Open Source Offshoot Is Closed by Microsoft
The company feels it's no longer relevant.
Microsoft believes enough in its open source commitment that it no longer feels it has to have an offshoot to emphasize. It's essentially saying that open source is now baked into its products so deeply that they're no longer an add-on, requiring a distinct company.
To that end, Microsoft late last week said it's shutting down the MS Open Tech subsidiary it formed three years ago to invest in open source initiatives and will absorb it into the company. The company announced the formation of Microsoft Open Technologies Inc. in April 2012, staffed with an interoperability strategy team in Redmond that aimed at accelerating its push into the open source community.
In a blog post late Friday, MS Open Tech's president Jean Paoli said the independent organization accomplished what it set out to do and the time is right to bring its people and efforts back into Microsoft. "MS Open Tech has reached its key goals, and open source technologies and engineering practices are rapidly becoming mainstream across Microsoft," Paoli said. "It's now time for MS Open Tech to rejoin Microsoft Corp., and help the company take its next steps in deepening its engagement with open source and open standards."
The move is hardly surprising. In the past year, Microsoft has extended its push into the open source community more than most ever would have expected. Not that Microsoft is positioning itself as an open source company, but it in some way supports every major initiative and has made contributions once unthinkable, including its .NET Framework. Mark Russinovich, CTO for Azure, earlier this month raised eyebrows when raising the specter of Microsoft open sourcing Windows, saying "it's definitely possible."
"Open source has become a key part of Microsoft's culture," Paoli said in his Friday post. "Microsoft's investments in open source ecosystems and non-Microsoft technologies are stronger than ever, and as we build applications, services, and tools for other platforms, our engineers are more involved in open source projects every day. Today, Microsoft engineers participate in nearly 2,000 open source projects on GitHub and CodePlex combined."
Paoli also noted that Microsoft has brought "first-class support" to Linux and Azure; partnered with Docker to integrate its containers to enable support on Azure and Windows; built Azure HDInsight on Apache Hadoop and Linux; and created developer support for open platforms and languages including Android, Node.js and Python. In addition to deep support for Docker, Paoli pointed to integration with other key environments, both open and competing proprietary platforms, notably iOS. Among other projects he noted were contributions to Apache Cordova, Cocos2d-x, OpenJDK, and dash.js, support for Office 365 on the Moodle learning platform and collaboration on key Web standards including HTML5, HTTP/2 and WebRTC/ORTC.
As Microsoft absorbs MS OpenTech, it will create the Microsoft Open Technology Programs Office, according to Paoli. "Team members will play a broader role in the open advocacy mission with teams across the company," he said. "The Programs Office will scale the learnings and practices in working with open source and open standards that have been developed in MS Open Tech across the whole company. Additionally, the Microsoft Open Technology Programs Office will provide tools and services to help Microsoft teams and engineers engage directly with open source communities, create successful Microsoft open source projects, and streamline the process of accepting community contributions into Microsoft open source projects."
Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.