Microsoft has released 20,000 lines of device driver code to the Linux community. The code, which includes three Linux device drivers, has been submitted to the Linux kernel community for inclusion in the Linux tree. The drivers will be available to the Linux community and customers alike, and will enhance the performance of the Linux operating system when virtualized on Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V or Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V.
According to Tom Hanrahan, director of the Microsoft's Open Source Technology Center (OSTC), this is the first time Microsoft has released code directly to the Linux community. Additionally, Hanrahan believes this to significant because the code is being released under the GPLv2 license, which is the Linux community's preferred license.
Hanrahan went on to say that the goal in developing the code was to enable Linux to run as a virtual machine on top of Hyper-V, Microsoft's hypervisor and implementation of virtualization. The Linux device drivers being released are designed so Linux can run in enlightened mode, giving it the same optimized synthetic devices as a Windows virtual machine running on top of Hyper-V. Without this driver code, Linux can run on top of Windows, but without the same high performance levels.