The times have really changed at Microsoft, Microsoft which formerly known for its Closed Software code, the giant of the software world has decided to stand on the side of free software.
As a part of standing on the open source side, the company made the Azure Service Fabric SDK available under open source. And also a review of a major strategic development in recent years as taken place in the company.
Microsoft has long been known for its refusal to open its software codes: closing to external contributors was even the trademark of the company. But a few years ago, the Redmond giant firm has taken the turn onto open source world,
In 2012 the company also created a dedicated subsidiary, Microsoft Open Technology, and has since made its way to open its technologies more and more to the Open Source World.
The arrival of Satya Nadella as CEO has accelerated this strategy, with a strong commitment alongside Linux and open source in general.
Many of the Company’s flagship projects have been turned into open source. Among the most prominent are the Visual Studio Code multi-platform code editor, the Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit and the two programming languages P, specialising in asynchronous systems, and F # in Functional programming. Microsoft has also entered into numerous agreements with free software advocates such as Docker, Red Hat or Hortonworks.
Microsoft has also entered into numerous agreements with free software advocates such as Docker, Red Hat or Hortonworks.
This evolution is so clear that in September 2016 GitHub in its annual report, placed Microsoft at the top of the ranking of its contributors. GitHub, with 6 million contributions, is the most active developer network in the world: and last year, it was the Redmond firm that had experienced the most improvement in its open source software by users Of this network.
But Microsoft has just taken a step further by publishing, a few days ago, the source code for a part of the Azure Fabric Service SDK, its cloud management platform. Azure Fabric Service is a middleware platform that creates, manages and deploys scalable and reliable microservices in the cloud.
An invitation to contribute to the improvement of Azure Fabric Service
Microsoft is offering all developers to submit contributions to improve the platform: these contributions will then be tested by Microsoft developers to verify their relevance. If validated by the parent company’s decision makers, these contributions will be taken into account in future versions of the SDK, and then published on GitHub.
This opening is nonetheless partial: the service environment of Service Fabric, in particular, will remain closed to the external contributions. This is easy to explain: Azur Service Fabric has been used internally by Microsoft for many years before it is released and remains the company’s unique cloud application management tool.
The platform is thus part of all the Microsoft creations in this field, and the firm argues that it is merely cautious in limiting access to the source code of this platform, in particular, to guard against possible piracy.
A partial opening, but not a limited open source project
So it does not seem that this initiative is a desire to make Azur Service Fabric a limited open source, but a choice to continue to develop some functional aspects internally, for security, before making them open when Microsoft Would consider it expedient.
For now, many fundamental aspects of the SDK have already been published: Reliable Services, Reliable Actors, Service Remoting and the integration of ASP.Net Core. This gives developers plenty of fun.
All of Microsoft’s communication around this publication, this awareness of the limits of this openness and the stated willingness to improve the transparency of its future evolutions, proves how radically the attitude of the firm of Redmond vis-à-vis free software has evolved. And this is great news for the future of software globally.