Microsoft has extended BSD support in Azure.
The company added a FreeBSD 10.3 VM to the Azure marketplace last year, after building and testing an image so that users could feel confident the OS would be officially welcomed and run well in the Redmondian cloud.
Now it's added support for OpenBSD 6.1 after collaborating with firewall vendor Esdenera, which bases its product on the OS. The Esdenera Firewall has also landed in the Azure Marketplace. There's no suggestion Microsoft's been hands-on with OpenBSD 6.1 in the same way it was with FreeBSD.
Microsoft's also added a FreeBSD version 11.0 VM to the marketplace.
Microsoft is not saying why it's made these moves, but its announcement points out that OpenBSD “is thought of as the most secure UNIX-like operating system by many security professionals” and offers a good Unix-like experience that Azure users will appreciate.
The upgrade to FreeBSD is easier to explain: version 11.0 was released in October 2016, so Microsoft is bringing itself up to date. The pfSense Firewall/VPN/Router, which runs on FreeBSD, has also made its way into the marketplace. One more thing: it may not hurt that OpenBSD runs on ARM, given Microsoft's intention to use that architecture in Azure.
Whatever Redmond's motives, these announcements are yet another sign that Satya Nadella's Microsoft is very different to the Microsoft of his predecessors, when open source was considered a threat to the business and its users kept at arm's length. These days Microsoft rolls out the red carpet to anything developers like if it thinks it can drive cloudy subscription revenue. ®
Bootnote: Each release of OpenBSD gets its own song and work of art. They're listed here.