“This may come as a surprise to you, but they were not big fans,” Linux Foundation executive director Jim Zemlin told me in regards to his foundation’s history with Microsoft . The new Microsoft under CEO Satya Nadella, however, is singing a very different tune.
Despite all of that, today’s announcement will still come as a surprise to many, given that Microsoft and the Linux community often felt like they were at war with each other in the past. Zemlin acknowledged as much when I talked to him. “There will be some skepticism, but that will be from a smaller group,” he said. “There is an anti-establishment sentiment in open source. That’s natural.” He added that whenever a major corporation goes open source, that’s what happens. But he also noted that Microsoft has been “walking this talk for a very long time” now.
Other Linux Foundation Platinum members, which pay about $500,000 for the privilege, include Cisco, Fujitsu, HPE, Huawei, IBM, Intel, NEC, Oracle, Qualcomm and Samsung. Google, Facebook and more than a dozen other prominent open source users are Gold sponsors.
John Gossman, an architect on the Azure team, will join the Linux Foundation Board of Directors.