Microsoft has joined the Linux Foundation as a Platinum member. The announcement was made at Microsoft’s Connect developer conference in New York. Of course, Microsoft joining Linux Foundation as a member raises some eyebrows, given that the Redmont-based tech giant has long been known for proprietary software. That is the exact opposite of what Linux stands for, but it looks like things are changing. Under Satya Nadella, we’ve seen Microsoft evolve a lot, and it has been contributing to several Linux Foundation projects for sometime now.
The Linux Foundation’s announcement notes, “Microsoft has steadily increased its engagement in open source projects and communities.” Microsoft is also “a leading open source contributor on GitHub” now, and had earlier released the open source .NET Core 1.0. Microsoft has also partnered with Canonical to bring Ubuntu to Windows 10.
“As a cloud platform company we aim to help developers achieve more using the platforms and languages they know,” said Scott Guthrie, Executive Vice President, Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise Group in a press statement. “The Linux Foundation is home not only to Linux, but many of the community’s most innovative open source projects. We are excited to join The Linux Foundation and partner with the community to help developers capitalize on the shift to intelligent cloud and mobile experiences.”
“Microsoft has grown and matured in its use of and contributions to open source technology,” said Jim Zemlin, Executive Director of The Linux Foundation in the press statement. “The company has become an enthusiastic supporter of Linux and of open source and a very active member of many important projects. Membership is an important step for Microsoft, but also for the open source community at large, which stands to benefit from the company’s expanding range of contributions.”
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Microsoft has been contributing to Linux Foundation projects, including Node.js Foundation, OpenDaylight, Open Container Initiative, R Consortium and Open API Initiative. However, as The Verge points out former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer had once called Linux cancer.
Ballmer in 2001 had said in an interview, “Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches.” However, earlier this year, the former Microsoft CEO softened his stand, and was quoted by Reuters as saying that at the time, it was the right position to take for Microsoft, but now “the threat from Linux was now in the rearview mirror.”
In 2016, Microsoft also announced it will be bringing its SQL Server to Linux as well. Microsoft had in the announcement said this will allow the “SQL Server to deliver a consistent data platform across Windows Server and Linux, as well as on-premises and cloud.”