Microsoft wishes Linux a happy 20th birthday

Microsoft logoAn animation that Microsoft made to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Linux kernel was shown this morning during Linux Foundation executive director Jim Zemlin's opening keynote at LinuxCon. The video comically depicts the rivalry between Linux and Windows, but concludes with the suggestion that peaceful coexistence is possible.

In the animation, a cartoon penguin throws rocks at the Windows logo after being frightened by Bill Gates wearing a pumpkin on his head, a reference to the now-infamous Halloween Documents in which Microsoft laid out an aggressive plan for destroying Linux. Later in the animation, a cartoon representation of Bill Gates brings a birthday cake to the penguin's igloo.

Microsoft's relationship with Linux was one of several topics that Zemlin discussed during his keynote. He showed a classic quote from Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who infamously described Linux as a "cancer" in 2001. Joking that Ballmer's hostile characterization of Linux was only partly accurate, Zemlin pointed out that Microsoft is one of the largest contributors to version 3.0 of the Linux kernel by code volume.

Microsoft's code contributions largely revolve round enabling improved support for running Linux instances in the company's Hyper-V virtualization software. This reflects the growing importance of mixed-platform deployments among Microsoft's own customers. It's increasingly clear that Microsoft needs to support Linux and open source software in order to remain competitive in the server space.

Over the past few years, Microsoft has built ties with the Apache Software Foundation and other key communities that play a role in the open source server stack. It's not surprising that the company is looking to improve its relationship with Linux. Will the old caustic rivalry turn into friendly competition? As Zemlin discussed during his keynote, Microsoft's aggressive posture towards Linux vendors on patent issues still poses an impediment to closer collaboration.

Stay tuned for our full coverage of the LinuxCon opening keynotes. We'll have additional analysis of Zemlin's take on the influence that Linux has had on the technology industry and Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst's views on Linux's future.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: Linux, Microsoft

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