Microsoft under CEO Satya Nadella has changed a lot in recent years. The once dominant proprietary software maker is now increasingly tilting towards the open source community. Ever since the $7.5 billion acquisition of GitHub, Microsoft has taken several measures to woo the developer community such as open sourcing 60,000 patents and joining the Open Invention Network (OIN).
Microsoft is integrating full Linux kernel in Windows 10, after recently announcing its intent to join hands with rival Linux. In a new development, the company has now asked to join the restricted security list that lists closed security issues in Linux.
Microsoft is reportedly working on its own Linux distributions. Microsoft developer Sasha Levin has asked for Microsoft to be given access to the closed security list. Microsoft is also asking its developers to join this restricted security list. The list includes developers from FreeBSD, NetBSD, and other Linux distributions including Canonical, Debian, Red Hat, SUSE, and Cloud Linux vendors like Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Oracle.
The list is designed to report and discuss security issues that are not yet public. The maintainers of the list have been asked to keep the security issues private for not more than 14 days, after being revealed to the group.
Sasha Levin, Microsoft developer responsible for Microsoft Linux development said, “Microsoft has decades long history of addressing security issues via [the Microsoft Security Response Center] MSRC. While we are able to quickly (<1-2 hours) create a build to address disclosed security issues, we require extensive testing and validation before we make these builds public. Being members of this mailing list would provide us the additional time we need for extensive testing." A large portion of Microsoft cloud solution users are Linux users. In fact, the number of Linux users has surpassed Windows. As a product of that, MSRC has started receiving security reports regarding loopholes in the Linux code. Some of these issues are common for Windows and Linux. While some may still look at Microsoft as a Linux rival, the company is taking proactive efforts to be perceived as a full Linux development partner. Tyler Hicks, a Canonical Linux kernel engineer writes, "They've been beneficial to the greater Linux community and I feel like their direct involvement on linux-distros would benefit other members."