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What's your opinion on Microsoft's GitHub Acquisition?

Sung M. Kim
Exploring the world of TypeScript, React & Node
・1 min read

UPDATE 2018/06/04
Microsoft confirms the acquisition.

The Verge just reported that Microsoft has reportedly acquired GitHub.

What's your opinion about it?

Some of the questions I can think of for the discussion are

And also,
Gnome has recently moved to GitLab.

  • Would you keep using GitHub? or consider alternatives such as GitLab, BitBucket, etc?

I am wondering about how you think about this "supposed" acquisition.

Discussion (178)

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krissiegel profile image
Kris Siegel

This is a great move. Microsoft has been great at OSS for many years and they want to integrate with everything. No longer are they driven by the "three Es" they did in the 90s and early 2000s. Their share price is at the highest it's ever been.

Microsoft isn't going to buy GitHub and ruin it. And let's face it Microsoft is the better choice in buying it compared with Oracle, IBM or even Facebook. Hell they're a better option than Google considering Google's latest mantra of developing for Chrome before others.

GitHub has stagnated for years. GitLab is far more capable and GitHub ignores community requests. This can only be a good thing for GitHub.

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Sloan, the sloth mascot
Comment deleted
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krissiegel profile image
Kris Siegel

Skype wasn't that great to begin with but that was also a long time ago. To bring it up ignores everything they've done in the past 5 years in OSS.

What about Mono? Microsoft bought Xamarin and it's gotten incredibly better and that's a closer parallel because it was a development platform. Heck, even Mojang and its products have gotten way better and more stable.

Microsoft's OSS initiatives have been fantastic for a while now. I don't understand the knee jerk reactions of "I have to move my code immediately!". Even if Microsoft's ultimate goal is to set GitHub on fire you'd have years before it happens, realistically.

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eljayadobe profile image
Eljay-Adobe

It did take Microsoft a long time to burn CodePlex down to the ground.

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mykeels profile image
Backlog Slayer

CodePlex was already dying. Same as code.google.com ...

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wallflips profile image
Veselin

Skype WAS GREAT before microsoft buying it. !

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wallflips profile image
Veselin

And also TeamViewer WAS GREAT before you know..

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cpgo profile image
Cassio Godinho

Git and Github are two different things. You dont have to move to Fossil to move from Github.

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daniel15 profile image
Daniel Lo Nigro • Edited

LinkedIn's been going well since Microsoft's acquisition, as have Xamarin and Mojang. Xamarin is the most relevant example here (since they're a dev-focused company) and Microsoft's handling of that acquisition has been great. They open-sourced some stuff, and bundled Xamarin's mobile dev tools for free with Visual Studio (whereas they used to cost extra on top of VS)

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iliaznk profile image
Ежи Пшезьдзецкий

Skype, Skype... that's all I hear. Ok, they ruined Skype, do we have nothing left? Don't we have much better alternatives? Who cares about Skype? Just use a better alternative I'm sure each one of you can name. And if they will ruin GH, so what? Everything and everyone will just move to a better place and call it a day.

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amcsi profile image
Attila Szeremi⚡

They are doing something really bad with Skype on Windows though I think. They're trying to force us to use that new Windows 10 style version that's super slow, and not allowing us to use emoji reactions if we're using classic Skype.

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hassan14_pk profile image
Hassan

different era, different leadership my friend. Todays' MSFT is a far better Open Source proponent than compared to any other big tech giants including Google.

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dance2die profile image
Sung M. Kim Author

Thanks Kris for mentioning Google, Oracle, Facebook etc as I don't have a deep knowledge on how they are with the open source community.

I do believe that MS is trying hard not to become the next IBM and MS is working hard to get more involved in the open source community.

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nektro profile image
Meghan (she/her)

MS is the biggest corporate contributor to GitHub so this made a lot of sense

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giovannism20 profile image
Martins Giovanni

The company contribute for the OS or for the plataform, I think you injured...

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alexmeddeiros profile image
Alex Medeiros 💾

it makes sense to me.

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giovannism20 profile image
Martins Giovanni

I really agree with you about the latest contributions from Microsoft and maybe it really is better to buy Microsoft from the platform but I really would like to understand why?

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asparallel profile image
AsParallel • Edited

Why Microsoft has been making massive OS contributions or why github sold out?

The first, linux market, and the fact that Microsoft is a massive cloud company. You don't get neckbeards to buy what you're selling without an investment in your public image.

