Linux bods across the globe are revelling in the irony that Microsoft has had to rely on Linux - the operating system it consistently writes off - in order to get over recent denial-of-service attacks on its website.

The Blaster worm, which caused havoc last week by exploiting a Windows security hole, contained a payload that forced all computers with it on to direct traffic at Microsoft's update website, windowsupdate.com.

Accoring to traffic monitoring site, Netcraft, rather than sitting and waiting for the inevitable attack, Microsoft shifted the management of its DNS servers (that is the servers that serve queries from the Internet) to the acknowledged expert in dealing with huge demand, Akamai.

Akamai specialises in this area and is a wise choice, although not exactly cheap. However, the enjoyable part of it is that Akamai runs exclusively on Linux servers - about 2,000 of them at last count. And so we have the software company that most criticises Linux - saying, among hundreds of other things, that it isn't stable or reliable or trustworthy - relying on its rival operating system's very stability to sort out its own problems.

It isn't the first time Microsoft has turned to Akamai either. At the start of 2001, it was put under a similar level of pressure from DoS attacks and it shifted its DNS over to Akamai to deal with it.

News website TechWeb has a quote from a Microsoft spokeswoman regarding the irony. She said Microsoft "respects the fact that [its partners and vendors] may have diversified business models and operate in mixed IT environments. Microsoft's main concern is doing whatever it takes to help ensure customers can get to the Blaster worm patch to protect their computers."

Which is all perfectly reasonable, but it won't stop people chuckling to themselves.