Redmond View

Does Linux Love Microsoft?

It's time to evaluate Microsoft's true relationship with the open source community.

Perhaps you're wondering why the September print cover story is about open source. After all, Redmond is a publication for IT pros specializing in Windows and Microsoft software and technology. While open source was long the antithesis of everything Microsoft traditionally stood for, it's no secret those days are long past.

But even as Microsoft incrementally started dipping its toe into various pieces of the open source world over the past decade, it was often with the goal of boosting the fortunes of its proprietary software. Hence, the community greeted any moves with suspicion and cynicism, often with good reason.

As the company built out Microsoft Azure and supported Linux, Java and a myriad of other open source platforms several years ago, it went largely unnoticed outside the Microsoft community. The inflexion point was nearly a year ago when CEO Satya Nadella said "Microsoft loves Linux." In my mind, it was clear Microsoft was all in when Azure CTO Mark Russinovich earlier this year didn't rule out the possibility of Microsoft open sourcing Windows.

To determine how the open source community really views Microsoft's moves, I turned to respected author Steven J. Vaughn-Nichols. Vaughn-Nichols has covered the mainstream open source industry since its beginning nearly two decades ago and has penned many articles and columns exploring Microsoft's moves with a cynical eye.

If anyone could find something unscrupulous, or even suspicious, he would be the one to find it. Indeed, many are adamantly cynical of Microsoft's open source motives. Others remain skeptical given Microsoft's Android patent suits, but willing to give the company the benefit of the doubt. But there's a growing chorus of prominent members of the open source community who are outright impressed, a sign Microsoft is incrementally becoming a welcome member.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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