The latter, VC funders saw an offer that was overmarket and beyond their projections. /Game

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bertvv profile image
Bert Van Vreckem

Everyone is talking about open source, but what about all those software companies that paid GitHub to keep their repositories private? Now GitHub had sold access to that code to a potential (if not already current) competitor that has enough resources to put them out of business. I would consider this a serious breach of trust.

This is not a healthy situation, even if MS turns out to be a good steward of GitHub's legacy.

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nektro profile image
Meghan (she/her)

MS wouldn’t breach that trust because it would kill the service instantly. This happens all over industry. Netflix is hosted on AWS yet Amazon has Prime Video

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amcsi profile image
Attila Szeremi⚡

Big companies would never breach the trust of its users. Isn't that right, Facebook?

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nektro profile image
Meghan (she/her)

Microsoft is far better than the likes of Facebook

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iliaznk profile image
Ежи Пшезьдзецкий

Absolutely, especially when the users were blind and just skipped all requests for permissions and agreements until Facebook did what it had been doing before but for the wrong political party and the people in power pulled some strings to get the media to kindly explain to the users that their trust war breached. "Hey, guys, remember that agreement you signed up to without even reading? We're telling you that's all Facebook's fault now go and burn it to the ground".

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ishanigupta27 profile image
Ishani Gupta

Great example !

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phlash909 profile image
Phil Ashby

It's always a risk decision to put source code in the hands of a 3rd party. Here in GBG, right now we have a significant amount of code in Bitbucket on premise, and in VSTS in the cloud. We did due diligence reviews and chose /not/ to use Github, or Gitlab, or any other cloud hosted SCM aside from VSTS a couple of years ago, mostly due to the information security risks they presented at the time: lack of redundancy for Github (now fixed), contractual issues with Gitlab, lack of multi-factor authentication support for Bitbucket in Atlassian cloud (also now fixed). We /do/ have a public Github organisation, for public working with collaborators (early days BTW!) for such things as maintaining API wrapper libraries. Even there, Github is not master, it's a public clone of selected source code.

Other large orgs (including the other big players) all have Github accounts, and use them for similar things, in similar ways to us, open source work with communities of interested parties to help sell their actual value-delivering products (eg: AWS templates, Mulesoft API samples, etc.)

Microsoft have very little to gain by pushing these things away (there are several perfectly workable alternatives after all so it's not going to dent the other orgs collaboration, just generate legal pain), and they are unlikely to have access to the 'crown-jewels' intellectual property of serious competitors, unless said competitor really didn't do much risk assessment. Even then, it would be a direct breach of contract if such access occurred, and likely a PR nightmare in a social media world.

I'm pretty happy with this from a day job POV, and personally it really doesn't make much difference, I have no private repos to worry about.

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Ari Kalfus

Companies should use enterprise Github for that exact reason. They get a system from Github to set up internally, all code stays internal. Github doesn't see any of it. Smaller companies/startups may not have the cash for enterprise github vs private repos I guess, I'm not sure about the cost comparison, but from an security of IP standpoint, that's a move you have to make if you want to use Github and you're a company/startup of any size.

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Chris Pickard

MSFT already has tons of competitors' data through OneDrive, O365, Azure, not to mention VSTS... There is literally no way they would breach that trust, not because of any ethical concerns, but because the strength of their brand is that their sales people can call your CIO or CSO and someone will loosen the purse strings and renew your O365 contract for another 3 years. If they destroy that relationship it will basically be the end of microsoft.

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern

This is Microsoft coming completely full circle on open source.

MS has some major open source projects already on GitHub and this will give them the corporate alignment to go even further in this direction.

GitHub logo microsoft / vscode

Visual Studio Code

Visual Studio Code - Open Source ("Code - OSS")

Build Status Feature Requests Bugs Gitter

The Repository

This repository ("Code - OSS") is where we (Microsoft) develop the Visual Studio Code product. Not only do we work on code and issues here, we also publish our roadmap, monthly iteration plans, and our endgame plans. The source code here is available to everyone under the standard MIT license.

Visual Studio Code

VS Code in action

Visual Studio Code is a distribution of the Code - OSS repository with Microsoft specific customizations released under a traditional Microsoft product license.

Visual Studio Code combines the simplicity of a code editor with what developers need for their core edit-build-debug cycle. It provides comprehensive code editing, navigation, and understanding support along with lightweight debugging, a rich extensibility model, and lightweight integration with existing tools.

