Open dialogue about standards, open source, and interoperability at Microsoft

June, 2012

  • Windows Server Hyper-V drivers now supported in Ubuntu

    Posted by Geoff Sullivan
    Managing Sales Director, Open Solutions Group

    As you may have heard, the recently released Ubuntu 12.04 LTS has been engineered with the drivers needed to run on Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V. We are pleased to support customers running Ubuntu on Hyper-V in their virtualized and cloud infrastructure.

  • Spotlight on Microsoft Research: Big Data and Open Science

    Posted by Tony Hey
    Vice President of Microsoft Research Connections

    There is a sea of change happening in science: It’s increasingly being driven by data and computation. The practice of science is now enhanced by collecting and analyzing massive quantities of data rather than small, focused experiments. The data are coming from instruments such as satellites, high-throughput biometric screening systems, networks of sensors and telescopes, as well as massive computer simulations. In this decade we will collect more scientific data than we’ve collected so far in the whole of human history. Soon it will be impossible to do any kind of science without computational tools―and the more advanced and powerful, the better for the scientist and the science.

    Extending the challenge of increasing data quantities is a corresponding need to collaborate across numerous sources and data consumers. This is driving a trend toward open science data, open access to text and publications, open standards, and open collaboration around computational tools that best serve the science community. There’s a unique role right now for the computer science and IT industries to help scientists unleash the value of their data by allowing more contributors to derive insights, and combine and refine data regardless of its scale and complexity. Microsoft Research aims to play a part in this transformation of the scientific discovery process through offering combinations of breakthrough research, software assets, algorithms, and open collaboration to accelerate the process of reaching insight. This post will be the first of a series of profiles that highlight Microsoft Research collaborations in the spirit of open science and innovation.

    Today we’re showcasing a noteworthy example at the intersection of big data analysis and open science. ChronoZoom, an open source community project released earlier this year, has the ambitious goal of presenting the history of everything and is proving to be a vital tool in the evolving field of Big History, which attempts to unify the past – from the beginning of time, some 13.7 billion years ago – with the present. Big History offers a broad understanding of how the past has unfolded, and lets us explore the unifying characteristics that can bridge the intellectual chasm between the humanities and the sciences. The project has been a truly collaborative effort by the University of California, Berkeley, Moscow State University, the Outercurve Foundation, and Microsoft Research Connections. ChronoZoom utilizes Windows Azure, HTML5, JavaScript and a rich user interface to bring the elements of Big History together. It is now available in 2.0 beta for public use, feedback and, ultimately, widespread collaboration. You can learn more about ChronoZoom through this video overview, or experience it firsthand at

  • Skype 4.0 for Linux

    Posted by Kerry Godes
    Senior Manager, Worldwide Marketing and Operations

    Skype 4.0 for Linux has arrived! Version 4.0 has four major enhancements, along with a host of smaller ones, offering Linux users the latest in Skype features and many UI improvements. The four big updates are:

    • A new Conversations View where users can easily track all of their chats in a unified window;
    • A brand new Call View makes it quicker and easier to get on a call;
    • Call quality is better than ever thanks to several audio quality improvements; and
    • Similarly, video call quality has improved and there is support for more cameras.

    This release extends Microsoft’s commitment to support Skype across multiple platforms and devices. Visit the Skype blog for more details on all the improvements that Linux fans can now enjoy and try the new version of Skype for Linux here.

  • Microsoft’s on{X} for Android: Start Automating Daily Life

    Posted by Kerry Godes
    Senior Manager, Worldwide Marketing and Operations

    Smartphones have quickly become the central hub for business, social networking, personal tasks and so much more.  And for smartphone users who always keep their devices ready to be in hand and at work instantly – to call up a colleague, pick a spot to eat, pass the time commuting – the smartphone can be considered an essential, portable, multitasking assistant. A new app for Google Android-powered smartphones has been launched by Microsoft called on{X} (currently in beta release), which utilizes a JavaScript API to allow for the creation of various rules that can then trigger automated actions. Want to check the weather at a certain time every day or dim your device’s screen when the battery only has a 15 percent charge?  Simply set a “recipe” in the on{X} app – “when X happens, do Y” (i.e., on{X} do{Y}).  You can even publish your rules so that other on{X} users can try out and build upon your recipe.

  • Microsoft and The Open Group Release Open Management Infrastructure

    Posted by Kerry Godes
    Senior Manager, Worldwide Marketing and Operations

    Datacenters comprise a slew of heterogeneous devices supplied by different hardware and platform vendors and requiring different tools and management processes.  Companies are forced to write their own abstraction layer or to be locked into a single vendor, which limits their choice and agility.  Today, Microsoft and The Open Group are addressing these challenges with a new, free, open source technology called Open Management Infrastructure or OMI (formerly known as NanoWBEM). 

    The public availability of OMI means that you can now easily compile and implement a standards-based management service into any device or platform from a free open source package. Our goals are to remove all obstacles that stand in the way of implementing standards-based management so that every device in the world can be managed in a clear, consistent, coherent way and to nurture and spur a rich ecosystem of standards-based management products.

    The Windows Server blog has more information on this announcement and on how standards-based management has evolved (see the post by Jeffrey Snover, Otto Helweg and Wassim Fayed) or you can join the community and download OMI on the new community site.