Microsoft, Satya Nadella, Sing the Praises of Open Source and Linux

by Ostatic Staff - Oct. 21, 2014

 Has Microsoft finally, truly warmed up to Linux and open source? New CEO Satya Nadella is definitely pushing that notion. Several media outlets this week are reporting on his comments on how he "loves Linux" and he reportedly claims that 20 percent of Microsoft's Azure cloud is already Linux-based. Furthermore, the software titan seems remains committed to providing top-notch support for Linux distributions in its public cloud offerings.

This, of course, is the smart way for Microsoft to play things now that data centers are running multiple operating systems and heterogenous environments. At Microsoft, apparently, open source is no longer "a cancer."

Steve Ballmer, former CEO at Microsoft famously called open source a cancer.  As The Register reported all the way back in 2001:

"Microsoft CEO and incontinent over-stater of facts Steve Ballmer said that "Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches," during a commercial spot masquerading as a media interview with the Chicago Sun-Times."

Satya Nadella, though, seems to genuinely sing a different tune. This week, he announced support for the container-friendly CoreOS Linux distribution, and Microsoft's Azure cloud also supports CentOS, Oracle Linux, Suse, and Ubuntu. Clearly, Nadella wants IT administrators to feel like they can run Azure, Windows and Linux in parallel without compatibility problems.

As I reported in this post, Microsoft has also been a top contributor to Linux. 

Nadella knows that IT managers don't want to be boxed in to using, say, just Windows Server. Specifically, many of them want to run Linux alongside Windows Server, and that means that the Linux kernel and Windows Server need to be able to play together nicely.

And, remember that when he took the CEO position, Nadella wrote a thoughtful and extensive letter to employees in which he said that he and company leaders are taking "important steps to visibly change our culture."

There are times when the best strategy is to play nicely with the competition, and the new regime at Microsoft seems to be realizing that.