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Computerworld: Once a fierce opponent of the open source movement, Microsoft has recently begun embracing open source, and Thursday it began offering customers the option of running Linux on its Windows Azure cloud computing platform. Currently, Azure supports Suse Linux Enterprise Server 11 SP2, OpenSuse 12.01, CentOS 6.2 and Canonical Ubuntu 12.04.
The move will allow Microsoft to compete more directly with Amazon Web Services, which supports Canonical Ubuntu and Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Observers say that Microsoft had to offer Linux if it wanted to be a serious cloud computing competitor. "We do find it to be a watershed moment, especially considering the past, but it's not surprising," said The Linux Foundation's Amanda McPherson. "Cloud computing has mostly been a Linux and open-source affair. Microsoft is a smart company and will do what they need to do to be a player in cloud, and in this case it means doing something that was anathema in its past: agreeing that another operating system is needed in order to be technically relevant. I'm sure many Redmond inhabitants aren't too happy about this, but it's good for users."