which once portrayed the open-source OS kernel as a form of cancer, has been ranked 17th on a tally of the largest code contributors to Linux. The Linux Foundation's Linux Development Report, released Tuesday, summarizes who has contributed to the Linux kernel, from versions 2.6.36 to 3.2. The 10 largest contributors listed in the report are familiar names: Red Hat, Intel, Novell, IBM, Texas Instruments, Broadcom, Nokia, Samsung, Oracle and Google. But the appearance of Microsoft is a new one for the list, compiled annually."
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Microsoft Counted As Key Linux Contributor

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  • by Janek Kozicki ( 722688 ) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @03:20PM (#39564535) Journal

    I was wondering "why the hell?" TFA says:

    "Much of the work Microsoft did centers around providing drivers for its own Hyper-V virtualization technology. Microsoft's Hyper-V, part of Windows Server, can run Linux as a guest OS."

    Why that couldn't be included in the summary?

  • I call B.S. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PCM2 ( 4486 ) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @03:21PM (#39564561) Homepage

    Last I heard, all of Microsoft's contributions to the Linux kernel have been strictly to improve Linux support for Microsoft products, e.g. to allow Windows Server to be a host for Linux clients. That's fine, but it hardly counts as "key" contributions in my book.

  • Hyper-V (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Enderandrew ( 866215 ) <enderandrew@noSpaM.gmail.com> on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @03:21PM (#39564565) Homepage Journal

    I do believe they've basically only added support for running Linux as a guest OS within their VM solution, Hyper-V. They haven't contributed to the betterment of Linux on the whole.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @03:24PM (#39564619)

    Remember - they were threatened with having their HyperV drivers removed due to lack of support.

    And that could easily have spelled disaster for their cloud capability.

  • Re:I call B.S. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TWX ( 665546 ) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @03:26PM (#39564645)
    If it increases interoperability, that is a rather high priority for any operating system whose proponents wish it to remain viable. I am no fan of Redmond, but I have managed to make a lot of money supporting their products.
  • Re:I call B.S. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by John Mister ( 2609887 ) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @03:26PM (#39564649)

    Last I heard, all of Microsoft's contributions to the Linux kernel have been strictly to improve Linux support for Microsoft products, e.g. to allow Windows Server to be a host for Linux clients. That's fine, but it hardly counts as "key" contributions in my book.

    Why wouldn't it count as key contributions? Windows has market share of 95% on desktops and almost 50% on servers (used more on internal servers like exchange than your typical apache+centos cheapo host). Still, MS works to maintain some compatibility when they really have no reason to. I think that deserves some appreciation.

  • Re:I call B.S. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PCM2 ( 4486 ) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @03:29PM (#39564689) Homepage

    If you make a closed, proprietary system that is not interoperable, then work to change everybody else's system so that it can work with yours, do you really deserve a pat on the back for that? Every action from beginning to end was wholly self-serving.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @03:31PM (#39564707)

    I hope this was meant to be funny.

    Of course not. Microsoft has contributed more to the knowledge base of predatory marketing, monopoly abuse, and price manipulation than any other company in recent memory. You would have to go all the way back to Standard Oil to find a company that has given us more in these important fields. Many companies look up to Microsoft and use their history as an template for themselves, and like Microsoft, they are much richer for it.

  • Re:whoa (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ILongForDarkness ( 1134931 ) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @03:31PM (#39564713)

    My understanding is a lot of the stuff they contribute is to get things that should be interoperable there, eg. smb and of course interop helps sell a more hetrogenous environment to corps (so they don't all run and flee to linux, but also linux doesn't break when talking to a Win server).

  • Re:Hyper-V (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Trepidity ( 597 ) <delirium-slashdot&hackish,org> on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @03:32PM (#39564725)

    I do think that's a legitimate contribution, even if it's obviously self-interested. To the extent that people use Hyper-V, it's good for Linux to have support for running under it, and it's good that Microsoft contributed the resources to make that happen instead of leaving it for other contributors to try to get it working. Similar to how Sun/Oracle employees contributed a considerable amount of the kernel's Xen support.

