Microsoft joins open-source foundation that is trying to simplify the software supply chain


Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. (GeekWire Photo / Nat Levy)

The OpenChain Project, which is attempting to bring a little more clarity to the turbulent world of modern open-source licensing, is the latest beneficiary of Microsoft’s open-source redemption tour.

Microsoft plans to announce Wednesday that it will join the group as a platinum member, adding its presence alongside other platinum members such as Google, Facebook, and Arm. Microsoft subsidiary GitHub is already a member of the group, which itself is part of The Linux Foundation and a sibling (cousin?) of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation.

Open-source software has transformed how enterprises build the technology needed to run their businesses, but licensing issues can sometimes freak out the lawyers. Legal teams inside companies that have embraced open-source projects as key parts of their computing infrastructure want some assurances that the projects used as key parts of their own software are in compliance with the licensing practices for those projects.

The OpenChain Foundation aims to standardize the way companies declare their open-source efforts compliant with licensing standards, which is extremely important in a day and age in which so much enterprise software is built on the back of open-source projects. At larger companies, ensuring compliance with those licenses can be a painstaking matter, and the OpenChain Project wants to share best practices for compliance across different member companies.

It’s yet another sign of Microsoft’s embrace of open-source software, which continues to blow the minds of people who stopped following enterprise tech news early in the current decade. Now that Microsoft is on board, one notable outlier is Amazon Web Services, which has garnered no small amount of criticism over its approach to open-source projects while also demonstrating very clearly over the last six months that it intends to be a participating member of the community.

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