If you can't beat them, join them. That seems to be the stance Microsoft has taken with the announcement that it is joining the Linux Foundation. The move represents a stark change in attitude toward open source software for the company that was once the standard bearer for the closed source, proprietary development model.
"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 Cloud and Enterprise Executive Vice President Scott Guthrie (pictured above) said today at the company’s annual Connect(); developer event. "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."
Getting to the Cloud with Open Source
The company described its decision to join the Linux Foundation as part of a broader strategy to work more closely with the open source community. Microsoft said the move will benefit customers through increased collaboration and innovation throughout the diverse open source ecosystem.
Open source software has become a key component of a number of technologies that power cloud computing. As cloud platforms have become more popular Microsoft has been eager to ensure it is not left out. The company has even developed its own open source application framework, .NET Core.
"By becoming a Linux Foundation Platinum member, Microsoft is better able to collaborate with the open source community to deliver transformative mobile and cloud experiences to more people," said Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation. "Microsoft has been a key contributor to many projects, and we see the company intensifying its involvement and commitment to open development."
Google Joins .NET Foundation
Joining Linux wasn’t the only major announcement Microsoft made about open source projects today. The company also said Google will be joining the .NET Foundation, an independent organization Microsoft established to promote adoption of .NET. The inclusion of Google should help reinforce .NET’s position as a key open source technology by bringing in a major industry player.
Microsoft also previewed a new version of its Visual Studio platform for the Mac operating system that will enable developers to write cloud, mobile, and macOS apps on Apple’s Mac OS using the popular development environment.
The company also offered a peek at the next version of the its flagship SQL Server database with support for Linux, Linux-based Docker containers, and Windows-based environments. Microsoft also previewed its Azure App Service on Linux with support for containers, a new service for app developers announced yesterday.