    It is fair to be aware that that's the entirety of their contribution, so it doesn't signal some more general engagement with kernel development.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @03:34PM (#39564751)

    The problem is that roughly three quarters of the things Microsoft brags about being their own "innovations" are actually things that all of the other Operating Systems (or software projects) have already had available for years. Then the things they actually do innovate that are worth using, they barely talk about. Further, your over-reaction makes you look like a paid shill - the GP post wasn't hating on Microsoft, it was asking why the specifics of the contributions were not included in the summary, when they're very much relevant. Specifically: Most of Microsoft's contribution to Linux was geared towards making it run more smoothly inside of their own operating system. It was pointing out that they weren't doing this to be altruistic, they were doing it to further their own products and services. (Which is of course, what they should be doing, as a publicly traded company with a responsibility to their shareholders. Acting against those interests by making charitable contributions to their own competition could land them in trouble.)

  • Re:I call B.S. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by maroberts ( 15852 ) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @03:34PM (#39564757) Homepage Journal

    Last I heard, all of Microsoft's contributions to the Linux kernel have been strictly to improve Linux support for Microsoft products, e.g. to allow Windows Server to be a host for Linux clients. That's fine, but it hardly counts as "key" contributions in my book.

    A large number of contributors put in source code which is "relevant to their interests". e.g. graphics card manufacturers contribute towards open source drivers and improvements to X.

    Personally I see nothing wrong with this, and quite frankly makes a good change from when Microsoft did everything possible to hide how their stuff works e.g. *cough*Samba*cough*

  • Re:I call B.S. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PCM2 ( 4486 ) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @03:37PM (#39564793) Homepage

    Still, MS works to maintain some compatibility when they really have no reason to.

    No reason at all? Are you sure you've thought this through?

  • Re:I call B.S. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @03:50PM (#39564963)

    Every single contribution to the linux kernel (or any open source project) is inherently self serving. Every one of the companies listed benefits from the contributions they provide. That's the entire point of open source, you modify it to suit your needs. So what if you don't like Microsoft, too fucking bad.

  • by Chris Burke ( 6130 ) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @03:58PM (#39565083) Homepage

    It's a juicier narrative to portray it in the way the summary did--that even though Microsoft once depicted Linux as a "cancer", Linux must now be so awesome that Microsoft is one of its key contributors. Providing context buffs out some of that luster.

    Yeah, instead it's that Linux is so awesome Microsoft can't afford not to ensure it is compatible with their hypervisor. Of course it's no surprise that in the virtualization market being able to virtualize Linux is a key feature.

    I find it far more intriguing that the key contributors to Linux are companies and not independent individuals, since the old storyline used to be that devoted hobbyists were gathering on the internet to do a better job than commercial companies, back when the "year of Linux on the desktop" was always right around the corner.

    That hasn't been the case since Linux became Linus' job. Though those hobbyists -- including Linus -- did a good enough job that they companies took notice, now didn't they? For over a decade the many contributions of companies to Linux -- not least of which being distros like Red Hat -- have been used as proof that Free Software doesn't mean the death of the paid programmer.

    Of course anyone who thought it did in the first place didn't understand the market for programmers. It's always been the case that the majority of programmers are employed solving the specific business needs of specific companies, not creating shrink-wrap per-license software.

  • by CosaNostra Pizza Inc ( 1299163 ) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @04:05PM (#39565191)
    And yet, they haven't updated the linux version of Skype since they acquired the company. I have to wonder what their motivations are.
  • Re:I call B.S. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Chris Burke ( 6130 ) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @04:15PM (#39565339) Homepage

    In this case, the fact that Slashdot is claiming Microsoft is suddenly "a key Linux contributor" is even more valuable to Microsoft than the actual kernel contributions it has made.

    No it isn't. They want to sell their hypervisor. Customers want to run Linux. If they can't virtualize linux, or can't virtualize it efficiently, then the customers won't buy Microsoft's product. Being a player in the virtualization market, which is an increasingly large portion of the overall server market, is worth much more to Microsoft than a little "What, us destroy linux?" P.R. that only slashdotters care about and only slashdotters will notice.

