Open source software — software that’s freely shared with the world at large — is in many ways a threat to Microsoft. After all, the company makes its money selling proprietary software tools to the masses. But Microsoft realized years ago that open source tools had become so popular and so influential, it couldn’t thrive in the modern world unless it embraced the open source community — at least in part.
The question is how successful this mission will be. In recent months, Microsoft has made some enormous strides in this area, letting developers run the open source Linux operating system atop its Azure cloud service and working to build a new version of the open source Hadoop number-crunching system that runs on its own Windows operating system. But do businesses and developers really want to run Linux on Azure or Hadoop on Windows? Do these two worlds really mix?