Visual Studio Code is updated monthly with new features and bug fixes. You can download it for…




GitHub logo microsoft / TypeScript

TypeScript is a superset of JavaScript that compiles to clean JavaScript output.

TypeScript

Join the chat at https://gitter.im/microsoft/TypeScript Build Status VSTS Build Status npm version Downloads

TypeScript is a language for application-scale JavaScript. TypeScript adds optional types to JavaScript that support tools for large-scale JavaScript applications for any browser, for any host, on any OS. TypeScript compiles to readable, standards-based JavaScript. Try it out at the playground, and stay up to date via our blog and Twitter account.

Installing

For the latest stable version:

npm install -g typescript

For our nightly builds:

npm install -g typescript@next

Contribute

There are many ways to contribute to TypeScript.

This project has adopted the Microsoft Open Source Code of Conduct. For more information see the Code of

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elmuerte profile image
Michiel Hendriks

Those are all projects under Microsoft’s rule. Name some OSS where Microsoft is a good citizen. The GVFS issue is a clear example of ol’ Microsoft behavior. I am not convinced MS will not push GVFS down peoples throats via github and there by embrace, extend, and extinguish Git.

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mykeels profile image
Backlog Slayer

How is GVFS a bad thing?

Microsoft Engineers spent time with GitHub Engineers to build the Git Virtual File System, because Microsoft needed to use GIT as a version control for really large repositories like that of Windows which is about 300GB.

Standard GIT was unusable for such sizes.

Changes made during this development have been gradually added to standard GIT over time. gvfs.io

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elmuerte profile image
Michiel Hendriks • Edited

Because

1) GVFS has been Gnome Virtual File System for a really long time, and this poses a naming conflict. Microsoft's response is pretty much PR nonsense and they ignore this issue.

2) Microsoft finds Git's rule about backwards compatibility troublesome. If they can, they will violate this rule and break Git repositories when they feel like.

3) GVFS is pretty much Windows-only.

4) GVFS is Microsoft's thing, not a git community thing. They have shown no interesting in working together to create a solution everybody feels happy with. It's GVFS or GTFO.

Edit: it looks like MS starting to address #1

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eljayadobe profile image
Eljay-Adobe

GVFS for Mac < blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/devops/20... > ... interesting!

Anyone use GVFS for Windows 10? Smooth sailing, or rough around the edges?

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boo radley

Node.JS and OCI are projects where MS seems to be behaving nicely. And unless your project is very large, I'm not sure how GVFS is even a concern for you.

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elmuerte profile image
Michiel Hendriks

It might concern me when GitHub is going to require Microsoft's version of Git, which isn't fully compatible with the standard Git.
GitHub already announced that they are going to adopt Microsoft's Git Virtual File System. This feels a lot like the Embrace and Extend.

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booradley profile image
boo radley

What "Microsoft's version of Git" are you referring to here? It can't be GVFS, because that's a virtual file system driver that's separate from the git protocol and repository.

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elmuerte profile image
Michiel Hendriks

This one: github.com/Microsoft/git
The recommended install when you are going to install GVFS, also the only one which Microsoft tests with GVFS.

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booligoosh profile image
Ethan

WOAH, those GitHub unfurl links are 👌

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giovannism20 profile image
Martins Giovanni

An another good contribute from Microsoft is gvfs.

github.com/Microsoft/GVFS

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Sung M. Kim Author

VS code just came out of nowhere and being loved.
It seems like those two main projects are being worked on well with the community

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Massimo Artizzu • Edited

I really loathe the idea that GitHub is now a Microsoft thing. I don't want to think that my OSS contributions are now hosted thanks to a kind concession by Microsoft.

It would be the same if it was Google, or Apple, or IBM, whatever, of course. I liked the fact that so much of OSS, even from giants, could find its home in an independent platform. Well, not anymore.

Moreover: what is Microsoft going to do with GitHub? What does it want to gain from its acquisition? Surely it's not because it wants to make a pretty penny with GitHub's private repos business.

I might consider moving to GitLab for my next projects.

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dance2die profile image
Sung M. Kim Author

Thanks Massimo for the feedback.

Would you like to share how OSS could be affected with GitHub under MS's management/"concession"?

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maxart2501 profile image
Massimo Artizzu

I'm confident that it mostly won't change a thing.

