In a move that Microsoft itself has described as "a break from the ordinary", the software giant has made one of its strongest concessions to the open source community yet by releasing 20,000 lines of device driver code to the Linux community.
The reason for the move, which includes three Linux device drivers, is to enhance the performance of the Linux operating system when virtualized on Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V or Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V.
"We are seeing Microsoft communities and open source communities grow together, which is ultimately of benefit to our customers," said Sam Ramji, senior director of platform strategy in Microsoft's Server and Tools organisation.
"The Linux community, for example, has built a platform used by many customers. So our strategy is to enhance interoperability between the Windows platform and many open source technologies, which includes Linux, to provide the choices our customers are asking for."
Linux based operating systems are growing increasingly popular in the enterprise space, as illustrated by the rapid growth of UK distributor Interactive Ideas, which specialises in the Red Hat and Suse Linux offerings. This move seems to be an acceptance of the inevitable by Microsoft, designed to ensure its virtualisation offering is better positioned to capitalise on the trend.
You can see a video of Ramji explaining the decision here.