Short Bytes: While Microsoft is expressing its love for open source and Linux by releasing tons of code on GitHub and making Linux-based products, it’s unable to win the trust of open source community. Showing its darker side, the company has extracted some Android and Linux-based patents from smaller companies. If Redmond really cares about them, they should work to win the trust of the open source community. Any company’s success in the world of open source depends on its users and developers.
It seems that Microsoft desperately wants to be seen as a Linux community member by working on a wide variety of technologies. If we talk about the enterprise, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and open source dominate this arena. While 25% Azure machines are running Linux, Microsoft is making its developer tools open to gather a wider audience.
But, the open source community isn’t ready to trust Microsoft whose former CEO Steve Ballmer called Linux a “cancer”. Even if we choose to believe that Redmond has forgotten its Linux-destroying days and adopted a new strategy under Satya Nadella, some recent developments have again sowed a seed of doubt in the members of open source community.
Last week, Microsoft got involved in a legal issue and secured patent licenses from Wistron of Taiwan and Rakuten of Japan around Linux and Android technologies. While Microsoft is already making billions with its patents in Android, its history of Linux-related patent trolling isn’t hidden from anyone. The open source community remains frightened of Microsoft as no one knows who could be the next one to get a notice from Microsoft’s legal guys.
In another case that violates the trust of open source community, Microsoft has recently claimed that it came up with the idea for Continuum and “invented” the concept. On the other hand, Canonical has been working on Convergence since 2013, even though it was never released to the public up until recently.
There’s no doubt that Microsoft has made some serious contributions to the open source community and expressed its love for Linux. However, if Redmond really cares, it should work transparently to win the trust of the open source community as any company’s success in the world of open source depends on its users and developers.
Satya Nadella should also consider joining the Open Innovation Network (OIN) and sending a message the open source world to become a trusted member of the community.
Here’s a piece of advice for the big guys at Redmond: Stop attacking open source technologies, it won’t bite you.