    The real story here is that Microsoft can no longer afford to use incompatibility as a lever against Linux. The fulcrum has moved, and now Linux has the leverage in that fight.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @05:22PM (#39566187)

    Apple is gaining on them though. Lately, MS has been one of the good guys (shame I'm not that found of their software solutions)

  • by Anthony Mouse ( 1927662 ) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @06:01PM (#39566593)

    Lately, MS has been one of the good guys

    So they claim. But it seems to me more that they're on the back foot and therefore incapable of acting too overtly malicious without causing excessively many customer defections. I mean they're still doing this, [falkvinge.net] and patent trolling, and pushing automatic updates to Internet Explorer that default to making Bing your search engine even though nobody likes it, etc.

    They've still got a ways to go before anyone ever trusts them again. Like years. That's what happens when you ruin your own reputation.

  • by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @06:15PM (#39566723)

    No they haven't. They're just as evil as ever, the only thing different about now versus 10 years ago is that they've become much more impotent, while Apple has become much more powerful and its evil is more easily felt. 10 years ago, a free software user likely didn't care much one way or the other about Apple, but now with their newfound power their evil is much more noticeable (as can be seen by all their patent lawsuits).

  • Re:whoa (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ogdenk ( 712300 ) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @07:40PM (#39567433)

    Seems to work fine in OSX. Not sure what you're talking about. IPP printers can be autoinstalled as well as SMB. Can even participate in a Windows Domain and be managed by the domain if you want including scripted mapping of printers and shares. Linux can enjoy most of the same goodies with a little effort.

    Quit acting like Microsoft invented LDAP and autoconfiguration. Been around a long time. If it doesn't work in your environment, ditch the retard MCSE and hire a real network admin that knows what he's doing with a broad scope on more than one platform.

  • Re:whoa (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ozmanjusri ( 601766 ) <aussie_bob&hotmail,com> on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @12:03AM (#39568745) Journal

    I heard a talk somewhere about SMB 2.2 features and how the standards were going to get published to help others adapt.

    Yes, Microsoft published SMB standards out of the goodness of their hearts, and the threat of continuation of fines of US$2.39 million/day unless they complied.

    Then they promptly changed their OS so it wouldn't interoperate with the standard...

  • by ogdenk ( 712300 ) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @01:29AM (#39569009)

    The trash-80 was doomed from the start. The Atari 8-bit and C64 languished until the mid-90's due to a devoted user base. The ST and later TT/Falcon had quite a few professional applications in DTP and MIDI work. They found niches for a while and persisted until they got axed. The Amiga was popular for 3D modeling and video editing work. In pure numbers the PC outnumbered them but they remained dominant in quite a few niches for years afterward because the PC well......sucked. Even with more raw clock speed the PC......sucked. Only very recently has the PC sucked a lot less due to absorbing a lot of the features that made machines like the DEC, SGI and Amiga machines cool.

    I don't care about growth. Retards will buy anything you can convince them they need. I care about real, honest-to-god innovation and engineering. MS has brought very little new to the table. Without MS the PC still would have had a dominant business foothold thanks to Novell, IBM OS/2 and various UNIX versions and wait......*GASP*..... LINUX which predates WinNT even. MacOS has been network-capable since the Mac Plus IIRC. Berkeley and Sun on the UNIX side contributed a lot to small-scale IT as well. The IT boom was already in full swing and growing fast before MS even got on the boat. Even infant Linux was around for the party on a small scale.

    MS was the axe-wielding disruptive psycho latecomer in server-side business IT that seemed really good at sweet-talking execs.

    Ethernet's been with us since the 70's thanks to DEC (RIP), Xerox and Intel. Localtalk's been around since I was a little kid. Small offices have been hooking computers together for ages. Ever even SEEN coax ethernet? You really think that crap came from the post-Win95 era? I helped run a bit of it though twisted pair wasn't far around the corner. Believe me, people saw value in personal computers before Windows existed. Especially in cubicle farms. Get off my lawn. Ever even HEARD of Digital Research and CP/M, DR/DOS and GEM (also used on ST)? They could have easily carried MS's torch had Gates never been born.

In a consumer society there are inevitably two kinds of slaves: the prisoners of addiction and the prisoners of envy.