Windows Might Go Open Source

Apr 07, 2015

Azure CTO says Redmond has already considered the unthinkable.

According to a report in Ars Technica and other sources, Microsoft technical fellow and Azure CTO Mark Russinovich told an audience at the ChefConf conference in Santa Clara, California, it is “definitely possible” that Redmond could open source Windows someday. The question comes on the heel of recent announcements about Microsoft open-sourcing the code for various components of the .NET infrastructure. Russinovich adds it is a “new Microsoft,” but also admits the complexity of the Windows codebase might not lend itself to open development in the way it is done with Linux and BSD.

A Microsoft technical fellow announcing the possibility of an open source Windows is really quite astonishing, considering Microsoft’s stormy history with the open source movement. Still, one thing is certain: Microsoft is in business to make money, and they wouldn’t take such a step unless they had a clear idea of how they would benefit. The financial benefits of giving away a product that is currently providing billions of dollars in revenue are currently unclear, so don’t count on Windows turning up at GitHub anytime soon.

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