Red Hat welcomes Microsoft's move into open source

Open sign

Microsoft's decision to throw its weight behind the open source software movement has been welcomed by industry stalwart Red Hat.

The proprietary software giant launched Microsoft Open Technologies (MOT), a wholly-owned subsidiary that will focus on the development of open source technologies, at the end of last week.

Microsoft's Interoperability Strategy team will form part of this new subsidiary, which will be presided over by long-standing Microsoft exec, Jean Paoli.

Making a dramatic commitment to open source is not trivial. It is a radical shift

Paoli had previously been the general manager of Microsoft's Interoperability Strategy team.

In a blog post, announcing the move, Paoli said MOT will support the interaction between Microsoft's proprietary businesses and the open source community.

"[MOT] is further demonstration of Microsoft's long-term commitment to interoperability, greater openness, and to working with open source communities," wrote Paoli.

"Thousands of open standards are supported by Microsoft and many open source environments run on our platform...[and] the subsidiary provides a new way of engaging in a more clearly defined manner."

Open source giant Red Hat responded to Microsoft's plans today in another blog post, claiming end users stand to benefit most from its rival's move.

"Our hope is that this formal announcement signals the commitment of Microsoft to engage with open source communities in a way that will ultimately provide choice in the marketplace,"said Red Hat.

The vendor said open source is now a "foundational element" in the development and deployment of many technologies, including cloud computing.

"Making a dramatic commitment to open source and open standards is not trivial. Making a true commitment to being open becomes part of a culture and is a radical shift," said the firm.

"We believe in open source and extend a hand as an old hand in this movement to support those with similar dedication," the blog post concluded.

Speaking to IT Pro, Simon Phipps, a director at the Open Source Initiative, said he was not surprised by the launch of MOT.

"Microsoft has been losing ground to open source products in several areas for many years. You only have to look at the stronghold LibreOffice has developed in Europe, particularly amongst government departments, for proof of that," said Phipps.

"It is an evolutionary move, on Microsoft's part, because they have to adapt to the way the market is going."

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.