Microsoft: SFU 3.5 Wants to be Free

Microsoft is set to release version 3.5 of Services for Unix on Thursday that will mark the product's official debut as freeware.

"We decided that really this functionality should be core to the overall Windows proposition," said Dennis Oldroyd, a director in Microsoft's Windows Server Group.

The previous version of SFU cost $99, although Microsoft set the stage for the price drop when it began a promotion giving away SFU 3.0 in October. Prior to version 3.0, Microsoft charged $149 for SFU 2.0 and $99 for Interix -- two products that were combined into SFU 3.0.

Services for Unix is primarily an interoperability toolset, allowing for co-existence of Unix, Linux and Windows in enterprise networks. The many tools in SFU allow organizations to blend their platforms for single sign-on, file and print accessibility and administration. Microsoft also promotes SFU heavily as a tool for migrating Unix applications to Windows.

"The reality is that heterogeneity is the standard and that people are going to have a mix of Windows, Unix and Linux. They want to get that interoperability without having to outlay a lot more expense," Oldroyd said.

Oldroyd said that SFU has hundreds of thousands of users and that Microsoft saw a large bump in use of the toolset when it cut the price for the 3.0 release. "Customers who should have access who may have impediments because of price," will take a look at SFU 3.5 now, Oldroyd said.

Microsoft has made a number of changes to SFU in addition to eliminating the price. Support is added for Windows Server 2003, which shipped after SFU 3.0 hit the market in mid-2002. Support is taken away for all versions of Windows NT 4.0.

Performance is improved for several core features. POSIX Subsystem File I/O performance is now within 10 percent of Win32 performance, according to Oldroyd. There is now clustering support for Network Information Services, a Unix directory technology. The Interix subsystem has been tuned so its performance on eight-processor systems is 50 percent better.

Redmond engineers dropped in new versions of bind, ftp, gcc, gdb, make, sendmail and tar. They added support for POSIX threads in Interix, enabling a whole new set of applications; included broader POSIX support and put in X11R6.6.

The product will be available for download at

Last year, company officials had said that SFU 3.5 would be released in 2003 and a version 4.0 would come out in 2004. Oldroyd declined to revise the roadmap or provide specifics on the main focus of the 4.0 release. "We're looking at the feature set for that and taking customer feedback on that," he said.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.


  • Google IDs on Azure Active Directory B2B Service Now at 'General Availability'

    Microsoft announced on Wednesday that users of the Google identity and access service can use their personal log-in IDs with the Azure Active Directory B2B service to access resources as "guests."

  • Top 4 Overlooked Features of a Data Backup Strategy

    When it comes to implementing an airtight backup-and-recovery plan, these are the four must-have features that many enterprises nevertheless tend to forget.

  • Microsoft Bolsters Kubernetes with Azure Confidential Computing

    Microsoft on Tuesday announced various developments concerning the use of Kubernetes, an open source container orchestration solution fostered by Google.

  • Windows Will Have Support for Encrypted DNS

    Microsoft announced this week that the Windows operating system already has support for an encrypted Domain Name System option that promises to add greater privacy protections for Internet connections.

comments powered by Disqus

Office 365 Watch

Sign up for our newsletter.

Terms and Privacy Policy consent

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.