Microsoft has announced it is joining the OpenChain Project in another move that furthers the company’s embracing of the open source community. In a post this week, Microsoft says it is joining the OpenChain Project goal to standardize open source licensing.
In recent years, Microsoft has made a concerted push towards open source. Whether through open-sourcing its own solutions or supporting the community, to splashing $7.5 billion on purchasing GitHub.
For those who have followed Microsoft long enough, the shift has been startling, surprising, and frankly awesome. Let’s not forget this was a company that largely shunned open source and sometimes outright lambasted the concept.
Joining OpenChain is just another step in the ladder. As a member, Microsoft is joining other tech giants such as Facebook and Google.
“Trust is key to open source, and compliance with open source licenses is an important part of building that trust. By joining the OpenChain Project, we look forward to working alongside the community to define compliance standards that help build confidence in the open source ecosystem and supply chain,” stated Microsoft’s Assistant General Counsel David Rudin.
OpenChain Project is a Linux Foundation initiative that wants to standardize open source licensing. There are currently numerous license avenues for open source projects, but the foundation believes a universal license will be more efficient.
For example, large organizations with several open source technologies could declutter their licensing with a single solution.
Microsoft in the Open
Last December, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella discussed how open source has provided a foundation for the company’s resurgence. The acquisition of GitHub encapsulated Microsoft’s new love of open source:
Perhaps that new support of open source has been best exemplified by the $7.5 billion purchase of GitHub this year. In an interview with Forbes, Nadella pointed out that the acquisition was two years in the making. When closing the monster $27 billion acquisition of LinkedIn in 2016, Nadella asked an adviser if he could make a move for GitHub, a company he wanted under Microsoft’s wing.
“Can we do it?” Nadella asked the executive. “Have we earned the trust?” He says the answer was a firm no. Microsoft was making its way into the good graces of the open source community, but a history of trying to close down open source solutions like Linux would not be forgotten easily. GitHub perhaps encapsulates what the open source community is and can be, Nadella would have to wait.