Microsoft and Open Source: A confirmed direction (part 1)
An impression and some insights about the first Microsoft European Virtual Open Source Summit

I'm glad to kick-start this technology blog with a first post about a subject that is close to my heart and also to most of my team members. The subject is Open Source, a very popular concept among many IT professionals around the world, widely used in all industries with many participants, but still misunderstood today in some circles and feared by people who don't fully understand or don't know how to use it. Let's dive in to the actual subject of this topic.

Odoo • Image and Text

Before talking about the summit per say, let me give a little insight about how we got to participate at this summit.Well, beside being a co-founder for Black Velvet I'm also a consulting CTO for Effybiz Inc and founder of CCLMed SRL in Romania, Europe. If you like you can read more in the About us and Our Team sections, the point is that CCLMed was a Microsoft Bizspark start-up (a program for startup companies run by

Microsoft in the past to help eligible technology provider companies in their "infancy"). Thanks to this program, CCLMed continued to be a Microsoft partner and it's team members get invited to all events organized or promoted by Microsoft, even CCLMed's partner teams. You can find out more about our structure and partnerships in the About us section.
It is not a big novelty anymore that Microsoft is active in the Open Source community. It's been active for quite some time now either trough contribution of it's teams to existing projects or by developing new products that are open source. I will not get into this as numerous resources and articles are available throughout the internet, but the most important fact that can be noted from organizing this summit as well as the topics covered and the speakers invited is: Microsoft embraces the open source philosophy!
I know many of the readers will say "old news ...", "yes, yes we know" or even ".. an other article about Microsoft with it's open source paradigm ..", but wait, sit back for a moment and think at it's history from start till today. Can you really say that Microsoft was synonymous with open source ? My personal answer was and is NO. If you disagree with my statement please feel free to leave a comment .. with argumentation.
Not surprisingly, the summit was nicely organized with presentations  for a broad audience, including DevOps, engineers, developers, solution architects, system integrators or even enthusiasts (a full agenda can be viewed here). With 4 tracks and 30 sessions it was packed with information and insights from Microsoft employees as well as numerous partners.
A very interesting add-on was the Partner Lounge, a section where participants can interact directly with several well known players in the open source environment like Canonical, RedHat or GitHub, Suse just to name a few. It was a delight to chat with the partners, either on the public or private chats. Very friendly people and also very helpful. I, personally focused on Canonical's and FastTrack for Azure booths where I met a few very nice and helpful persons and the interactions didn't stop there, we set further meetings and calls even connecting on social media.
From the whole experience of the summit we can draw a few conclusions, starting with the change of Microsoft's approach towards open source. Here the most important aspect is that Microsoft, as a company philosophy, started recognizing the value and power of opensource. If two decades ago we couldn't even think about this "marriage" between open source and the tech giant (remember the first open file format introduced in 2007 by the then new office suite), now they even promote and talk highly about their partnership with long-time competitor RedHat. Even if you maybe say "well .. RHEL is commercial .." you are right but it's still open source and even has derivatives which are community supported and free, like CentOS and SL.
Even if you don't fully endorse RedHat as an opensource representative you can't say anything about Canonical. The founders of Ubuntu, in my opinion, are the quintessence of open source with Ubuntu being "one of the most popular distros for good reason" according to Techradar in 2020. Even if I'm biased a little (using ubuntu since in came out and all our servers use Ubuntu as well as most of our client installations have Ubuntu as server OS), you can not fail to notice the significance of Canonical being present as partner at a Microsoft summit. Not only that they were present but the CEO of Canonical is present in the main promotional video endorsing the "great work" between the two companies and for Azure and AWS Canonical has an exclusive product (hopefully they'll release it for others to in the future) called Ubuntu Pro that comes with many enhancements compared to the standard or even LTS versions of Ubuntu.
This "first ever European Microsoft Open Source Virtual Summit" comes with many implications and ramifications for the IT&C world and the fact that it's marked as "European", though it was a virtual summit, also has a subtle meaning, Europe being currently an extremely strict market when it comes to data security and privacy (think only of the GDPR).
We'll brake down this post in to a series of 3 parts, this being the first one and we'll come out with the other 2 parts next week. If you enjoyed the reading follow us here or on social media for the continuation and other interesting subjects.