Microsoft to Distribute Own Version of Linux for the First Time

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Microsoft is set to distribute their own version of Linux for the first time since their launch over four decades ago.

The news comes via their announcement for a new bit of technology called the Azure Sphere, a new method of securing the processors that power smart devices, toys, and other peripherals. This system is powered by the company’s own custom version of Linux – the very open source OS the company has been competing against with their own Windows OS.

“After 43 years, this is the first day that we are announcing, and will be distributing, a custom Linux kernel,” Microsoft President Brad Smith said in an event that took place in San Francisco.

This new system is meant to provide a multi-faceted approach to securing all the new interconnected devices that all come with a microprocessor of some kind – following the discovery that long-used industry hardware standards have left massive security flaws in the majority of modern microprocessors.

Microsoft has developed a more powerful kind of microprocessor, which they’ll somehow make available free to chip manufacturers. This chip will run in tandem with their Azure Sphere OS, the Linux-based OS that will run on the chips themselves.

Smith noted that while Microsoft is still definitely a “Windows company,” a full version of Windows proved too big for their plans. The chip and custom Linux OS combo will tie into the Azure Sphere cloud security tenet, to which the company will keep the devices up to date with security fixes for 10 or more years.

Smith noted that the first Azure Sphere-powered hardware will hit markets later this year, and further details will come later.

Editor’s Note: Featured image is of Linux Gnome, and not meant to be representative of what Microsoft’s Linux OS will look like.

Brandon Orselli

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