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FreeBSD, a popular open-source Unix operating system with roots stretching back to the 1970s, is now available through the Azure Marketplace as a virtual-machine image for Azure, according to an Azure blog post.

Making version 10.3 of Free BSD a “first-class VM guest” on Hyper-V, Microsoft’s technology for creating virtual machines on Windows Server and in Azure, makes it simpler for users to create a FreeBSD VM in Azure — and it means Microsoft will offer support to those doing so, wrote Jason Anderson, a Microsoft principal project manager.

“Many top-tier virtual-appliance vendors base their products on the FreeBSD operating system,” Alexander wrote. Several vendors — including Array Networks, Citrix Systems, Gemalto, Netgate and Stormshield — brought their virtual appliances to the Azure Markeplace, he said. But until now, “if you wanted to run your own FreeBSD image in Azure, your only option was to bring a custom image from outside of Azure.”

Microsoft itself — not the FreeBSD Foundation, a support community that helps maintain the code base — built, tested and published the image. That way, Microsoft can offer a service-level agreement, Alexander said. It intends to stay current with new releases shortly after they emerge from FreeBSD’s engineering operation, he said. Some older versions are also supported.

It’s the latest move by Microsoft to make its technologies play well with open-source software, which was previously viewed as a threat to the dominance of the company’s Windows operating system. Open-source initiatives have accelerated at Microsoft under CEO Satya Nadella.

Note: This post originally misstated Jason Anderson’s surname.

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