Microsoft is continuing its 'embrace' of Linux by sponsoring by sponsoring the Open Source Initiative (OSI), an organisation that was founded almost 20 years ago when the company still officially regarded open source as a 'cancer'.
The non-profit organisation is best known for maintaining the Open Source Definition, which details the criteria for the distribution terms that open source software must comply with.
Microsoft, which became a member of the Linux Foundation in 2016, announced this week that it has joined the OSI in a bid to increase its role "in advocacy for the use, contribution, and release of open source software, both with our customers and the ecosystem at large."
The company has joined as a 'premium sponsor', which will see it providing funding to support initiatives dedicated to promoting and protecting open source software and the communities that develop it. Since Microsoft has an annual corporate revenue of greater than $250m it will be encouraged to donate at least $20,000 to the initiative.
Jeff McAffer, director of Microsoft's open source programs office, said: "The work that Open Source Initiative does is vital to the evolution and success of open source as a first-class element in the software industry.
"As Microsoft engages with open source communities more broadly and deeply, we are excited to support the Open Source Initiative's efforts."
The OSI notes that OSI said Microsoft has a long history of working with the organisation, most notably with the release of the Microsoft .NET Framework in 2014. It also points to other initiatives including Windows 10's support for Bash/Linux, Microsoft's expanded support for Linux and open source workloads on the Azure cloud and the open sourcing of Visual Studio Code.
Patrick Masson, OSI general manager and board director, commented: "This is a significant milestone for the OSI and the open source software movement more broadly."I don't think there could be any greater testament to the maturity, viability, interest, and success of open source software
"I don't think there could be any greater testament to the maturity, viability, interest, and success of open source software than not only Microsoft's recognition but also their support as a sponsor, as well as their participation as contributors to so many open source projects and communities."
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