Microsoft’s use of open source continues to be a one-way street to drive business Redmond’s way.
Microsoft this week continues it’s quest to become respected as an open source player.
I have a colleague who takes exception whenever I use the phrase “open source player” because he thinks we need to stress the concept that open source is a community endeavor. Those who participate in the process, he says, should be encouraged to see themselves as “citizens,” whose work is for the greater good.
I wholeheartedly agree. However, there are entities like Microsoft whose open source endeavors are based solely on greed and who don’t deserve to wear the mantle of open source citizenship. They’re players, pure and simple. Microsoft only “loves” Linux because it has figured out a way to sell it. Maybe one day…but not today.
The first shot in the latest barrage of open source love from Redmond came on Monday when Scott Guthrie, the executive vice president of the company’s cloud and enterprise group, posted a blog announcing the upcoming release of SQL Server for Linux.
SQL Server is a Microsoft product used by enterprise customers to manage databases. It is proprietary software, and it’s not cheap. A quick Google shows one MS reseller offering the Standard edition for small businesses with less than 30 users for over $800, with separate client access licenses required for each user. Move up to the Enterprise edition and the cost goes up to over $13,000. I point this out because…well, because it illustrates exactly why Microsoft loves Linux so.
Some Linux big shots like SQL Server as well, and are welcoming both this port, along with the new Microsoft which now embraces open source.
“We are delighted to be working with Microsoft as it brings SQL Server to Linux,” Canonical’s Mark Shuttleworth says. “Customers are already taking advantage of Azure Data Lake services on Ubuntu, and now developers will be able to build modern applications that utilize SQL Server’s enterprise capabilities.”
Canonical, of course, is currently partnering with Microsoft on a number of projects. As is Red Hat, with RHEL getting Microsoft’s top recommendation from Azure. Red Hat’s Paul Cormier, the company’s president of products and technologies, is also singing the praises of SQL Server being brought to Linux.
“SQL Server’s proven enterprise experience and capabilities offer a valuable asset to enterprise Linux customers around the world,” he says. “We believe our customers will welcome this news and are happy to see Microsoft further increasing its investment in Linux. As we build upon our deep hybrid cloud partnership, spanning not only Linux, but also middleware, and PaaS, we’re excited to now extend that collaboration to SQL Server on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, bringing enterprise customers increased database choice.”
The Linux version of Microsoft SQL Server is scheduled to be delivered by the middle of next year, and will be used on stand alone servers running Ubuntu, Red Hat or any other distro. But Microsoft is mostly hoping for it to attract customers to its Azure cloud, where it’s already making a sizable fortune, mostly by selling the Linux it loves.
The open source lovefest continued Tuesday when Microsoft announced it had joined the Eclipse Foundation as a middle tier “Solutions” member, after years of resisting efforts to get it on board. As you might expect given the company’s recent history, it’s bringing a bagful of goodies to the table, such as open sourcing the Team Explorer Everywhere plugin for Eclipse as well as adding Azure IoT support to Eclipse’s Kura IoT framework.
Eclipse is welcoming Microsoft to the fold with open arms and is painting the company as a genuine open source player. This isn’t surprising, given that Mike Milinkovich, the foundation’s executive director, spent time as a vice president at Oracle, another company with questionable open source credibility.
“For Microsoft, this is another indication that they are embracing open source and the open source community,” Milinkovich said. “For Eclipse it is a further validation of the new cloud-based tooling platforms our community is building.”
If a Linux port of SQL Server and the joining forces with Eclipse wasn’t enough, on Wednesday we learned that Microsoft has released another open source operating system, called SONiC or Software for Open Networking in the Cloud. This one is based on Debian and like Redmond’s other Linux OS, ACS or Azure Cloud Switch, it’s designed to make the managing of hardware vendor agnostic by use of SAI, an API Microsoft gave to the Open Compute Project last year. Microsoft has indicated that it intends to give the new operating system to Open Compute as well.
In the end, however, none of this is new, and in fact harkens back to the days before Redmond fell in love with Tux. All of these efforts are entirely aimed at channeling business Microsoft’s way. It’s a one-way street. Redmond is only making it easy for open source developers to work and play well with the Microsoft universe.