We know that quite recently, Microsoft has shown its willingness to work with its rival companies. They already reached out to Sony and Nintendo to share some of the exclusive Xbox content. More importantly, the hugely popular Xbox Game Pass is heading to Nintendo Switch shortly. According to a report published by VentureBeat Microsoft has done something similar with its biggest OS rival Linux. Microsoft has announced that it will be supporting the addition of the new exFAT file system to the Linux kernel.
Microsoft introduced the exFAT file system in 2006 exclusively for Windows and its subsidiaries. It is the most commonly used file system on SD cards and USB flash drives. It is the reason why one can hook up cameras, flash drives, or even phones with PCs. ExFAT is Microsoft proprietary file system, and it holds patents on many of its components and after products. However, Microsoft’s love for its competitors has made way for the file system to feature in Linus Kernel.
Historically speaking, this is not the first time Microsoft is sharing patented information with its rivals. A while back they made their .NET service open-source and took it to Mac and Linux systems. On top of it, Microsoft had also open-sourced its major service the Windows PowerShell to Linux back in 2016. Lastly, modern gaming on Linux is possible because of Microsoft’s Visual Studio Code that it brought over to Linux earlier this year.
Microsoft has been very vocal about their “philanthropic” services for its competitors. It could be a major marketing strategy, or it could just be the work of their pure hearts; we are not here judge. They have already shared more than 60,000 patents with the members of the Open Invention Internet (OIN).
One spokesperson from Microsoft told VentureBeat regarding their plan with the Linux kernel. He said, “Microsoft is supporting the addition the exFAT file system to the Linux kernel and the eventual inclusion of a Linux kernel with exFAT support in a future revision of the Open Invention Network’s Linux System Definition.”
He added, “We expect that members of the Linux community will be making a code submission for the inclusion of an interoperable and conformant version of the exFAT filesystem in the Linux kernel. Once accepted, the code will benefit from the defensive patent commitments of OIN’s 3040+ members and licensees.”
Lastly, it should be noted that Microsoft is not open sourcing the file system like it did with the .NET framework. It is only making sure that anyone who is working on Linux can use it as it will increase the portability of programs to Windows much easier.