Of Mice and Xen

The Citrix/Microsoft partnership continues to bear fruit.  Just yesterday they announced an awesome new capability for Linux virtual machines running on Hyper-V.  Have you heard?

No, it’s not P2V and it’s not guest customization.  No, it’s not orderly guest shutdown.  It’s not time sync either.

You must have seen it — the news is everywhere!  It’s mouse support.

Mouse support?  I know what you’re thinking:  shouldn’t that have been in the initial release of the so-called Linux guest OS support?  Please note: that kind of thinking just exposes you as a VMware zealot — blindly assuming all supported guest operating systems would have similar capabilities.

The fact that this announcement is such big news is strong support for the points I made recently in a post on Hyper-V Linux deficiencies.  Please note that you must still obtain the Microsoft Linux Integration Components from the Microsoft beta portal (Connect) and separately download the new mouse drivers from Xen.org.  I’m not even going to ask what the support model is for this concoction.

What took so long?  Like me, you are probably not a device driver developer, so we’ll just have to rely on Simon Crosby’s explanation of just how complicated and heroic the effort actually was.  Something about reverse-engineering the upstream HID interface to the Flux Capacitor and re-tooling the IO multiplexer array — I hear it was entirely hand-coded in assembly language, so that does explain the lengthy development cycle.

All this is really exciting for the tens — if not dozens — of Hyper-V users that are actually running Linux VMs.

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  1. Stu’s avatar


    But seriously, cmon man… hand coded in assembly? The length of time this has taken, I’d say it must have been hand coded in binary. Y’know, for performance reasons and stuff.

  2. Dave Lawrence’s avatar

    Flux Capacitor?!? One point twenty-one jigawatts!

    Hilarious Eric.


  3. wharlie’s avatar

    I’m sold.
    I’m moving straight to Linux on Hyper-V.
    How can you argue now that it’s got mouse support.

  4. Maish’s avatar

    eek!!! A MOUSE!!

    Seriously though, I have to commend Microsoft on finally getting this done, and bringing us back again back to once upon a time in 1981 when the 1st moust came out – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mouse_(computing)

  5. Eric Gray’s avatar

    Stu, I’m working on a keyboard driver and decided to take your approach… I’m having trouble with the following routine, could you check my work: 001100101001 0101110001101 ?? Every time I hit the “Windows” key, a penguin appears.

    Dave, thanks and nice — is that many jigawatts green?

    Wharlie, there are no arguments left now as far as I know. Let the migration begin!

    Maish, good one. You should think about writing a whole post on that. 🙂

  6. Aaron Bilobrk’s avatar

    They’re gloating about adding mouse support? yikes.

    1. Eric Gray’s avatar

      You can’t make this stuff up. 🙂

    2. Brian’s avatar

      And I love when MS comes into accounts and says they can compete with ESX head to head.

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