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Microsoft Has Joined the Linux Foundation

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Microsoft has joined the Linux Foundation. 

No, you don’t need to rub yours eyes: we did just write that.

The company says it is “joining the Linux Foundation as a Platinum Member to better collaborate with the open source community.”

“We want to help developers achieve more and capitalize on the industry’s shift toward cloud-first and mobile-first experiences using the tools and platforms of their choice,” Microsoft’s VP of Cloud and Enterprise Scott Guthrie says.

“By collaborating with the community to provide open, flexible and intelligent tools and cloud services, we’re helping every developer deliver unprecedented levels of innovation.”

Microsoft <3 Open Source

Microsoft — in case your machine blue-screened and you missed the memo — now “loves” open-source.

The Linux Foundation notes the change, saying Microsoft has ‘increased its engagement in open source projects and communities’, from cloud to desktop.

It is a leading contributor on GitHub, has open-sources parts of its own .NET platform, and bought, and subsequently open-sourced, Xamarin.

‘Joining the Linux Foundation is important for Microsoft. It helps signal its commitment to open source’

Windows 10 even includes a built-in Linux subsystem — called ‘Windows Subsystem for Linux — which aims to let developers use the open-source CLI tools they know and love, but on Windows.

‘Suspicion Remains’

Many open-source enthusiasts remain suspicious of Microsoft’s true motivations. Can the company once viewed as ‘the enemy’ really be trusted? In related articles the oft repeated  “embrace, extend…” meme is never more than a handful of comments away.

But it is clear that things have changed during the leadership of Satya Nadella in a number of ways. Whether these are sincere changes or part of a concentrated slow orchestration with the aim of infiltrating Linux from within …Well, that depends on your personal level of cynicism and whether you own any tin-foil hats.

Either way, joining the Linux Foundation is an important step for Microsoft. It helps signal its commitment to the open source community, and attempts to show that the bumbling blundering behemoth of old is now a conscientious cuddly companion.

As part of today’s announcement Microsoft also launches a public preview of SQL Server on Linux,  a preview of Azure App Service on Linux (with support for containers) and is porting Visual Studio to macOS.