One after another open source action is being developed by Microsoft. Debian Linux was included in the app store for Windows shortly after Linux distribution Kali. They are not the first and certainly not the latest open source steps that Microsoft puts into its new guise.
Windows maker Microsoft has resisted open source for a long time. It has often criticized and dismissed the notion of so-called free software in general – and Linux in particular. Famous are the statements of former CEOs Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer that open source is all-inclusive, like Pac-Man and that it is even ‘like cancer’.
Embrace and expand
The two top men had their statements about a fundamental aspect of ‘pure’ open source, as covered by the GPL (GNU Public License). The terms of that license may require release of source code if open source code is processed in other software. However, the GPL is by far not the only open source license and Microsoft has itself developed and used its own semi-open licenses in recent years.
Initially, that acceptance seemed to be a form of the time-honored Microsoft strategy: embrace, extend, extinguish. The embracing and proprietary expansion of competing technologies has already led to the downfall of players. Or to at least serious obstruction. The platform-independent Java of Sun Microsystems is a well-known example of this.
Nowadays, however, Microsoft is more open source, even in its pure form. For the classic core product of Windows, the software producer even included the subsurface for Linux in Windows 10. The resulting WSL (Windows Subsystem for Linux) ensures that users can install a Linux distribution of their choice . Microsoft also includes specific distros in its app store for Windows.
Kali Linux has now joined this select company. Firstly, the distribution Ubuntu came, followed by the Red Hat-derived Fedora, plus OpenSUSE and SUSE Enterprise Linux. These operating systems can each be downloaded from the Microsoft Store in ready-to-use form, and then run on Windows, also side by side. This is not about emulated or virtualized installations on top of Windows, but about the command system integrated in Microsoft’s own operating system.
Two way traffic
Linux love is not limited to one-way traffic; just the side of Windows. The open source path also leads the other way. Microsoft has raised eyebrows with the plan to bring its SQL Server database to Linux . This was announced two years ago after development in the biggest secret. Since the announcement in March 2016, the Linux implementation of SQL Server has been gradually realized through developer previews.
SQL Server 2016 is the release that bridges the gap between Windows Server and Linux. The 2016 version has been released first for its own Windows. The counterpart for Linux was developed in collaboration with Red Hat and Ubuntu-maker Canonical. At the same time as the unveiling of this database project, all the open source container platform Docker was embraced.
For cloud and commands
Linux is not the only open source lover that makes Microsoft court. In 2016, for example, the FreeBSD version of the Unix-based BSD (Berkeley Software Distribution) was embraced for Microsoft’s cloud environment Azure. Linux VMs have been officially supported for use in Azure for some time. Open source operating system FreeBSD has been adapted by Microsoft to run smoothly on Azure in VM form. These custom adjustments were then shared with the FreeBSD Foundation.
Another example of Microsoft’s two-way traffic with open source is its own powerful PowerShell command prompt. The source code of that modern Windows shell was released early this year. This is a new version called PowerShell Core that runs on both Windows and macOS and Linux. Here we have listed top 9 things Linux is is excellent at doing.
Microsoft’s mission now seems to be to bring its software to the platforms and environments where (potential) users are. This instead of the mission of the ‘old Microsoft’ that put everything into use on Windows and thus wanted users on that own platform. An additional advantage is that ‘the New Microsoft’ also actively cooperates or contributes to the improvement of those other platforms and environments.