I don't think Microsoft will make GitHub worse in terms of usability, availability, reliability. I believe it won't be ruined like Skype, and it will stay free for all open source projects, forever.

And yes, Microsoft has been very good to OSS recently

But that's not the whole story. I have this hunch that some OSS contributors, even a couple of big ones, will move from GitHub nonetheless, for the reasons I explained in my comment. Microsoft will own all of GitHub's accounts, let's not forget it, and a gentle grasp is still a grasp.

Now, said grasp is very different if it's from a company whose core business is providing a reliable platform for developers, and cannot do anything foolish with it; and a leviathan like Microsoft, for which $2bn are like pocket change, and has no real reason to monetize on GitHub the way GitHub has done so far. So, there must be another reason: is it really Satya Nadella's good heart?

We still don't know what Microsoft will do about GitHub, but so far, as common developers, there's nothing much to improve but there's a lot to ruin. Yes, of course GitHub was financially troubled so we could lose everything, but this isn't the conclusion I hoped for.

Not to mention there are a couple of projects by GitHub that are in direct competition with Microsoft's similar solutions. Namely Atom (which has lost a lot of momentum to VS Code, but still a valid editor) and Gitter. And what about Electron?

I guess we all have to wait, but I'm quite annoyed at the moment.

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dance2die profile image
Sung M. Kim Author

Thanks again, @maxart2501 .

I haven't considered that GitHub had all the reason to "monetize on GitHub" while MS can let it sink.

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nirisarri profile image
Nicolas De Irisarri

I think the main reason is to have a better offer from a single vendor from a single provider. VSTS is an ugly monster, and the workflow in GitHub is well-known. It makes sense... the other factor is the way they can 'steer' new deployments to Azure seamlessly. if there are tools that will help you deploy from your GitHub to Azure without any hassle many developers will start deploying to Azure, giving them an edge in a clear strategic product for M$.

As for competing products, I can only hope for them to get better. VSCode was built with Electron, I see no reason for m$ to kill something like that, and PRecisely I was listening HanselMinutes, and I heard many complaints about the Hithib integrations to BaseCamp. It makes sense to get something like MSTeams to improve on that front.

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deep_erx profile image
deep-erx • Edited

Microsoft can buy Skype, LinkedIn or other products used by bilions of people. Can buy also GitHub, but is forgotting that github is first of all a community,which usually is the most difficult thing to buy, because is more than a bunch of accounts.

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dance2die profile image
Sung M. Kim Author

Thanks @deep_erx .

I am highly looking forward to whether Linux source code will stay on GitHub or not(meaning how the Linux community will react)

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jvanbruegge profile image
Jan van Brügge

The linux source was never on GitHub. The repo you linked is just a mirror of torvalds moster tree. It would not even be possible to develop a software like linux on GitHub

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dance2die profile image
Sung M. Kim Author

Ah, I wasn't aware that it was just a mirror.

just out of curiosity
Would you mind sharing why it'd not be possible to develop Linux on GitHub? (because I have never been involved with such a big project before)

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jvanbruegge profile image
Jan van Brügge

There are many reasons, but I think the two most important are:

  • Linux does not have a single source of truth. Yes, there is the tree of Torvalds, but thats just for the mainline development. Every company developing Linux has their own trees. They may merge commits off the Torvalds tree and vice versa, but most of the time those developments have different goals (ie Ubuntu vs embedded car media system). GitHub is too much tied to one source of truth.
  • Pull Requests. Githubs way of receiving contributions is via Pull Requests. For a development with lots of different contributors and maintainers, this does not work. A contribution to the graphics system goes through at least to levels of maintainers that provide feedback, before it goes to Linus for final merge. Having all contributions for all parts in one place would be too much.
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dance2die profile image
Sung M. Kim Author

Thank you so much.
I was able to glance at what such a huge project involves.

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rubberduck profile image
Christopher McClellan

Having all contributions for all parts in one place would be too much.

That’s nonsense. If anything Github has a bunch of features that make it easier to keep track of forks.

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jvanbruegge profile image
Jan van Brügge

The point is, a fork in the Github sense is to provide changes to thr master copy. As Linux as multiple masters, having all contributions go zo one master copy does not make sense

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daniel15 profile image
Daniel Lo Nigro

Also see this reply from Linus Torvalds himself: github.com/torvalds/linux/pull/17#...

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Sloan, the sloth mascot
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bobnadler profile image
Bob Nadler

If Linus has an rms-like reaction, they'll probably bolt. OTOH, there may be business reasons to stay.

