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Linus Torvalds isn’t concerned about Microsoft hijacking Linux

Linus Torvalds isn't concerned about Microsoft hijacking Linux

Torvalds says Microsoft is ‘much friendlier’ nowadays

OPEN-SOURCE DON Linus Torvalds has dismissed “anti-Microsoft stuff” and says he isn’t worried about the company hijacking Linux.

In a recent interview with ZDNet’s Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, Torvalds talked in detail about Microsoft’s Linux love-in, and why he doesn’t believe the company could ever “embrace, extend and extinguish” Linux, as it has done with other technologies in the past. 

In the past four years, Microsoft has surprised many members of the open-source community by introducing things like native OpenSSH in Windows 10 and including SUSE Linux, Ubuntu, and Fedora in the Windows Store. 

The company went further in May this year by releasing a new Windows 10 Insider Preview build featuring the Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 (WSL2), which includes a real Linux kernel, enabling users to run more Linux software on Windows.

While Torvalds and several other Linux kernel developers believe that Microsoft may have a desire to control Linux, they also assert that the software giant is not in a position to control Linux because of the very nature of the operating system, the way it has been developed, and its GPL2 open-source licensing.

“The whole anti-Microsoft thing was sometimes funny as a joke, but not really. Today, they’re actually much friendlier. I talk to Microsoft engineers at various conferences, and I feel like, yes, they have changed, and the engineers are happy,” Torvalds told ZDNet.

“And they’re like really happy working on Linux. So I completely dismissed all the anti-Microsoft stuff.”

According to Torvalds, all the various companies showing an interest in Linux and throwing their resources into developing it have their own objectives, with their ultimate goal being to profit in some way from Linux.

Microsoft is inclined towards Linux because of Azure, Torvalds believes, as over 50 per cent of the company’s Azure workloads are now Linux. With the company expecting Azure to be a bigger business than Windows, it now has a strong interest in making it work better, rather than competing directly against it. 

Microsoft also has its own Linux distribution now, like Amazon with AWS and Oracle with Oracle Linux. 

Last month, the company also urged Linux developers to give their feedback to help with “some assumptions” before it brings its Edge browser to Linux.

Nevertheless, the lingering suspicion or fear among many open-source developers remains that Microsoft is intent on hijacking Linux. In fact, it is the other way around, argues Torvalds. Linux is now the driving force for almost all technology companies – and that includes Microsoft. µ

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