Microsoft Releases a Linux-Based OS » Linux Magazine

Microsoft has announced a new project that is going to be powered by the venerable Linux kernel. At the RSA 2018 Conference, the company shed some light on Microsoft Azure Sphere, a new platform to help create secured, Internet-connected microcontroller (MCU) devices.

Microsoft Azure Sphere is an end-to-end-solution, all the way from Azure Cloud to actual chips found on the targeted IoT device. Microsoft Azure Sphere is comprised of three components: Azure Sphere certified microcontrollers (MCUs); Azure Sphere OS; and Azure Sphere Security Service.

Azure Sphere OS is a custom OS aimed at security and agility. “Unlike the RTOSes common to MCUs today, our defense-in-depth IoT OS offers multiple layers of security. It combines security innovations pioneered in Windows, a security monitor, and a custom Linux kernel to create a highly-secured software environment and a trustworthy platform for new IoT experiences,” wrote Galen Hunt, Partner Managing Director, Microsoft Azure Sphere.

Developers can use Microsoft Visual Studio Tools to write applications for Azure Sphere. These tools include application templates, development tools and the Azure Sphere software development kit (SDK).

Visual Studio is not exclusive anymore to Windows. Microsoft open sourced a version of Visual Studio called Visual Studio Code, which is available for Linux.

The news was not surprising, Microsoft Azure team is is extremely pro-Linux and open source. Not only does Linux run on more than 50% Azure machines, the company has been using Linux to build components of cloud such as Azure Cloud Switch (ACS) and SONiC. None of these are distributed as Linux distro, but it’s about to change with Azure Sphere OS, which is a Linux distribution.

Since Sphere OS will be running on devices that will be shipped, can we safely say that Microsoft has literally become a Linux vendor?


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