Microsoft says that open sourcing Windows is "definitely possible"

Microsoft has changed a great deal over the years - from launching its own devices to its new cross-platform strategy of making its software as widely available as possible. But if you were in any doubt of the company's changing attitudes, consider the comments made by its Technical Fellow, Mark Russinovich.

In an interview published today by WIRED, Russinovich said that open sourcing its Windows operating system is "definitely possible". Indeed, he added that Microsoft has already discussed and considered the possibility: "Every conversation you can imagine about what [we] should do with our software - open versus non-open versus services - has happened."

The chances of this actually happening any time soon, if at all, are somewhat small - and not just because of the considerable loss of revenue that would hit Microsoft by making the Windows code base openly available, free of charge. As Russinovich pointed out, there's also the issue of complexity to consider.

"If you open source something," he said, "but it comes with a build system that takes rocket scientists and three months to set up, what's the point?"

But the company has already open sourced some of its software - including its .NET development tools in recent months. The motivation behind that decision was the hope that it would stimulate greater interest in its other tools and products.

Russinovich explained that .NET is "an enabling technology that can get people started on other Microsoft solutions. It lifts them up and makes them available for our other offerings, where otherwise they might not be. If [people are] using Linux technologies that we can't play with, they can't be a customer of ours."

The same thinking could potentially apply to Windows, at least in some part, if Microsoft eventually decides that open sourcing its OS is the right way to go. If you're expecting that to happen any time soon, don't hold your breath - but the fact that the company has seriously considered it as a possibility is certainly remarkable.

As Russinovich himself says, "it's a new Microsoft."

Source: WIRED

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