Among the announcements this year that come to mind that have an impact on open-source / Linux users include:
- Microsoft will support VP9, Google's royalty-free video codec, within the Edge web-browser.
- Microsoft will finally support OpenSSH via PowerShell. As part of bringing up good Windows OpenSSH support, Microsoft donated to OpenBSD. Early OpenSSH Windows code is already available.
- A huge feat has been Microsoft open-sourcing parts of .NET and seeing it brought over to Linux and BSD.
- MS Build Engine was also open-sourced.
- Microsoft's Azure Cloud Switch is technically the company's first Linux distribution. Azure Cloud Switch is run within their data-centers for software defined networking (SDN).
- As part of their Azure focus, Microsoft continues working on Hyper-V for Linux.
- Linux targeting support is available from Visual Studio 2015, albeit there isn't any support for running VS2015 on Linux systems.
- While Visual Studio 2015 didn't get ported as a Linux client, Visual Studio Code IDE was released for Linux as a simpler, web-focused integrated development environment.
- Last month, Microsoft then open-sourced Visual Studio Code.
- Microsoft has been looking a lot at the Clang compiler. They have carried out Clang improvements, open-sourced the Microsoft Debug Engine, etc.
- Related to the Clang work, Microsoft started working on an LLVM-based .NET compiler dubbed LLILC. They've been making a lot of progress on this new compiler over 2015.
- Office for Android was released for those wanting the basic features of Microsoft's office suite on a phone/tablet.
- With all of the open-sourcing that's been going on at the company, Microsoft started using GitHub rather than their pesky CodePlex.
- Additionally, Microsoft Open Technologies was moved back into Microsoft proper itself.
- Related to their newfound love for LLVM, engineers wired up Clang's parser to Microsoft's optimizers and code generators.
It's been a rather interesting year for Microsoft, whether you like the company or not. It will be interesting to see what 2016 holds for the Windows maker as it relates to Linux and open-source software.