Microsoft has a Linux lab! Yes, itís true, although I was checking to see if it was the 1st of April. Seemingly, the Redmond campus has a large Linux lab, devoted to analysing hundreds of different Linux distributions, and their compatibility and interoperability with Microsoft products. Headed up by Bill Hilf, the lab also helps to maintain ties between Microsoft and many key institutions in the open source world, including with Samba, Apache, Red Hat, Novell/Ximian and other key open-source developers.

"The lab itself is an interoperability experiment," Hilf says, since the various systems in it need to interoperate with the Windows-based networking, human-resources, e-mail and other systems that run Microsoft.

"We get to find out lots of interesting things ó like how to authenticate against Active Directory, how to run non-Microsoft mail clients with Exchange," and the like, he said.