by SteveZ on March 20, 2008 03:13pm


To some folks outside of Microsoft, the Open-Source Software Lab has been a sort of mysterious place.  A place where we study Linux and open-source software, cursing our enemies while brewing our malevolent plans to combat those nasty FOSS developers.  Oh, and we also have a death ray on the roof of building 17.  It's Linux-powered, of course, just to add a little irony.

As you probably have guessed, the reality is that the OSS Lab is just a room full of servers, used by engineers who just love to work with technology.  Much of what we do is research, testing and of course there is an educational aspect as well.  We all love Linux and open-source, and I almost never take my death-ray to work.

Currently, our lab houses about seven racks of servers.  Unlike some of the build-labs on campus, the OSS Lab contains an eclectic variety of hardware.  From older Pentium III Compaq blade servers, 8-way Xeon, Itanium and Opteron systems, to the latest POWER6.  Most of the systems run some distribution of Linux, but we also have several BSD, AIX and Sun systems as well.  And, naturally, we also have a good number of Windows systems (we are an interop lab, after all).

So now, to help cure your curiosity, the following is a short photo-tour of the actual Linux/OSS Lab at Microsoft.  Enjoy!

We just had installed a new 12-ton cooling unit in the lab. 
The OSS Lab has continued to grow over the years, and things were getting a bit too toasty in there.

A top view of our penguin-powered servers...

Here are a couple of our server racks.  We have a fair number of blade systems now from HP, IBM and Dell. 
In the background is the new IBM P570 (POWER6) system. It's basically totally sweet.

This is my favorite of them all, the ultra-small Gumstix Netstix.
We've had this little guy running Samba, Asterisk, Apache and various other things. It runs Windows CE now, too.

Two of the Penguins that work in the lab; Chris (left) and Christoph (right).

I'm not proud of this.  We're typically much more organized....

I finally got our plasma screen remounted after the recent cooling upgrades.
Halo 3 looks pretty awesome, and we take our weekly UT3 tournaments very seriously.

The rest of the Penguins.  From left:  Christoph, Joel, Frank and Chris.

That's all for now!