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nektro profile image
Meghan (she/her)

The Linux on github repo is just a mirror and MS is very Linux friendly (Windows now has WSL)

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rubberduck profile image
Christopher McClellan

Not to mention they’re a platinum member of the Linux Foundation...

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mckabue profile image
Kabue Charles

i don't think Microsoft can remove the Linux source code from GitHub given they are working on their own Linux distribution

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nirisarri profile image
Nicolas De Irisarri

natfriedman.github.io/hello/
Nice insigt from the CEO-To-Be

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kevnz profile image
Kevin Isom

This is terrible news. MS builds toxic communities, as a long time .Net dev it was horrible, one of the many reasons I refuse to do .Net work now. They also don't know how to build open source projects. They go hey, here is this thing we built, designed and got ready to release but are only now showing the code for it. That's not open source. That's we built it, you can see the code and help us fix bugs.

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Sung M. Kim Author

Thanks Kevin for the point of view I haven't considered.

I can see that Open Source doesn't really mean just sharing the source code (showing what one did) but also develop with a community.

Let's hope that MS can contribute more to the Open Source community with GitHub acquisition.

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rubberduck profile image
Christopher McClellan

What Kevin is describing is exactly how Google develops Android. AOSP does not welcome community contributions. Microsoft has been extremely open about Roslyn & .Net Core.

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jaredcobb profile image
Jared Cobb

I'm just looking forward to the "Please add me to your professional repo network" emails.

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dance2die profile image
Sung M. Kim Author

I don't know the source of this but... just saw this 😜

GitHub by Microsoft

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elmuerte profile image
Michiel Hendriks

The source is Daryl Ginn

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dance2die profile image
Sung M. Kim Author

Ah ha!

Thanks Michiel :)

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codemouse92 profile image
Jason C. McDonald • Edited

Oy. The phrasing on that ad is divisive, at best. Assuming, of course, that it is real.

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moopet profile image
Ben Sinclair

It isn't.

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dance2die profile image
Sung M. Kim Author

And possibly let GitHub users communicate via Skype? 😜

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nektro profile image
Meghan (she/her)

Discord FTW

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dmfay profile image
Dian Fay

I'm on the fence. Microsoft have really managed to pull off a huge culture change with respect to open source, and @krissiegel is spot on in that they're likely to be a much better steward of the project and community than any other potential corporate sponsor. If we were talking about Google or Amazon, there're good odds I'd reflexively jump ship the instant the deal was publicly confirmed; I don't like either their sheer operational scope or their data collection & usage practices (I have an Android phone, which is both exquisite fodder for irony and kind of the case in point). I'd expect Microsoft to take it seriously and make an honest go of running it, but I'm instinctively wary of GitHub losing its independence no matter what.

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dance2die profile image
Sung M. Kim Author

Thanks Dian.

It seems like MS has been making pretty good/steady progress to support open source movement compared to Google & Amazon.

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tmoo profile image
TMOo

Won’t be using github. A corporation can’t purchase a community and use it effectively. None of the acquisitions that MS has made were improved upon and most are all out failures. Nokia was to be their mobile savior, was just the largest tax write-off in history. Skype sucks, Yammer is getting worse, and don’t even start with share point. None of their tools seem to work on their own, let alone as a cohesive set of dev tools. Linked-in is now pay-to-play and they were a revenue loss even before they were purchased and will fade away into another write off.

Don’t be fooled by MS embracing OSS or Linux. They had to start hosting Linux platforms in order to gain 46% of their Azure business subscriptions. That was the only way they became relevant and gained enough critical mass to sustain their Azure platform. Without LInux, Azure would be another loss.
Everytime our enterprise starts using an MS devolpment toolset, everything is changed or dropped long before anything can be put into production. One of our divisions is trying to implement VSTS, while another one refuses to migrate off of TFS. A third is trying to replace github with nuget. We can’t even get the MS devs to agree on MS tools and they can’t be called effective in any way.
Linux apps running on Google chrome is a much more transformative change, especially in mobile and cloud stacks.
MS hasn’t been an effective dev platform since their failed implementation of Vista/Silverlight collapse. We’re sitting on a timebomb of legacy windows apps with no replacement or support in sight because we are not able to replace these unsupported MS technologies that have become dangerously insecure.
And we don’t see any cohesive set of cross-platform tools or hosting options, which is what OSS really promises. .Net and MS have become a Ponzi scheme of technology stacks. Empty promises, and then it’s time to move on before you realize this just isn’t working.

