Bonum Certa Men Certa

Novell and Microsoft versus VMWare, Red Hat

A news article from CNR confirms a strong suspicion of ours. Here are some bits of interest from this report on Microsoft's most recent virtualisation moves, based on an optimistic announcement.

Microsoft partially funded the Xen project. In a big way, this is why the beta release supports Linux interoperability. Microsoft plans to support some enterprise Linux distros in the long term -- the first one being SUSE Enterprise 10 with SP1.

[...]

Xen runs deep inside Hyper-V's veins. Hyper-V provides components for synthetic network adapter, synthetic storage controller and Xen's Hypercall adapter. When running a Linux virtual machine, Xen calls are translated into Hyper-V hypercalls.

[...]

Hyper-V is also an integrated service in Windows Server 2008, so it is not a hosted platform. The integration gives Microsoft a huge advantage over VMware because customers can get two products for the price of one.


Bear with us while we explain.

”There is also the element of monopoly abuse here.“In this industry of no fair competition you still find a great deal of quiet manipulation. Some of the bits above align fully with out argument that the Xen acquisition may have been just a hijack maneuver that discriminates against GNU/Linux. This way, companies like Novell concede control to Windows in the datacentre. There is also the element of monopoly abuse here. We've already witnessed a long history of integration, bundling, and apathy towards, erosion, or 'extension' of industry standards. This case is not exception.

It's hardly surprising that VMWare is already prepared to sue in case of further monopoly leverage.

When quizzed on Microsoft's plans, Mr. Ballmer replied, "Our view is that virtualization is something that should be built into the operating system."


More on the latest developments in Forbes (shades of 'pulling a Netscape').

Canaccord Adams analyst Mark Kelleher said that the risk for VMware is that Microsoft decides to add virtualization as a feature for free in its products.


Microsoft will try to bundle its own products using existing commodities (vehicles or "common carriers", as Larry Ellison calls them when referring to Windows). It is likely that Microsoft will be sued by VMWare sooner or later, then settle. We've all been there and seen that before.

From a purely-technical point-of-view, there is no reason for VMWare to be worried. In fact, the company says that it will "be technically better than Microsoft". History teaches us that this may not be sufficient though.

We've [VMWare] typically included a version of Red Hat Linux in ESX Server. That's because the hardware manufacturers put little embedded processors to control the fans and other elements of their servers. They have agents reporting on their operation. They wouldn't write software that would allow those processors to interface to ESX Server, but they had to do it for Linux. So we shipped a full Red Hat operating system as our management console.


Returning to Novell, the company is likely to aid Microsoft it this latest crusade, just as it helps OOXML and Silverlight, among other technologies that threaten ODF and Flash/Web standards, respectively.

In case you do not remember, Microsoft hypercalls are for Novell only (for further information see [1, 2, 3]). It's all about GPL 'poison'. As Paula Rooney pointed out at the time, this is a case of 'punishing' everyone other than Novell, i.e. excluding those who shy away from racketeering and mafia techniques. That's what Mark Shuttleworth (Ubuntu's founder) called them on several occasions in the past.

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