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Microsoft joins The Linux Foundation in coup for open source community

Computing giant Microsoft joins open source software focused group The Linux Foundation as ‘Platinum’ member, with board representation.

The Linux Foundation recently scored a significant new member in Microsoft, which joined the open source-focused organization as a “Platinum” member. The coup was announced by Microsoft at its recent Connect developer event.

The computing software giant has increasingly pushed its focus into the open source world, including recently releasing the open source .Net Core 1.0 platform; saddled up with Canonical to deploy Ubuntu on Windows 10; partnered with FreeBSD on releasing a version of its Azure cloud platform; and in acquiring Xamarin moved its software development kit to open source.

“As a cloud platform company we aim to help developers achieve more using the platforms and languages they know,” said Scott Guthrie, EVP for Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise Group, in a statement. “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.”

As part of its Platinum membership, which reports indicate typically runs $500,000, Microsoft placed John Gossman, architect on its Azure team, on The Linux Foundation board of directors. Other Platinum members include Cisco, Fujitsu, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, Huawei, IBM, Intel, NEC, Oracle, Qualcomm and Samsung.

The move came as a surprise to some as Microsoft’s past history of basing platforms on proprietary software seemed counter to what The Linux Foundation was attempting to do. That history was somewhat noticeable in comments from the open source group in connection with the announcement.

“Microsoft has grown and matured in its use of and contributions to open source technology,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director at The Linux Foundation. “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.”

The Linux Foundation houses a number of telecom-focused open source working groups like Open Platform Network Functions Virtualization and OpenDaylight.

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