Microsoft, who once saw the Linux kernel as cancer, has now become one of its biggest contributors and continues to dominate the Linux community. Because of this, some began to worry for the factor that Microsoft manages to fully control Linux. But at the Linux Plumbers 2019 conference, Linus Torvalds said no and that will never happen.
During the event, Linus Torvalds and several other Linux kernel programmers raised a question about whether Microsoft wants to control Linux, but they also added that they are not concerned. According to Linus Torvalds, the relationships are not what they used to be between Microsoft developers and Linux kernel developers.
“All this anti-Microsoft stuff was a funny joke at times, but not really. Today they are much friendlier. I speak with Microsoft engineers at various conferences, and I feel that yes, they have changed and that the engineers are happy. And they are really happy to work on Linux. So I completely rejected all the anti-Microsoft stuff, "said Torvalds.
The relationship between the Linux kernel community and Microsoft has not always been the best, because on several occasions, Microsoft would have blocked the project to prevent its evolution. In 2001, Steve Ballmer, the former CEO of the Redmond firm, had even said that the Linux kernel was like cancer.
"The way the license is written, if you use open source software, you have to make the rest of the software open source ... Linux is an intellectual property cancer that focuses on everything it touches," he said.
However, in recent years, Microsoft has been very involved in the community open source, mainly on the Linux kernel. This allowed him to offer other types of software to his customers and also to integrate, more recently, a Linux kernel to Windows known as WSL (Windows Subsystem for Linux). But for some, Microsoft's strategy is to extend Linux to finally control it.
Torvalds assures that the main objective of Microsoft with Linux is its Azure platform.
Today, according to some comments, Linux is mainly used in Microsoft's cloud service, Microsoft Azure Cloud.
In July, Sasha Levin, a Linux kernel developer working at Microsoft, in an application to join a private mailing list dedicated to Linux security and open source environments, noted that "using Linux in the cloud Microsoft's has exceeded Windows' even though it doesn't provide accurate numbers. The company also has Azure Sphere OS, a system whose core is based on Linux.
Does Microsoft have other ideas in mind or will it charge again to try to control Linux? To that, Torvalds responded that he does not think Microsoft is planning to do so.
"I do not think it's true. I mean, there will be tensions. But that's true for any company that comes with Linux; they have their own goals, "said Torvalds. And they want to do things their way because they have a reason for doing it. According to him, Microsoft's main target with Linux is its Azure platform.
"Microsoft tends to focus on Azure and do whatever it takes to make Linux work well for them," he added. For him, this behavior is completely normal, because it means that they are just starting from the community.
In recent years, Microsoft has invested heavily in the Linux community and he has even asked to join the "Linux distribution security contact list" to be informed of issues that are not yet public.
You have also chosen to rely on the Linux-based Android Linux operating system to return to the smartphone market, having abandoned in 2017 the death of its phone operating system, Windows 10 Mobile. Microsoft now seems to reserve Windows for PC only.
However, Torvalds and his associates are not concerned that Linux is controlled by Microsoft. It's the opposite. The Linux kernel is now present in every tech company in the world, including Microsoft. This only reinforces its potential.