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Microsoft Offers Virtual Server R2 Free, To Support Linux Guests

Microsoft made a big splash at LinuxWorld on Monday, announcing the availability of Virtual Server 2005 R2 as a free download and making a pledge to support "select" Linux virtual machines on its platform.

The Redmond, Wash.-based software giant also announced the availability of a no-charge virtual machine add-ons to run Linux as well as a technical support option for Linux virtual machines running on Virtual Server 2005 R2.

Microsoft, which said it developed virtual machine additions for Red Hat Linux and Novell SUSE Linux, demonstrated a Red Hat Linux guest running on Virtual Server 2005 in Advanced Micro Devices booth at LinuxWorld.

Xen 3.0 will be integrated into the next-generation Linux distributions of Novell and Red Hat, but it remains unclear if Microsoft will offer technical support for Windows guest operating systems running on Xen-based virtualization platforms.

Industry observers say the move demonstrates a willingness on Microsoft's part to cull market favor as it faces increasing competition and delays its much-anticipated Virtual Server 2005 Service Pack 1.

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