On Tuesday, Microsoft said that it would allow anybody to use its specifications for “virtual” drives free of cost, which enable one computer to run several operating systems, with the promise never to sue for infringement of its legal rights. The Microsoft Virtualization software, which is known as Virtual Hard Disc (VHD) has actually been available for more than two years. But Microsoft confirms that as computers become more powerful by the day, the use of virtualization is bound to grow in leaps and bounds.
The Microsoft Free Virtualization software enables the easy use of several operating systems on one machine. For example, dangerous software could be installed on a virtual machine without affecting the host computer.
Microsoft said that the license was “an irrevocable promise from Microsoft to every individual and organization in the world to make use of this patented technology for free, now and forever when implementing specified open standards”.
The company specifications will be made available to anyone who wishes to use them under an “Open Specification Promise” (OSP), which was introduced last month.
Commenting on the development, Bob Muglia, senior vice president – server and tools business, Microsoft, said, “By having the VHD specification available under the Open Specification Promise (OSP), the technology is viable for any development or business model. We continue to increase our commitment to interoperability in our products, and by providing access to technologies like the virtualization open format.”
Earlier this year, Microsoft said it would team up with Linux supplier XenSource to supply the virtual specifications to permit Windows and Linux to run on the same machines.