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Microsoft Open Source Czar Takes Spotlight at LinuxCon

Microsoft's new open source czar, Wim Coekaerts, made his public debut at this week's LinuxCon in Toronto, where he gave a keynote address. Coekaerts, who spearheaded Oracle's Linux efforts, joined Microsoft in April as corporate VP for open source.

In his keynote yesterday followed by his first Microsoft blog post, Coekaerts told the Linux faithful why he joined Microsoft, a company whose onetime dominance and heavy handed licensing tactics inspired the Linux movement two decades ago.

Microsoft has added open source notches to its belt on a regular basis over the past two years. Last week, Microsoft announced a long-awaited contribution of PowerShell code to GitHub and the release of its Linux-based PowerShell environment. Still, Coekaerts said he realizes Microsoft has a long way to go to prove its mettle with the open source community. In a sign of how far Microsoft has come, the company was one of the top-level "diamond" sponsors of this year's LinuxCon, with Huawei and IBM being the other two.

"Over the past few months I've been asked more times than I can count, 'Wim, why did you join Microsoft?' As a Linux guy who has watched the company from afar, I am the first to admit that Microsoft hasn't always been the most open company," Coekaerts noted in his debut Microsoft blog post. "After talking to some of the executives at the company, I found that the days of a closed Microsoft are over."

Indeed, Microsoft executive VP Scott Guthrie made a strong push to convince Coekaerts of that, according to a recent Business Insider account. The fact that Microsoft has delivered the .NET Core to Linux and last week's news that it has done so with PowerShell and the plan to offer SQL Server for Linux were among many moves that also played a role in convincing the once-skeptical Coekaerts, he said.

Linux is also playing a key role as Microsoft continues to flesh out its new Operations Management Suite. Coekaerts announced that the preview of the recently announced Docker container monitoring component for OMS is now available. Microsoft Azure CTO Mark Russinovich demonstrated the Docker container management module for OMS at the recent DockerCon gathering in Seattle.

OMS, which provides visibility and control over applications and workloads running in Azure and other public clouds, will also benefit from last week's PowerShell on Linux announcement, according to Technical Fellow Jeffrey Snover. OMS "enables customers to transform their cloud experience when using PowerShell on both Linux and Windows Server," Snover noted in last week's announcement. "OMS Automation elevates PowerShell and Desired State Configuration (DSC) with a highly available and scalable management service from Azure. You can graphically author and manage all PowerShell resources including runbooks, DSC configurations and DSC node configurations from one place."

During yesterday's LinuxCon keynote, Coekaerts revealed that Linux now accounts for 40 percent of the instances in the Microsoft Azure cloud, as reported by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, a longtime critic of Microsoft, who outlined the company's turnaround in a cover story for Redmond magazine last year. "We've come a long way, but you'll soon see a lot more work," Coekaerts said. "We're a different company than we used to be and now is the time to prove it."

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 08/24/2016 at 12:30 PM


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