VMware has announced it is further embracing open source by joining the Linux Foundation.

The virtulisation giant joina existing members including Adobe, Google and IBM.

Last year, VMware open-sourced a number of its tools, and in 2006 opened up the specification for its Virtual Machine Interface, which enables guest operating systems to communicate with the hypervisor. These moves point to a general rise in openness and collaboration among virtualisation vendors even as the competition tightens around higher-end tools, says one industry observer.

"VMware has been focusing on standardisation efforts much more seriously of late. They realise that the actual hypervisor functionality is being quickly commoditised, or near-commoditised, and like every other virtualisation vendor, they're eyeing virtualisation management as the source of green-field revenue," said Michael Coté, an analyst with Redmonk.

"IT management is by its nature a heterogenous undertaking, and even for market leaders like VMware, that means promoting standards and openness, at least at the lower levels of the stack."

To stave off competition from the likes of Microsoft, VMware recently said it would offer a small-footprint version of its ESX virtualisation software free.

Get the latest news and opinion on Linux at PC Advisor's dedicated Linux News Spotlight