Connection Strings

Once Upon a Time, Microsoft Opposed Open Source Development

Those days are long gone, but Microsoft was at one time a notorious anti-open source company. It's turned that notion upside down within a decade, and is now a member of several foundations whose purposes are to steer open source development deep into the cloud.

Photo Copyright 2017 Michael Domingo,

Let's play a game of remember when. Remember when Microsoft's former CEO Steve Ballmer said, "Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches."? That notorious quote was at one time the guiding principle for the company's developers, meaning open source development was anathema. Instead, as in year's past code was developed in secret, dogfooded within the walls of the Redmond campus, and finally put out to production, where it was eventually tested in public well after features were baked in.

Ballmer said that quote back in 2001, in an interview with The Sun Times. These are interesting times and that's how the Internet works today, storing these bloviations so that the powerful who said them can eat their words. Since then, his anti-open-source stance has been brought up time and again to remind us how much the company has turned its back on it. Instead, the company is fully embracing open source development and making it work to its full financial favor ever with since Ballmer's replacement, Satya Nadella, took the reins and ran with it.

The company started to embrace open source publicly, way before Nadella, though, with software development collaborations with Novell in full display at an open source conference in 2008. But it look a while for the company to fully back OS with the forming of the .NET Foundation in 2014, when it allowed the group to host its open sourced toolings and services. The company then also joined The Linux Foundation as a Platinum member two years later, showing that Microsoft was able to cross the threshold to work with its long-ago enemy.

Microsoft earlier this week has wrapped itself in open-sourceness even further, having joined The Cloud Native Computing Foundation as a Platinum member. The CNCF's goals are to promote the open source development of secure containerization and microservices technology. (Officially, the charter states: "The Foundation's mission is to create and drive the adoption of a new computing paradigm that is optimized for modern distributed systems environments capable of scaling to tens of thousands of self healing multi-tenant nodes.") Microsoft for its part has already done quite a bit, including contributing to a number of CNCF-based projects, especially the development of Kubernetes, an orchestration system for spinning up and scaling containers.

"I strongly believe the power of open source derives from strong, diverse communities and that we have an obligation to support these communities by participating as code contributors and in the associated foundations and committees," writes John Gossman, Microsoft's Azure Architect, in a blog about its CNCF membership. That's a quote that brings Microsoft full circle.

In this (and final) episode of .NET Insight Podcast, we explore a number of ways developers can make headway in their search for developer opportunities. Plus, and interview with David Intersimone of Evans Data, who explains some of their findings in a report on the makeup of the global developer community.

Links mentioned in this show:

Here are a handful of other links we've run across that might be useful to you, in no particular order and definitely not conforming to any particular theme:

  • redgate Hub{d}: SQL Server R Services: Digging into the R Language
  • Code it Yourself...: Run ASP.NET Core on OpenShiftt
  • Scott Hanselman: dotnet sdk list and dotnet sdk latest
  • Benny Michielsen: Managing settings for an Angular app with VSTS
  • InfoQ: Blazor Brings .NET Back to the Browser
  • Microsoft Developer: How to delete an Azure App Service Plan using Azure PowerShell
  • Premier Developer: Cross-Account Package Management for NuGet in VSTS
  • Build Azure: 70-475 Big Data Analytics Exam – Feb 2017 Update
  • Microsoft's Azure Stack Tackles Hybrid Cloud, DevOps and Serverless Computing
  • Los Alamos lets users customize the supercomputer software stack
  • JetBrains Releases 'Massive Update' of IntelliJ IDEA
  • Microsoft Refreshes Its Machine Learning Security Tool
  • Redmond: Microsoft Ending Windows PowerShell 2.0 Support with Windows 10 Fall Creators Update

Know of an interesting link, or does your company have a new or updated product or service targeted at Visual Studio developers? Tell us at [email protected].

About the Author

Michael Domingo is a long-time software publishing veteran, having started up and managed developer publications for the Clipper compiler, Microsoft Access, and Visual Basic. For 1105 Media, he managed, Virtualization Review, and was Editor in Chief of Visual Studio Magazine and host of The .NET Insight Podcast until 2017. Contact him via his photography Web site at

comments powered by Disqus


Subscribe on YouTube