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Linux and Cloud Computing: Can Pigs Fly? Linux now Dominates Microsoft Azure Servers

By Dick Weisinger

“Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches. The way the license is written, if you use any open-source software, you have to make the rest of your software open source,” said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in June 2001.

Over the last five years things have changed dramatically at Microsoft. Microsoft has embraced Linux. Earlier in the year, Sasha Levin, Microsoft Linux kernel developer, said that now more than half of the servers in Microsoft Azure are running Linux.

Mark Russinovich, Microsoft Azure CTO, said that “Three and a half years ago one in four [Azure] instances are Linux.” That jumped to 40 percent in 2017 and about 50 percent in late 2018. Now there are more Linux servers on Azure than Windows servers.

Microsoft even has their own version of Linux now. In April this year, Microsoft President Brad Smith said, “After 43 years, this is the first day that we are announcing, and will distribute, a custom Linux kernel.” It’s called Azure Sphere.

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