Microsoft Made Many Shocking Linux & Open-Source Announcements This Year

Written by Michael Larabel in Microsoft on 19 December 2015 at 10:00 AM EST. 36 Comments
Microsoft in 2015 made many surprising open-source and Linux related announcements. By far 2015 has been the most surprising year watching Microsoft from the Linux space.

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.

- Related on the browser front, Microsoft announced earlier this month they will be open-sourcing their JavaScript Engine named Chakra.

- 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.
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Michael Larabel

Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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