Microsoft joined the Linux foundation as a platinum member because of Cloud Services

Microsoft has officially joined the Linux foundation as a platinum member. Microsoft and the Open Source community have traditionally been enemies, but the announcement is the latest in a series of steps that Microsoft has taken to embrace Linux. It is 15 years since Steve Ballmer called Linux a cancer that contaminates other software with hippie GPL rubbish. The IT environment has changed, and it is a new world for Microsoft. Microsoft sees open source as a value addition for the new products and services it provides to its customers now. The initiative is being lead by Satya Nadella, as a measure to win business technology battles.

The cloud services offered by Microsoft are in a large part responsible for this transformation. Customers have been demanding for SQL Server 2016 on Linux, and Microsoft obliged. Users were already running SQL servers on Linux, but with integration it was possible to support machine learning and advance analytics on the platform. Ballmer said he loved the announcement, and congratulated Nadella on the move. The threat from Linux is behind Microsoft now. The move directly took on Oracle, which long dominated the market.

At the Microsoft Build conference 2016, Microsoft catered to developers, by announcing plans for integrating Linux subsystems into the Windows kernel. This was also a cloud oriented move, allowing developers to work on the Azure platform. The measure makes Windows an excellent tool for cross platform development. Microsoft is also building its own Linux-based operating system. Azure Cloud Switch (ACS) is a cross platform modular Linux based OS for controlling the hardware on which cloud services are delivered.

The steps are not meant to compete directly with Linux, but instead an effort to provide customers the tools they need. In an effort to push cloud services to governments and enterprises, Microsoft organised a conference called Openness Days, partnering with the Telangana government. A part of the conference was Open Hack, India’s first Open Source on Azure hackathon.

Earlier this year, Microsoft again emphasised its commitment to Linux by making Skype available on Linux and Chrome. Microsoft also open sourced Chakra, the JavaScript engine in Edge. The .NET compiler Roslyn is also open sourced, and available on multiple platforms, including the Mac.

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