Microsoft Taps Former Linux-Bashing Team To Get Open Source Developers Excited About Azure Cloud

Kevin McLaughlin | CRN | May 27, 2014

Microsoft has changed the mission of an internal team that used to highlight shortcomings in open source software, and is now using it to recruit open source developers. Microsoft’s worldwide Commercial Software Initiative (CSI) team, which until recently was tasked with both collaborating and competing with open source software, now aims to get open source developers to see the advantages of running their apps on Azure, CSI Vice President Mark Hill told CRN in an interview on Tuesday.

"In the past, we were more heavily weighted to competing [with open source software]. Right now, it is overwhelmingly about collaborating and attracting the open source community," Hill told CRN. "With Azure, we've put a lot of effort recently into making sure all the frameworks and interfaces are coded so that people can 'lift and shift' open source apps and they can run on Azure."

This is a subtle yet important shift for CSI, which was formed during the heyday of Microsoft's controversial 'Get The Facts' campaign against Linux, which ran from 2002 to 2007. While CSI has kept a low profile in recent years, Microsoft has posted job listings that suggested the team is still fighting against open source...