There was a time when Microsoft frowned upon open-source software. With a focus on their own proprietary software that they preferred to license out for loads of money rather than make open to the public for consumption and further improvement, the company was seen as the enemy to small enterprises and the open-source development space. Especially those companies who were focused on creating a culture of building things together rather than creating monopolistic practices that were seen to hinder the development of software globally.
For the past few years though, Microsoft has had an about-turn and rather decided to embrace open-source software, making the likes of PowerShell and its Visual Studio Code completely open-source to the broader community. At a recent MIT event (via The Verge), Microsoft president Brad Smith revealed that the company was initially wrong about open source:
Microsoft was on the wrong side of history when open source exploded at the beginning of the century, and I can say that about me personally. The good news is that, if life is long enough, you can learn … that you need to change
Along with some of the other mentioned software that has been converted into open-source, Microsoft has many initiatives that show their commitment to the open-source community. They have started to embrace Linux and are now working on building it into its own OS, 19 years after former CEO Steve Balmer once labelled Linux, “a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches”. They have also decided to stop the development of their own Edge browser and embrace Google’s Chromium platform, moving many of their ideas into that source code. And that’s without mentioning that the company recently acquired GitHub, the source control company for many open-source projects around the world.
Last Updated: May 19, 2020