Intel: We're Still Tight With Microsoft Despite Linux Strain

Speaking at LinuxWorld at a dinner hosted by Red Hat, a key Intel exec said the relationship between Microsoft and Intel remains strong despite Intel's support of Linux and Microsoft's

January 23, 2004

2 Min Read
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Intel said its relationship with Microsoft remains strong in spite of its support for Linux and Microsoft's backing of AMD.

The two vendors, once inextricably linked as the WinTel duopoly, continue to collaborate while backing other horses.

At a dinner hosted by Intel and Red Hat at LinuxWorld Expo, for instance, one key Intel executive noted that Intel has had discussions with Red Hat and SUSE Linux about optimizing their Linux distributions for Intel's processors even as it works with Microsoft on a host of other enhancements including virtualization.

"Microsoft doesn't like us working with other software vendors any more than we like Microsoft working with other silicon vendors, but that's been going on," said Will Swope, general manager of Intel's Software and Solutions Group, noting that Linux hasn't changed his relationship with the top brass in Redmond, Wash. "No, not all that much."

He said Microsoft was initially concerned about Intel's plans to end the life of BIOS and develop a firmware interface called Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI). Essentially, the layer starts up the PC's hardware before the operating system begins loading."Microsoft didn't have an allergic reaction to it," Swope said.

Intel is also integrating virtualization features into the processor architecture that can be exploited and enhanced by EMC's VMWare line and Microsoft's forthcoming Virtual Server and Virtual PC software, as well as forthcoming Linux virtualization products.

However, it's clear that Microsoft and Intel remain snug on the desktop front. Though Intel has been pushing Linux for servers, Swope is less optimistic about its prognosis on the desktop.

"Linux is stronger than it was two years ago, but I don't feel the same revolution" that happened on the server side will happen on the desktop, Swope said.

Under questioning, Intel acknowledged that it "owes" the Linux community a Linux driver for its Centrino chip and is working on it. That driver will deliver parity for those who want to run Linux on notebooks and laptops as well as Windows.This story appears courtesy of CRN.

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