That is the highest level of membership and costs $500,000 on a yearly basis. John Gossman, one of the architects of the Microsoft Azure team, will join the foundation's Board of Directors and help underwrite projects.
The announcement came as a bit of a shock due to Microsoft's long history of distaste for Linux. However, this is a definitive proof that Microsoft has fully opened its doors to open-source technology.
The Linux Foundation is a nonprofit technology group whose aim is to advance open technology development and commercial adoption. The group's focus is not set solely on Linux as it also provides the necessary tools, training, and events to scale any open-source project.
The following video from IBM gives some insight what membership in the Linux Foundation means for them.
With that regard, it makes sense that Microsoft has joined the group. It already contributes to a number of ongoing projects such Node.js Foundation, Open API Initiative and others.
Specifically, Microsoft has been a huge contributor to Linux over the period of several years. It has primarily focused on improving support for Azure, it's cloud program, as well as other platforms.
Jim Zemlin, The Linux Foundation executive director, said that Microsoft has stepped up its commitment to open source.
“Linux Foundation membership underscores what Microsoft has demonstrated time and again, which is that the company is evolving and maturing with the technology industry. Membership is an important step for Microsoft, but it's perhaps bigger news for the open source community, which will benefit from the company's sustained contributions.”
The many benefits of joining
Apart from the obvious and quick PR benefit, Microsoft has a lot to gain in the long-term. The company will have an active role in internal decisions of the group. Also, this provides a chance to closely collaborate with the open-source community on improving cloud and mobile technology.
With Microsoft, The Linux Foundation now has eleven Platinum members. These are Cisco, Fujitsu, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, Huawei, IBM, Intel, NEC, Oracle, Qualcomm, and Samsung, some of whom Microsoft is already involved in different capacities.
Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of Microsoft's Cloud and Enterprise Group, issued a statement regarding the announcement:
“As a cloud platform company, we aim to help developers achieve more using the platforms and languages they know. The Linux Foundation is home not only to Linux, but many of the community's most innovative open-source projects. We are excited to join The Linux Foundation and partner with the community to help developers capitalize on the shift to intelligent cloud and mobile experiences.”
The Linux Foundation was founded in 2000. Essentially, it is the world's largest and most pervasive open source software project in history. It has 185 Corporate members divided into three groups based on their membership, as well as many Individual members.