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On June the 8th Microsoft announced that an image of FreeBSD - an open source operating system based on a kernel similar to but fundamentally different from Linux - is now available in the Azure marketplace. Now Microsoft has perhaps taken the ultimate step in this direction with the publishing of its own FreeBSD distro... kind of.

It sounds like another one for the Hell Freezes Over file: Microsoft has released a version of FreeBSD 10.3, an edition of the liberally licensed Unix-like OS.

However, as with previous Microsoft dalliances in the world of open source-licensed OSes, this isn't a case of Microsoft admitting Windows is a technological and philosophical dead end.

The new "ready-made" FreeBSD VM for Azure extends Microsoft's earlier work in making sure FreeBSD production workloads can run in Hyper-V with official support from Microsoft.

"The majority of the investments we make at the kernel level to enable network and storage performance were up-streamed into the FreeBSD 10.3 release, so anyone who downloads a FreeBSD 10.3 image from the FreeBSD Foundation will get those investments from Microsoft built in to the OS". The short answer: support. That way, Microsoft can offer a service-level agreement, Alexander said. Microsoft will also be working with the FreeBSD Foundation and sharing with them, and the FreeBSD community, the changes they made to their distribution of FreeBSD for Azure VMs.

The release will make it easier for customers to spin-up a FreeBSD VM in Azure and it means that customers can get official support from Microsoft engineers when necessary.

In turn, the offering will help assure that Azure remains relevant as more and more applications are converted to cloud-based virtual appliances.

Meanwhile, Microsoft delivered another Insider Preview for the upcoming Windows 10 Anniversary Update, adding support for Hyper-V Containers.