Fiction writer and Azure CTO, Mark Russinovich, may have caught the imagination of a few open source developers today, with Windows and open source in a non-fiction reality. Reportedly, when asked at the Annual ChefConf conference, about Windows ever becoming open-sourced, Mark replied, “It’s definitely possible.” Mark went on to further clarify, “It’s a new Microsoft. Literally every conversation you can imagine about what should we do with our software: open, not open, services. It’s happened.”
Just for clarification, Mark is saying Windows could potentially become a technology that is free of intellectual property, licensing fees, and free to use, some time in the future. It’s a bit mind-blowing for Windows veterans but should signal to developers that Microsoft is experiencing a bit of hubris these days. Microsoft is quickly, and in some cases, painfully realizing that it should constantly be in conversations about their future. While the conversations are encouraging for some, at this moment, that is all they appear to be. Microsoft continues to have discussions on their new pricing models regarding Windows. For better or for worse, the company continues to have discussions on the viability of Android apps in the Windows ecosystem. However, these conversations take time, and thorough consideration before end-users begin to see the glaciers shifts.
Fortunately, for the company, there are people in place who recognize and understand the world is changing and, Microsoft needs to change with it. Microsoft has been dipping its toes into the open source community for some time now. With over 1,000 repositories on GitHub, Microsoft is getting more familiar with the community and more importantly the culture of open source. According to TechFlash, Mark opened up about his thoughts on open source.
“Once we started to look deeply at why are we operating the way we are, what has been holding us back, let's change. That kind of opened the floodgates that you see us now going everywhere with open source,” Russinovich said. “It’s no longer taboo. It’s actually encouraged in many places.”
Microsoft may not be ready to open the floodgates to Windows just yet, but at least they realize that the world is increasingly moving towards open source solutions. With Azure now working with Linux, some teams at Microsoft are setting up a foundation that could help Microsoft in the future.