As we explained in a feature article earlier this week, Microsoft is a very different company today compared with how it used to be. Two decades ago, the idea of the firm enthusiastically embracing open source was unimaginable, but at its Connect() developer conference in New York City today, Chris Wanstrath, CEO of GitHub, highlighted the fact that Microsoft is now the top contributor on that open source community.
It once would have seemed similarly unlikely too that Microsoft would run towards Linux with open arms - but today, Microsoft's Scott Guthrie announced that the company is joining the Linux Foundation as a platinum member.
Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, said today that "Microsoft and the Linux Foundation may have had our disagreements in the past, but one thing we've always agreed on is that developers are super-important." In joining the Foundation, he said that Microsoft will become "better able to collaborate with the open source community to deliver transformative mobile and cloud experiences to more people".
"To the skeptics out there," he added, "what I want to say is a) we'd like to welcome Microsoft to the Linux Foundation, but b) as the largest employer of software developers in the world, and working on all these projects in open source, Microsoft's already there."
And it looks like this relationship is built to last. Zemlin concluded: "My final thought to you would be: if Microsoft loves Linux, on behalf of the over 800 members of the Linux Foundation... we love you too."