I’ve seen a few tweets around about Microsoft and the open-source journey, and they made me take a look back at the Microsoft account on GitHub to see whether there was something that I’d missed. Whether or not there are all new projects loading up onto GitHub, there is absolutely a lot going on in a lot of different repositories. This is great!
MS Open Tech Has Become Strong Inside Microsoft
The Microsoft Open Technologies website had called out the change before the middle of last year. The website notes that no new content would be posted as of July 1, 2015. That didn’t mark the end of open technologies. It actually marked the start of even more open projects within the core of Microsoft.
Mixing open and closed technologies is not new. Many of the companies who are becoming heavy contributors to open-source projects are still maintaining a strong presence in both open ecosystems and proprietary, closed ecosystems. Microsoft, VMware, EMC, and many of the big tech vendors are showing up more at open events, and on GitHub.
The next wave of open technologies may very well be powered by some closed-source giants. This is kind of like a renaissance.
Microsoft on GitHub
Take a look at the activity by the Microsoft GitHub organization to see what I mean. You can scroll from page to page and see the last updated times and dates. There are dozens upon dozens that have been updated in recent days, and even in recent hours, at the time that I wrote this. How cool is that?!
There are projects of all sorts that are there, and of course, there are recent updates such as PowerShell on Linux and other very exciting moves by Microsoft to embrace more open platforms. The open source .NET ecosystem will be the dawn of a new area of growth that Microsoft will enable for their existing customers, and for new ones that may have been holding back due to concerns of being locked into proprietary solutions.
Open Lock-In Is Still Real
One thing that can be confusing is that open means that non-proprietary. I use the term Open Lock-In to describe this. Open source does not equate to an open platform in the way that many tout the offerings. If you run an application using an open source technology, regardless of what it is, you are most likely a little locked in. That’s all good. How often do you honestly need to pick up and port your application from platform to platform?!
This is why I make sure to ask folks to do the measurement against the requirements of any of the platforms. Open source is a great way to embrace community-driven development that can be heavily backed by proprietary technology vendors. That’s really the perfect pairing because you know that the revenue streams are maintaining the core business while supporting open technologies at the same time. Remember: running an open-source platform and an open-source business are two very different things.
I’m holding out hope for some more OpenStack integration with Microsoft. That may be more of a personal playground than anything, but it’s also a good opportunity to have Microsoft latch onto the OpenStack ecosystem. Perhaps we will see a full set of OpenStack compatible APIs along with the launch of Azure Stack. We may see more work around running Nano Server as a containerized guest so that it can be leveraged for it’s strong points on any underlying infrastructure.
No matter how you look at it, Microsoft is clearly leaning heavily into open source in a lot of the right ways. There will come a day where we won’t even remember how it was, as the next generation of Microsoft servers, applications, and development technologies become easier to consume across the open-source ecosystem.