Microsoft's former open source VP Wim Coekaerts

Equal Footing

Article from Issue 197/2017

Former Microsoft open source VP Wim Coekaerts.

Microsoft has changed its ways since the old days, when the company gained a reputation for spreading what the FOSS community liked to call FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) about Linux. The new Microsoft has gradually released parts of the .NET platform to open source, and recently, CEO Satya Nadella stated that Microsoft "loves Linux." Some long-time FOSS watchers are skeptical, but the Linux Foundation recently showed their support by welcoming Microsoft as a Platinum-level member.

As part of that effort to upgrade their Linux position and improve their standing within the community, Microsoft hired Wim Coekaerts, who had helped jump-start the Linux effort at Oracle as the new Corporate Vice President of Enterprise Open Source. Coekaerts only stayed at Microsoft for eight months before he was lured back to Oracle, but according to Coekaerts, the decision to leave was strictly personal. He is quoted as saying "… from my short time [at Microsoft], I saw a company that really does love Linux and has a bright future in open source."

We caught up with Coekaerts at LinuxCon North America in Toronto (while he was still with Microsoft) and asked him about the company's changing attitude toward Linux.


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