Microsoft Admits It Was Wrong About Linux

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Year of the Linux, when? If there’s one thing about this new Microsoft, it’s that the company is open to embracing the competition without giving it a second thought.

Maybe it’s the cloud DNA of the firm, or maybe it has got something to do with a couple of high-profile failures like Windows Phone and UWP that got Redmond where it is now. Maybe it’s a combination of all these factors.


But this much is certain, that we have come a long way from back when Steve Ballmer infamously called Linux a cancer. The former Microsoft CEO was an excitable fella, yes, but he took things a bit too far back then.

The Microsoft of now knows this, and is happy to admit that it was on the wrong side of history regarding Linux and the open source space as a whole.

At least, these are the thoughts of Microsoft President Brad Smith, who during a recent chat hosted by the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab at MIT acknowledged that the company had figured it wrong.

Linux Tux Penguin

His words, paraphrased:

“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.”

And indeed, Microsoft has changed.

Azure, the company’s cloud computing arm has been supporting various Linux distributions for many a year now. Redmond even recently built a Linux based OS for its Azure Sphere platform for IoT app development.

Plus, who can forget the “Microsoft loves Linux” moment back at BUILD 2016.

That was when the company introduced the Windows Subsystem for Linux in Windows 10. In fact, its successor, the Windows Subsystem for Linux 2, announced last year, is one of the big new features coming in the upcoming May 2020 Update for the operating system.

Of course, the tussle between Linux and Microsoft software continues across the globe. But as far as Redmond is concerned, it’s all in the past now.

Thankfully so!

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