Microsoft Joins Linux Foundation As Platinum Member: Company Realizes Software Developers Use Multiple Platforms Interchangeably?

Microsoft has joined the Linux foundation. The maker of Windows Operating System (OS) announced the decision at the company’s online developers’ event, Connect 2016, with a powerful tagline: “Any developer, any application, any platform.”

After fighting the Linux revolution for a long time and avoiding open source software and code, Microsoft decided to join the growing community. The Redmond-based company has been openly professing its love for the popular OS and platform for the past couple of years but took the relationship to the next level by signing up with the Linux Foundation. Incidentally, Microsoft chose the Platinum partnership, which costs $500,000 annually, reported Venture Beat. As part of the partnership, John Gossman, the architect on the Microsoft Azure team, will sit on the foundation’s Board of Directors. He will also help underwrite projects.

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Besides joining the Linux Foundation, Microsoft is also releasing a public preview of the next version of SQL Server for Linux. The highly anticipated port of the relational database software was first announced in March. Additionally, Linux developers can also start working on Azure App Service. The service is considered very vital because developers will no longer have to spend considerable resources and man-hours on managing infrastructure for cloud-based apps.

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These decisions by Microsoft, under the leadership of its current CEO, Satya Nadella, are part of an ongoing effort by the company to adopt and support Linux and open source in multiple ways and levels. During the last decade, Microsoft didn’t like Linux. Jim Zemlin, the Foundation’s executive director, had blamed Microsoft for “secretly attacking Linux” after it sold a group of Linux-related patents. About 15 years ago, Microsoft’s outspoken former CEO, Steve Ballmer, had called the Linux OS a cancer.

Hinting at the hatred, Zemlin said, “Microsoft and the Linux Foundation may have had disagreements in the past, but one thing we’ve always agreed on is that developers are super-important. There’s just too much software to be written for any organization to it by themselves. We need to collaborate on these things…. To the skeptics out there, I’d like to say that… if Microsoft loves Linux, on behalf of the over 800 members of the Linux Foundation… we love you too.”

It was Nadella who went against the company’s unspoken dislike of all things Linux and open source. In 2014, Nadella proclaimed the company loves Linux. Defying the skeptics who chalked up his talks as a mere marketing gimmick, Nadella stayed true to his words. He spearheaded other projects, including the Red Hat partnership, open-sourcing .NET, and running SQL Server on Linux, that eventually culminated in the partnership with the Linux Foundation, reported Geek Wire.

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While Microsoft has just become a platinum member, other big players in the tech industry, including Intel, Oracle, Samsung, and IBM have long associated themselves with Linux.

As part of its initiative to enhance collaboration rather than indulge in competition, the MS Office maker will soon make search engine provider Google, who just happens to be Microsoft’s direct competitor in the highly lucrative cloud storage and computing segment, a member of its .NET Foundation technical steering committee.

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Besides Linux, Microsoft is also increasing support for Tizen, an open-source operating system used by Samsung and others. The lightweight OS doesn’t take up a lot of resources, and it is ideal for smartphones, tablets, appliances, and other devices. The company is bringing a preview version of Visual Studio tools and a .NET Software Development Kit (SDK) for C# developers meant for the OS.

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It appears Microsoft is openly embracing competing software platforms. After dramatically altering the way its Windows OS is designed and sold, the company appears to have finally realized that developers not only use multiple languages, but they have varying preferences. Moreover, developers often use multiple platforms interchangeably depending on the need. Forcing them to choose sides and allegiance would be disastrous in today’s world filled with open source alternatives.

[Featured Image by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]