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Microsoft admits it was wrong about open-source

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Microsoft has admitted its origincal scepticism about open-source software was misplaced and it was wrong to fight against the movement.

During a recent MIT event, the Register reports, the Microsoft President Brad Smith confirmed a trend many have observed over the past few years: a complete U-turn in Microsoft’s sentiment towards open-source.

“Microsoft was on the wrong side of history when open source exploded at the beginning of the century, and I can say that about me personally,” Smith said.

“The good news is that, if life is long enough, you can learn…that you need to change,” he added.

Historically, Microsoft has not hidden its resentment towards open-source software. It battled Linux for years and, almost two decades ago, its former CEO Steve Ballmer called it “a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches”.

Smith, who is a Microsoft veteran with 25 years at the company, was part of the legal team that battled against open-source software.

Fast-forward to today and the picture is quite different, with Microsoft now the number one contributor to open-source projects. The firm has open-sourced PowerShell, Visual Studio Code and the original JavaScript engine and, together with Canonical, worked to bring Ubuntu to Windows 10.

An upcoming Windows 10 update will also come with a full Linux kernel and Microsoft's Edge browser is now based on Chromium, further emphasising the change of heart.