Microsoft Employee Hints at Windows Core OS Open Source Components

LinkedIn is advertised as a place where people can share their work experience, find jobs, and mingle with their peers. It's also a roundabout way for people to leak information about what they're working on, as demonstrated by a recent Microsoft employee profile that mentions "open source components" in Windows Core OS.

The profile in question is for a Security Program Manager tasked with managing "the Security of Windows Core OS from malicious actors and code." Considering that Windows Core OS hasn't been announced yet, describing work on it for LinkedIn seems kinda like saying you're the "Alien Resources Director at Area 51," right?

Anyway. The same Security Program Manager then said that he "improved the security posture of Windows Open Source Components through initiatives that investigate vulnerabilities found and establish a process for remediation.” Connect the dots between the two, and you have reason to suspect Windows Core OS will rely on some open source components. Which brings us here.

Rumors about Windows Core OS have circulated since 2017. It's essentially believed to be the core (see that?) of modular versions of Windows customized for various devices. Microsoft tried something similar with Windows 10–remember Windows 10 Mobile?—but Windows Core OS seems to be purpose-built for crossing platforms.

Reports have claimed that Windows Core OS provides the foundation for Polaris, the code name for the next desktop version of Windows, and a mobile operating system called Andromeda. It will probably also be used for upcoming Xbox consoles, virtual reality devices, and pretty much anything else Microsoft's working on. The hodgepodge of operating systems built on top of versions of Windows that weren't meant to be used that way could disappear.

Back to the matter at hand: TechRadar noted that incorporating open source tools in Windows Core OS is a bit of a departure for Microsoft. The company uses open source tools now, but it wasn't exactly fond of the concept. Then one thing led to another so Microsoft acquired one of the largest proponents of open source software, GitHub, and vowed to maintain the platform's commitment to openness.

Now it seems open source tech will be part of the foundation Microsoft's building to help Windows stay relevant in a time when PCs are part of a much larger ecosystem. And at least one person is so committed to being open that he openly discussed an ostensibly secret project on a professional networking platform that Microsoft owns. We've come a long way since the whole "we're going to establish a monopoly over computing" phase of the '90s, huh?