Microsoft .NET's Sudden Ubiquity

In a too-good-to-be-true turn of events for enterprises, Microsoft ports .NET development framework to Linux and Mac OS and open-sources the entire .NET stack.

The headlines read like the imaginative claims of an April Fool's story or a satirical sortie from the Onion: Microsoft open sources full .NET stack. Microsoft ports .NET to Linux and Mac OS. Microsoft boosts free tools versions to compete evenly with its paid editions. And yet, it's all true.

On Wednesday, Microsoft announced sweeping changes in its tools division that made the earlier advances this year look like minor events. Of the announcements, the most important by far is the commitment to put .NET on all major platforms. Microsoft itself will handle delivering .NET on Linux and Mac OS. It will depend on tighter cooperation with Xamarin to address the mobile sector.

Of these platforms, Linux is clearly the most important. Microsoft currently earns much of its record profits from enterprise software packages including SQL Server, SharePoint and Exchange. By running .NET on Linux, it now has the ability to run those apps on a significant majority of server platforms. Except for Solaris sites, all enterprises will be able to run the applications without having to add in the cost of Microsoft Server licenses.

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