Satya Nadella has proven himself to be forward-thinking and generating return on the investments that Microsoft has worked so hard on since he’s taken the position as CEO 16 months ago. His goals are for cloud-first and mobile-first strategies that Ballmer didn’t tread into. Unlike Ballmer, Nadella plans on putting Microsoft’s unique solutions within the reach of as many smartphone users as possible. At ChefConf 2015, Microsoft’s CTO of the Azure cloud platform, Mark Russinovich, expressed that an open-source Windows OS is possible-but what does that mean?!
Under Nadella, Microsoft has become internally open-source, which allows all employees to inspect and share each others’ code, in an effort to encourage collaboration, secure code development, and code reuse. He says that at Microsoft, “everyone knows what a developer does and what a product manager does, but those roles need an overhaul.” Microsoft has already released .NET Core as open source in an effort to encourage sharing of documentation, libraries, and bug fixes, which Russinovich endorses since it, “is an enabling technology that really can get people started on other Microsoft solutions.” Since then, Microsoft has expressed plans to release a fully-operational Windows 10 ROM for Android smartphone users to upload and enjoy along with free upgrades to Windows 10 for current Windows OS users on both desktop and mobile. While open sourcing the Windows OS won’t happen today-or even tomorrow, Russinovich explained that “the company is having every conversation that could be imagined about what to do with its software and services,” and while the changes Microsoft has made aren’t felt widely in the regular consumer community-yet, Russinovich knows that Microsoft’s developer and enterprise communities generate and create demand for open-source solutions, “that’s the reality we live in today.”
With an open source Windows OS, developers could tailor the Windows environment to meet the unique needs of clients and consumers-and essentially become a part of the Windows team by enhancing existing features while fixing bugs, maintaining security, and adding needed functionalities. Windows has already created over 1,000 GitHub repositories for their open source software. On the other hand, Windows OS’ existing vulnerabilities need to be addressed and patched prior to going open source in order to protect all of its users from malicious developers who could exploit them. Windows could prioritize a safe, secure, repository for their OS that is similar to their existing internal open source environment to protect against malicious developers who could commit viral code to their software branches.
The time of paid allowance for use of closed-source software seems to be coming to a close, with the ever-popular Google and Android running on mobile devices and Linux powering large data centers. The end result of open source is freedom of choice for everyone and the ability to enjoy powerful, rich applications that can finally take full advantage of the resources on their desktops and mobile devices. Imagine that developers would be able to modify Windows’ OS, enterprises and consumers would be able to utilize the customized versions to serve whatever needs they require. Ayoka is a .NET software development company that also offers consulting services for a wide range of web, enterprise, and mobile software applications.