Microsoft Steps Up Its Commitment to Open Source


Today The Linux Foundation is announcing that we’ve welcomed Microsoft as a Platinum member. I’m honored to join Scott Guthrie, executive VP of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise Group, at the Connect(); developer event in New York and expect to be able to talk more in the coming months about how we’ll intensify our work together for the benefit of the open source community at large.


Microsoft is already a substantial participant in many open source projects and has been involved in open source communities through partnerships and technology contributions for several years. Around 2011 and 2012, the company contributed a large body of device driver code to enable Linux to run as an enlightened guest on Hyper-V. Microsoft has an engineering team dedicated to Linux kernel work, and since that initial contribution, the team has contributed improvements and new features to the driver code for Hyper-V on a consistent basis.


Over the past two years in particular, we’ve seen that engineering team grow and expand the range of Linux kernel areas it’s working on to include kernel improvements that aren’t specifically related to Microsoft products. The company is also an active member of many Linux Foundation projects, including Node.js Foundation, R Consortium, OpenDaylight, Open API Initiative and Open Container Initiative. In addition, a year ago we worked with Microsoft to release a Linux certification, Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate Linux on Azure.


The open source community has gained tools and other resources as Microsoft has open sourced the .NET Core, contributed OpenJDK, announced Docker support in Windows Server, announced SQL on Linux, added the ability to run native Bash on Ubuntu on Windows, worked with FreeBSD to release an image for Azure, and open sourced Xamarin’s software development kit and PowerShell. The company supports Red Hat, SUSE, Debian and Ubuntu on Azure. Notably, Microsoft is a top open source contributor on GitHub.


The Linux Foundation isn’t the only open source foundation Microsoft has committed to in 2016: in March, the company joined the Eclipse Foundation. A Microsoft employee has served as the Apache Software Foundation’s president for three years.


Linux Foundation membership underscores what Microsoft has demonstrated time and again, which is that the company is evolving and maturing with the technology industry. Open source has become a dominant force in software development–the de facto way to develop infrastructure software–as individuals and companies have realized that they can solve their own technology challenges and help others at the same time.


Membership is an important step for Microsoft, but it’s perhaps bigger news for the open source community, which will benefit from the company’s sustained contributions. I look forward to updating you over time on progress resulting from this relationship.