- Microsoft announced Tuesday it joined The Linux Foundation as a platinum member, the highest level of membership. The foundation is a nonprofit dedicated to advancing open source collaboration.
- Microsoft’s relationship with the Linux and open-source communities has historically been rocky. Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer once compared Linux to "communism" and a "cancer." But in the past few years, Microsoft has become much more willing to work with open source vendors and rival companies. In March, Microsoft Corp. announced it would soon make its database software available for Linux systems for the first time.
- "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, in an announcement. "Microsoft has been a key contributor to many projects, and we see the company intensifying its involvement and commitment to open development."
Meanwhile, Google announced it is joining the Technical Steering Group of the .NET Foundation. It is further expanding the company’s participation in the group founded by Microsoft, which fosters open development and collaboration around the .NET ecosystem.
Companies like Microsoft and Google are likely opening up to open source in hopes of attracting more large business customers. Because it offers advantages in terms of cost, control and innovation, experts predict open source tools will soon be a much higher percentage of every IT organization’s environment.
The move by both Microsoft and Google also signals a shift away from purely proprietary models for the technology giants, with increased focus on collaboration to help advance technological innovation. Already, Microsoft and Google and leading contributors on GitHub. If their recent moves are any cindication, the adoption and contribution to open source is likely to continue.