No, it’s not April 1st – a fact I’m all too aware of given the fact that I about freeze to death anytime I leave the house up here in east-coast Canada. April Fools’ no, but “very odd” yes. At the Linuxcon convention going on right now in Barcelona, Microsoft is listed as a “Gold Sponsor”, the second-highest tier. The only one higher is Platinum, occupied only by Intel and Qualcomm. To be a Gold Sponsor, the company must shell out $20,000, but that gets them a dedicated speaking arrangement.
Other Gold Sponsors include companies heavily involved in Linux, such as Samsung, SUSE, Xen, Red Hat and IBM – so what’s with the inclusion of Microsoft? At this point, I’m not sure. As we discovered last summer, Microsoft does contribute quite a bit of code to the Linux kernel, but everything really benefits it in the end, not necessarily Linux. Microsoft’s sponsorship here could have to do with Hyper-V, but in exactly which way, it’s hard to say.
Nonetheless, seeing Microsoft be a Gold Sponsor at a leading Linux convention is rather… different. I am sure there will be many who will be struck by it, because let’s face it – Microsoft isn’t exactly the kindest company out there. Much like Apple, Microsoft seems to enjoy suing any company that infringes on any of its patents, no matter how minor. It’ll be interesting to see if Microsoft, for whatever reason, begins to become a lot more involved in Linux than it already is.