Christopher Scott’s official title at Microsoft is “Senior Premier Field Engineer (Open Source)”, but I’m not here to discuss his day job. His personal passion project is advocating for many of Microsoft’s proprietary business and consumer apps to gain Linux support. In fact, he was instrumental in Microsoft’s recent decision to develop a native Teams client for Linux, and it sounds like he’s just getting warmed up.
“At Microsoft, we have many statements like ‘Microsoft ❤️ Linux’ and ‘Microsoft ❤️ Open Source’, but the one that resonates with me most right now is ‘Microsoft runs on trust,’” Scott tells me.
Without a doubt, the words “Embrace, Extend, Extinguish” are permanently etched into the memories of open source and Linux enthusiasts, who view Microsoft with a heaping helping of distrust and cast a doubtful eye anytime Microsoft makes a move (such as opening up exFAT technology for inclusion in the Linux kernel).
Scott acknowledges this, and is actively trying to heal it.
“I get it, there’s decades of choices made that were very much anti-Linux/OSS,” Scott says. “I have made it my personal mission, as much as is possible, to understand why there’s a lack of trust and do something about fixing that. I trust Microsoft. I wouldn’t work here if I didn’t. I want others to see that and I want Microsoft to uphold and prove this. I don’t know if I will succeed, but I’m persistent.”
An example of that persistence:
“While I can’t say that Teams on Linux is all my doing (because it wasn’t), I can say that I pushed for this for over a year because I wanted this part of the community to be supported (and partly because I was told it would never happen).”
Scott’s primary tool is UserVoice. It may have taken three years to move the needle on a Linux client via the Microsoft Teams UserVoice page, but the process worked.
Now Scott has his sights set on OneDrive via this UserVoice page that was started in May 2019, and he’s campaigning to increase its visibility.
Scott tells me that although there’s no magic number of upvotes for Microsoft to begin actively considering it, 2000 is a good starting point. At time of publication, it’s sitting at around 230. (For reference, the Microsoft Teams on Linux UserVoice page has nearly 10,000 upvotes.)
If you – or especially your company – is interested in native OneDrive support for Linux, you can cast your vote and share your thoughts right here.
Scott is also championing for Visual Studio on Linux, and you can find that thread here.
It’s easy to write off these opportunities as impossible, but we’ve seen community voices make an impact.
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