Microsoft To Give Away Windows? Radical Future Makes Sense – Forbes
I like Microsoft under Satya Nadella. It is a company which both plays to its traditional strengths yet is also prepared to rip up the copy book to modernise. Yes his reign is still in its infancy but it has been a superb 16 months, and the biggest changes are clearly still to come… as one key Microsoft executive may just have revealed.
Speaking at hot annual developer confab Chef Conf, Mark Russinovich, CTO of Microsoft’s Azure Cloud platform, admitted the future of Windows could be as open source software.
“It’s definitely possible,” he said on a ChefCon panel hosted by Wired business editor Cade Metz. Following huge applause from the crowd Russinovich reiterated: “Like I said, it’s a new Microsoft.”
How seriously should this be taken? Russinovich explained that ‘the company is having every conversation that could be imagined about what to do with its software and services.’
While Russinovich refused to be drawn any further on the subject, he did point to the company’s recently open sourced .Net CoreCLR: “Microsoft didn’t have a long tradition in open source, and so this transformation is a lot of learning,” he explained, admitting open source builds require “rocket scientists” to get everything set up.
In some ways Russinovich is being modest. To date Microsoft has contributed more than 1,000 repositories worth of software to open source mecca Github. So what is the sensible answer to making Windows open source?
It’s very simple: What Complete Madness!
Why? The number one reason is security. Being a closed platform, holes in Windows take time to discover. In fact some of the biggest lie unspotted for years which can lead to panic when they are revealed.
With open source software Microsoft would be laying all Windows’ code open to scrutiny. Security holes, bugs and exploitable elements would be discovered faster than Microsoft would be able to patch them. It could ruin Windows as a viable platform.
And yet there’s also some brave logic here and it could be argued Microsoft has already begun laying the groundwork…
Next page: the timeline for an open source Windows…