How Microsoft aligned its tactic to empower the open source ecosystem?

Being away from the .NET development world (for about 6 years), I have been astonished with the great effort of Microsoft to support the open source ecosystem in the last years.

Here are 7 facts:

  • The .NET framework is totally being open source and Visual Studio (as an IDE) is offered freely for students and open source contributors
  • Any .NET application could run without problems on Windows, Linux and Mac OS thanks to cross-platform capability 
  • The .NET foundation aims to assemble passionate developers to contribute to related .NET projects
  • Visual Studio Code is being nowadays a powerful and appealing light editor for many developers. I really appreciate the schemes colors and the amazing Emmet code generation plugin for HTML/CSS pages.
Emmet in suggestion/auto-completion list
  • Many subprojects were developed by Microsoft to motivate open source contributors to stay under Windows such as WSL (Windows Subsystem for Linux: a kind of Linux under Windows without using virtual machine)
  • PowerShell  (the successor of the classic CMD command line terminal) supports some UNIX/Linux commands by default such as “ls”, “man”, “grep”, “pwd”, “clear”, etc.
  • And finally, GitHub (the biggest platform for repositories and open source projects) is acquired by Microsoft since 2018 !

So, Microsoft has evolved from the last century. In fact, in the middle of the 90s, Microsoft was an enclosed company and it was implied in the browsers war against Netscape (further details here and in this video).

Résultat de recherche d'images pour "microsoft netscape"

Since that, GNU, Linux, MozillaMono (an open source cross platform .NET framework which had some patent concerns with Microsoft too in 2009) and many other projects mobilized a community of IT and development enthusiasts.

Microsoft aligned its philosophy in the last 10 years as a main open source actor and it is a smart strategy for my opinion.

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