The Linux Foundation has released its annual report on the top contributors to Linus Torvalds’s open source operating system, and there’s a new name on the list: Microsoft.
For years, Microsoft kept its distance from the open source movement, and at one point, CEO Steve Ballmer referred to Linux as a cancer, seeing the open source OS as a threat to Microsoft’s Windows operating system and other proprietary tools built by the Redmond software giant. But in recent years, the company has come to realize that it needs the open source community on its side. And in some cases, Microsoft is actually contributing to high-profile open source projects, including Hadoop, Samba, and, yes, the grandaddy of the all: Linux.
According to the new report from the Linux Foundation — penned by kernel contributor Greg Kroah-Hartman, Linux Foundation vice president of marketing and developer programs Amanda McPherson, and Jonathan Corbet, another Linux contributor and the editor of open source webzine LWN.net — Microsoft accounted for 1 percent of the contributions to the Linux kernel between release of version 2.6.36 in October 2010 and the arrival of version 3.2 in January 2012. That puts the Redmond giant in the top 20 corporate contributors to the project.
Today, in a break from the ordinary, Microsoft 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.
“When it first was released by Microsoft, it was about 20,000 lines of code. Now it is 7,000 lines, and supports more devices, [including] mice and newer releases of the Hyper-V system,”
Microsoft accounted for 1 percent of the contributions to the Linux kernel between release of version 2.6.36 in October 2010 and the arrival of version 3.2 in January 2012. That puts the Redmond giant in the top 20 corporate contributors to the project.
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