Microsoft has been embracing Linux more and more in recent times but it’s fair to say many a user still view the company with trepidation. And this latest news adds a little fuel to that fire, as it seems a Microsoft repo has been added to Raspberry Pi OS with the latest update.
As reported by Hot Hardware, the latest update adds a Microsoft apt repository to Raspberry Pi OS without admin consent. Default repositories are pinged every time the user runs a simple
apt update command, and as such, the Microsoft repo will “phone home.”
The official reason seems to be an endorsement of Microsoft’s open source IDE, Visual Studio Code, which recently became officially supported on ARM-based Linux devices, like the Raspberry Pi. It’s less Visual Studio Code folks have a problem with, and more the fact this was done without warning or consent, and that many still have concerns over Microsoft building profiles with the telemetry it collects.
Many Linux users don’t want their machines pinging Microsoft every day. Whether their concerns are founded or not, that’s their choice. And as one particularly vocal commenter pointed out, modifying the sources.list in Linux without consent just doesn’t happen. It also doesn’t just apply to new images, it has been built out to be added to existing machines, too. Even Lite images of Raspberry Pi built for headless deployment. They all have the Microsoft repo now.
While it could make working with Visual Studio Code much easier, it’s clearly an unwelcome move among the Raspberry Pi community. Especially the seemingly underhanded way it was handled.