April 5, 2006 3:43 PM PDT

Microsoft to 'open the doors' of Linux labs

Microsoft plans to launch a Web site to share the activities of its internal Linux laboratories, an effort to sample feedback from customers who combine Microsoft and open-source software.

Bill Hilf, general manager of platform technology strategy at Microsoft, is expected to discuss the Web site, called Port 25, at a keynote presentation on Thursday at the LinuxWorld Conference and Expo in Boston. The site is scheduled to go live at 6 a.m. PDT Thursday.

LinuxWorld Boston 2006 roundup

The software giant--and fierce Linux foe--runs a 300-server Linux installation at its Redmond, Wash., headquarters to do competitive analysis and test how open-source products, including Linux, work with Microsoft software.

The goal of Port 25--named for the router port number corporations use for Internet e-mail--is to foster more communication with Microsoft customers that use open-source software, Hilf said.

"We're opening the doors to what we do in the Linux labs," Hilf said Wednesday. "The most important opportunity is to get feedback."

Hilf and members of his technical team will write blogs, including a recounting of how Hilf established the lab. The lab was an assigment from Martin Taylor, a Microsoft executive formerly in charge of formulating Microsoft's strategy to combat the rise of Linux.

Customers will be able to submit requests to Microsoft employees. For example, a person could ask how to best test the use of Linux desktops working with Microsoft's directory software.

In addition, Port 25 will do video interviews with Microsoft employees with experience in the open-source or Unix world, Hilf said.

Microsoft competes against open-source products, such as Linux and open-source databases, and is generally opposed to open-source licenses, which give people access to a product and its source code for free.

However, the company has made efforts to make its software work better with open source. Hilf said Microsoft's product groups use the Linux labs to test how well upcoming Microsoft software, such as Windows Vista, will work with Linux and other open-source wares.

"I usually say if you can survive in the wilds of the lab, you're going to have a good shot at running well in a non-Microsoft environment," he said.

See more CNET content tagged:
open source, Linux, open-source software, lab, Microsoft Corp.

12 comments

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Since "Microsoft plans...
... to launch a Web site to share the activities of its internal Linux laboratories, an effort to sample feedback from customers who combine Microsoft and open-source software..."; how about Microsoft setting up a web site for users of Microsoft's Software and IBM's "OS/2" Software! ;-) ;-) ;-)
Posted by Captain_Spock (894 comments )
Reply Link Flag
HAHAHAHA...
1) "Dear Microsoft engineer, how best can I integrate my legacy Unix Server".

Response: You should throw it away and buy Microsft Advanced Server 2007 Right away!

2) "Dear Microsoft engineer, the latest M$ security patch broke SAMBA file sharing. I'm trying to roll it back but it's not working? Can you help?"

Response: You should throw it away and buy Microsft Advanced Server 2007 Right away!


RINSE...REPEAT...RINSE...REPEAT

But honestly, what choice will they have to such questions? It's not like they can dedicate cash to help out Open Source take market share...
Posted by UntoldDreams (91 comments )
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Exactly...
...why would someone still be stuck with Unix anyway?
Posted by FutureGuy (742 comments )
Link Flag
Goodness
Another step in the right direction. UNIX/Linux is hear to stay, at least for the next 10-20 years. The more both MSFT and Linux folks can do to help make it easier for end users to use both platforms the better. I trust that we will see benefits on this in the "Longhorn" version of Windows much like what MSFT did with the version of UNIX that ships with their current Windows 2003 Server. Makes it much easier/cheaper for organizations that are committed to both platforms.

James
Posted by James_U (80 comments )
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MS is sweating
Just replaced my son's Windows machine with Fedora Core 5, Wine and Transgaming. Pretty much runs all the windows software and games that his other system did. Sure, it was a little technical to get everything up and running, but that is "runs" is the big step. Simplifying this process will only lead to MS dying like a beached whale.

I am thinking I should be able to replace my copy of XP soon. Then I will be MS free at the household.
Posted by umbrae (1073 comments )
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Microsoft is not gonna sweat for geeks or nerd with your ability
Percentage of people with your ability to install and run linux is not much. This is not going to make microsoft sweat.

They will sweat when out of the box users get it working. I know that lots of companies are putting that effort.

Most intimidating thing with microsoft is that they are very persistent and they have ton of money to make lots of mistakes.
Posted by Tanjore (322 comments )
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What?
Like every bank system on the planet for one...
Posted by UntoldDreams (91 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Be aware of Geeks Bearing Gifs....
Terra$oft's [http://because it is no longer a nano-, or a micro- company any more,....|http://because it is no longer a nano-, or a micro- company any more,....] "opening the Doors", is another cynical attempt to take over the agenda, and poison the wells as it tried back the late '90s with Java. Java was a better product, and Terra$soft knew that, and therefore tried to the co-opt Java, by 'trying to improve Java' by including non standard additions. If it was not for Sun, this divide and conquer approach would have worked, and split the Java base in two.

With Linux, it is easier, as no-one owns Linux, so there is potential for Terra$soft to 'make improvements'. Anyway, this is not the first time MIcrosoft has played with Unix, because right back in the beginning of time, back in the DOS days, it also sold XENIX, which was their implementation of Unix for x86 platforms.
Posted by Major Kong (1 comment )
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