Microsoft and Linux

A curious thing happened yesterday, a thing that had been feared for years, Microsoft code started down the road to be included in the Linux kernel.  But, unlike the fears of old, it wasn’t slipped in in the middle of the night as a secret time bomb.  It was presented at the front door, going to LKML directly.

Well, maybe it was the side door.  As it wasn’t actually a post to LKML, it was actually Greg K-H doing the heavy lifting, as Microsoft is working it’s patches in via Novell.  Greg is one of the harshest reviewers out there, so in working through him, these should actually be well up to community standards now.  It also shows some street smarts in not running the gauntlet directly.

I’m still not sure what to make of all of this, as earlier this year Microsoft sued TomTom, and forced crippling of the Linux vfat driver to dodge MS patents.  That being said, I’m also of no illusion that MS speaks with one voice.  Big organizations don’t do that, and breaking in lawyers to understand open source principals takes a good few years (I know, I’ve done it before).

It will be curious to see if these drivers make it in to upstream.  There are plenty of good reasons, and many bad, why they wouldn’t.  Far more useful features have managed to not make it mainstream in the past, and nothing draws the lightning like Microsoft.  I look forward to seeing how this will play out.

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