Microsoft Is Still Committed to Maintain the Linux Drivers It Has Contributed
Greg Kroah-Hartman has written recently that Microsoft is not validating the Linux kernel patches he has submitted. Sam Ranji assures us that Microsoft has been busy testing those 200 patches.
Hartman, a Novell Fellow working on the Linux Driver Project in the SUSE Labs Division, is the one who approached Microsoft with the idea to release the Linux drivers used by Hyper-V to the Linux kernel. He is now distressed by the fact that after he has worked a lot to make that code compatible with the Linux kernel, Microsoft does not seem to be interested in updating the code they released:
hv (Microsoft Hyper-V) drivers. Over 200 patches make up the massive cleanup effort needed to just get this code into a semi-sane kernel coding style (someone owes me a bit bottle of rum for that work!) Unfortunately the Microsoft developers seem to have disappeared, and no one is answering my emails. If they do not show back up to claim this driver soon, it will be removed in the 2.6.33 release. So sad...
InfoQ talked to Sam Ranji, Senior Director leading Microsoft’s Linux and Open Source strategy, if Microsoft has changed its mind regarding the contribution to the Linux kernel. He gave us an update that should assure Hartman that his work is not lost:
We're continuing to work hard on the Hyper-V drivers for Linux; we've spent the last several weeks testing over 200 patches that were submitted by the community. As you are probably aware, integration and testing is a lot of work. We're now nearly finished with that and are continuing on our roadmap of features to develop, including SMP (symmetric multiprocessing) support for Linux on Hyper-V. This is the work of a number of full-time engineers and testers at Microsoft, both in the Open Source Technology Center and in the Windows Server Virtualization Engineering team.
Mary Jo Foley has reported asking a Microsoft spokesperson if “Microsoft had had second thoughts about making its Hyper-V code available under the GPL”:
The spokesperson denied that was the case and said the primary person responsible for the Hyper-V drivers had been traveling in Europe for the past two weeks “meeting with various OSS (open-source software) constituencies and customers.”
As a side note, Ranji is leaving the company by the end of the month, which might be interpreted as a problem with Microsoft’s dedication to open source. Ranji has assured us that it is completely a personal problem. He will join a cloud computing startup in Silicon Valley and is currently the interim President of CodePlex Foundation.