Over the last several years, more or less every time someone mentioned the “Microsoft loves Linux” marketing message, I would say, “If Microsoft actually loved Linux, they wouldn’t have kept trying to enforce exFAT patents against Linux.”

It is hard to praise them for waiting this long to take this step, which still only states an intent to resolve the patent threat at some unspecified future time. I wonder whether they are merely making a virtue of necessity discovered in the context of some particular technical requirement for the next generation of Windows Subsystem for Linux. Alternatively, perhaps they realized that exFAT implementations existing in Microsoft-owned GitHub and being distributed from GitHub meant that patent exhaustion was going to apply anyway, so again they might as well try to get some goodwill, turning a patent lemon into patent lemonade.

They don’t have to wait to resolve the patent threat. Saying that someday in the undefined future, they will rescind their threat to sue anyone who implements exFAT in Linux, and claiming that as an implementation of loving Linux, is a little bit demeaning.

I do understand that Microsoft did eventually reach the conclusion that they could contribute to open source, but the very fact that this didn’t happen long ago, during the beginning of the “Microsoft loves Linux” campaign, illustrates the uneven execution of change, and leaves me with an impression that every open source step they are taking is done continues to be an exception to corporate policy.

I’m not a microsoft “hater” and I didn’t abandon GitHub when Microsoft bought them (though I also like and use GitLab), but I continue to maintain what I think is a healthy skepticism about their current marketing position regarding open source,