Embrace and extend: That has been Microsoft's competitive mantra for as long as I can remember. So it comes as no real surprise to me that the company would choose to release, via the GPL, device driver code that more closely integrates Linux into the Microsoft virtualization ecosystem. After all, it's not like Linux will be running the show in this relationship. Rather, it's making the FOSS (free open source software) community's fair-haired boy feel more comfortable as it settles into the warm, fatal embrace of Hyper-V that is the Redmond giant's ultimate goal.
Make no mistake: This is a hostile action on Microsoft's part. Its stated mission is to squash Linux like a bug, and the easiest way to do that is to feign friendship -- to offer a bogus olive branch, then switch it out at the last minute for a nasty bundle of thorns.
Don’t believe me? Ask IBM. As a consultant to the Software Solutions (SWS) group in the mid 90’s, I saw firsthand how Microsoft embraced IBM’s legacy architecture – through SNA Server and similar integration plays – and then swallowed the company’s mid-range business whole through a well crafted commodity power play.
Or talk to Novell. The onetime networking leader sat helpless as Microsoft embraced the IPX protocol, giving it equal time with its own NetBEUI (and thus neutralizing protocol choice as a factor) while quietly shifting its core development to the more level playing field that was TCP/IP.
Now, it's the FOSS community's turn in the Microsoft death grip. Watch as the Redmondians wax poetic about "co-opetition" and how they need to acknowledge customer demand for Linux-based solutions. Meanwhile, their real play is to gain control over the FOSS platform's implementation by obviating the need for non-Microsoft tools and frameworks. Then, when they've eliminated the last vestiges of Linux's pre-embrace existence, they'll slowly squeeze the life out of their now hapless victim by shortchanging it in new Microsoft platform releases and generally making the FOSS solution cost-ineffective.