20 years since the Halloween Documents

Let’s go back 20 years ago, in 1998, the year the first “Halloween Documents” were leaked. 

The Halloween documents comprise a series of confidential Microsoft memoranda on potential strategies relating to free software, open-source software, and to Linux in particular, and a series of media responses to these memoranda. Both the leaked documents and the responses were published by Eric S. Raymond in 1998.

— https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halloween_documents

Back then, Microsoft, the most powerful software company in the world at the time, was going full blast against this weird, bazaar-type, non-commercial movement of Open Source Software and more specifically, Linux. The most powerful software company in the world against the this diverse and unorganised bunch of hobbyists, enthusiasts, “local linux users groups” and the few small companies that tried to promote Linux and Open Source as a software stack worth considering and a viable business model.

The outcome?

Fast forward 20 years.

At a small press event in San Francisco, Microsoft today announced the launch of a secure end-to-end IoT product that focuses on microcontroller-based devices […]
Now, you probably assume that these devices will run Windows, but you’re wrong. For the first time ever, Microsoft is launching a custom Linux kernel and distribution: the Azure Sphere OS. It’s an update to the kind of real-time operating systems that today’s MCUs often use.

— https://techcrunch.com/2018/04/16/microsoft-built-its-own-custom-linux-kernel-for-its-new-iot-service/

Of course, Linux and Open Source won the battle long time ago. But the Microsoft Linux announcement is kind of iconic in this context 🙂

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