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Microsoft temporarily suspended its fear and loathing of all things Linux this week. The Windows juggernaut released Linux Hyper-V drivers under the GPL version 2 and submitted them for inclusion in the main Linux kernel source tree. What next? Sharepoint running natively on Linux? Let’s not go that far.

But while submitting device driver code happens all the time among the more Linux-friendly vendors, the fact that Microsoft is playing nice is fairly remarkable. Microsoft is perhaps waking up to the fact that the industry is moving rapidly toward cloud-based computing model in which the core infrastructure is invisible and virtualization is a cornerstone. That means foundational elements like operating systems are not the strategic selling point for the channel, but rather the application services that customers access, such as CRM.

Microsoft this week said the code release represents a valid license and that its developers will continue to contribute under this license to fix bugs, add features and undertake other housekeeping functions. Officials at Microsoft addressed two questions in a written statement; one about why they released the code in the first place, the other as to why they delivered the code as open source.

“Because we have utilized Linux code, Microsoft has an obligation to open source the device drivers. Because this is a requirement of the [Linux] community, and critical in ensuring that as the Linux Kernel evolves, and as Hyper-V evolves, that the Hyper-V Linux Device Drivers evolve as well,” the statement read.

Wonders never cease.