Microsoft's licence riddles give Linux and pals a free ride to virtual domination

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Microsoft is caught in a monkey-trap, created by cloud computing and Free Software, coupled with short-term thinking and a dose of not-invented-here syndrome.

You know how monkey-traps work? You make a small hole in a coconut shell, put some bait in it and tie it to something. The monkey comes along, reaches in for the bait and grabs a handful. But when it tries to retrieve its prize, it can't: its fist won't fit through the hole. The monkey is trapped by its own greed. Under pressure, the animal isn't able to choose between escape and letting go of the goodies; you just walk up and whack it over the head.

That's the situation Microsoft is in right now with its virtualisation strategy. While researching the Register Guide to Windows Server 2012 last year, I talked to a lot of people about Microsoft virtualisation compared to the competition: users, vendors and people implementing it. The results were not quite what you might expect. Everyone acknowledges that Hyper-V 3 is a huge improvement over previous versions and that it equals or exceeds the capabilities of VMware.