We live in strange times, Microsoft is finally changing the way that Windows looks after more than fifteen years, Google is moving into OS territory, and Apple is selling its products like hotcakes (something it certainly wasn’t doing in the 90s).

Amid all this change and strangeness, Microsoft has become quite active in the open source community. You’d think that they’d want to compete against open source projects based on Unix and Linux, since these are competing products to Windows, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Rather recently, Microsoft made the list of top contributors in the open-source community for its aid in open source projects related to technologies like the Linux kernel.

Now Microsoft has even announced it will make a move that puts it even closer into the open source world, they are starting a new subsidiary dedicated to open source projects and standards.

The new subsidiary goes under the name “Microsoft Open Technologies, Incorporated” and will start with around 50-75 employees at first.

Before the negative folks in the Windows community start saying that this move has something to do with a loss in confidence with Windows and the change coming in Windows 8, I’ll stop you.

So what other reason would Microsoft have to benefit open-source projects? Bridging MS-owned properties with open ones, helping develop new projects as experiments, and just having a way to appear “friendlier” while reaching out to developers and users in the open-source world. That’s just a couple reasons.

More and more, Google with changes to its privacy policy and the many malware dramas that have surfaced, is being accused of becoming too much of an evil company, something that has often been said about Microsoft.

As Google moves into the OS world and becomes a bigger force, perhaps MS is just looking for other ways to set itself apart from the competition.

No matter what their true reasons or motivations, it is likely good news for the open source community and the advancement of computing technology in general.

The direct words said by Microsoft about the new initiative, by its new President, are as follows:

We believe that the subsidiary will provide a new way of engaging with open-source communities in a more clearly defined manner,” he said, adding that the effort is about “bridging Microsoft and non-Microsoft technologies.”

So, in short, this move makes sense because it can clearly help them reach out in new directions.

It has nothing to do with the Windows side of the business, and no, I’d be very shocked if we ever saw a Microsoft mainstream OS that ran on the Unix/Linux kernel. Of course weirder things could happen, and there was a UNIX variant by Microsoft back in the 80s known under the name Xenix.

What do you think of Microsoft’s new move in creating a subsidiary devoted to open technologies? Share your thoughts below.

[ source ]
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  • NazmusLabs

    I am glad this is happening. I am a MS fan; I always have been, since I was…hmm 7. Seeing Microsoft help out the open source community makes me glad to be a fan! I decided to share why I am such a big fan of Microsoft. If you are interested, feel free to read it. Otherwise, until we talk again, have a great one!

    I fell in love with tech when I first used a PC. It was Windows 95, and I was 7. My PC experience and exploration started with Windows. I loved Paint as a kid. I loved messing with files and “discovering” secrets. I would always wonder that the heck that colorful MSDOS logo was; I would know to avoid it because double clicking it would turn the screen black, with a white, blinking cursor.I first saw an apple product when I used a mac at school. I was in 4th grade. I realized that that PC was nothing like the PC I used at home. I had become so bonded with our, then, Windows 98 machine, that I didn’t like how the Mac worked at school. And WHAT? No Right Click? I then realized that I had emotionally connected with our PC, specifically Windows. (Just like I hear Mac users being “emotionally” connected with their macs).

    Today, I still feel emotionally bonded to Windows and Microsoft. This is analogous to how kids from the 80s fell in love with Nintendo and Atari; they still admire those companies.

    I also loved Google. I loved their simple home page. It was better than Yahoo. I loved the fisherprice logo, and what the heck, my friends at school used it. I fell more and more in love with google after seeing how much they supported the open community. As I grew up, I learned more about tech and the idea of Google not being evil. Google was my second favorite company after Microsoft. I was saddened that my favorite company, Microsoft, didn’t do many of the amazing things Google was doing, like autonomous cars, open source contributions, the like. Slowly, things took a turn.

    Google shuts down many of its experiments, from charity programs to other projects. There is no Google Labs anymore. From a strategic prospective, Google is doing what it believes is good for business. It is trying to focus and be more cooperate. I can no longer see Google as the open technology explorers of the decade, but, rather, I see it as just another tech corp.

    Then Google+ began mixing with my Google search results. I felt that Google search wasn’t as good as it used to be. I switched to bing (something beyond my imagination just a year prior). Now, Microsoft is making Windows 8. Microsoft is making Windows Phone. Microsoft is touting user experience. Microsoft supporting open source. Now, some of the traits I loved about Google are touching Microsoft. Microsoft is pushing innovation and technology faster than it has done in a long time.

    I have always been a fan of Microsoft, and it only makes me more happy that they are doing the right thing and moving technology.

  • Joenelarroyo

    rock on