As strange and as self contradictory as the statement sounds, it is true. Microsoft is joining the Linux foundation as a paying, platinum member. The company isn’t joining to prove a point either, as the platinum level means that the company will be dishing out as much as $500,000 annually.
In case you are unaware of it, the Linux Foundation is a non-profit tech trade association that works to promote, protect and advance Linux and collaborative development. The aim of this platform is to provide a comprehensive set of services that can stand toe to toe and compete with closed platforms.
Meanwhile, this is certainly a new beginning for Microsoft and also confirms the path that the company has been progressing upon of late. The company was notorious for having a closed ecosystem. However it has really been turning over a new leaf of late.
However, Microsoft’s interest in the foundation is not entirely surprising. The company has tuned into a significant proponent of open source technologies and indeed, over the past few years it has crossed milestones like bringing the SQL Server to Linux, open-sourcing parts of its .NET platform and partnering with the likes of Red Hat, SUSE etc.
Microsoft has also contributed to a variety of Linux backed programs such as Node.js, OpenDaylight, the Open Container Initiative, the R Consortium and the Open API Initiative
Speaking on the topic, Linux Foundation executive director Jim Zemlin said,
Microsoft has grown and matured in its use of and contributions to open-source technology. The company has become an enthusiastic supporter of Linux and of open-source and a very active member of many important projects. Membership is an important step for Microsoft, but also for the open-source community at large, which stands to benefit from the company’s expanding range of contributions.
Expressing his thoughts on the topic, Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise Group said,
As a cloud platform company, we aim to help developers achieve more using the platforms and languages they know. The Linux Foundation is home not only to Linux, but many of the community’s most innovative open-source projects. We are excited to join The Linux Foundation and partner with the community to help developers capitalize on the shift to intelligent cloud and mobile experiences.
By joining as a Platinum member, Microsoft joins a host of other important tech companies including Cisco, Fujitsu, HPE, Huawei, IBM, Intel, NEC, Oracle, Qualcomm, Samsung, Google, Facebook etc. Following Microsoft’s 500,000 annual membership bid, John Gossman, architect on the Microsoft Azure team, will also get a seat on the Linux foundation’s Board of Directors.