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rubberduck profile image
Christopher McClellan

A third is trying to replace github with nuget

Wat? Those tools do entirely different things.

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moopet profile image
Ben Sinclair • Edited

Would you keep using GitHub?

Well I don't much use it now! I prefer Bitbucket, and my company uses them too.

GitHub for so many people seems to be synonymous with git. I think that sucks; it's like Linux and Ubuntu being the same thing. If this acquisition throws a little light on the matter and prompts people to start using other services or even hosting their own, then it's a silver lining for me. Maybe all those little apps people love won't automatically interpret dependencies of the form foo/frobulator as GitHub URLs and will show a little more consideration for others!

As other people have said, better Microsoft than Oracle. But that's firmly in the "just because something else is worse, doesn't make this thing good" category.

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Sung M. Kim Author

Thanks Ben.

The impression I got from your message is that MS was the lesser evil :)

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dguhl profile image
D. Guhl

I am sure it would require more than some acquisition in the background to push people away from GitHub. The community is too big for their members to give it up just because they don't like Microsoft. As long as Microsoft doesn't make decisions for GitHub like SourceForge did for SourceForge, people will stay there.

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dance2die profile image
Sung M. Kim Author • Edited

I am hoping that they have learned from the experience with CodePlex.

What I am worried about is how MS can have two separate services (GitHub & VSTS) that are essentially the same.

Someone in AspNetCore slack has mentioned that MS can keep GitHub as the Open Source platform while keeping VSTS as the enterprise closed source projects.

But it doesn't sound so feasible as GitHub already has a paid subscription.

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dguhl profile image
D. Guhl

It is likely that they will merge the products and either sell VSTS as a successor of GitHub Enterprise or they sell the merged product under two labels.

To lever the open source GitHub community for more involvement into their own open sourced technology hosted on GitHub and thereby recruiting open source developers for their technology would be the reason why they would keep the GitHub community alive.

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dance2die profile image
Sung M. Kim Author

Thanks for the insight @dguhl :)

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johand profile image
Johan
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Sung M. Kim Author

lol. I wonder why 😜

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dance2die profile image
Sung M. Kim Author

GitLab is live streaming.
Talking about GitHub acquisition now. (10:13PM EST)

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Mitch Jackson

It's difficult to evaluate the trustworthiness and intentions of a distant party's infrastructure. Github or Microsoft. I think if a team feels they need to migrate away from github because of Microsoft's involvement, they should already have been using a self-hosted solution.

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Ahmad Awais ⚡️ • Edited

I actually had a lot to say so I wrote an entire twitter thread and posted it on Dev.to

🔥 Twitter Thread => twitter.com/MrAhmadAwais/status/10...

⚡️Dev.to() => dev.to/mrahmadawais/microsoft-gith...

Not sure if I should repost it all here in the comment? I'd let @ben decide ;)

Peace! ✌️

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dance2die profile image
Sung M. Kim Author

Thanks Ahmad.

I believe that the twitter thread & and the post gives more weight to what you are claiming 😁

I think @Microsoft is changing for good

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mrahmadawais profile image
Ahmad Awais ⚡️

I hope MSFT keeps getting better and better. I can't believe I'd say this but it's coming from someone who's used Windows for over ten years and then happily moved away to Linux and Mac for now what looks like more than a decade. And after all that, I find myself looking back at MSFT and everything that they are doing for Open Source now. It's an exciting time for open source.

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dance2die profile image
Sung M. Kim Author

You are right, Ahmad.
An exciting time for open source.

Especially when I see Windows Subsystems for Linux

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codemouse92 profile image
Jason C. McDonald

I'm a mix. One feeling is apprehension, since I know the objective historical and technical arguments against Microsoft quite deeply. I clean up messes, old and new, from Windows on client computers. I've read the Microsoft Terms of Service inside and out, and have legal reasons to discourage people from accepting them.

The other feeling is, hmm, maybe Microsoft actually is turning over a new leaf in regards to their attitude towards open source. They did make one of their cash cows, the .NET platform, open source and Linux-compatible, which they don't stand to directly profit from. They've also helped LLVM make Clang 100% Windows compatible, so Windows developers can just use one compiler for all platforms. They've implemented the Linux Subsystem. All of those things might be to grab back some relevance from the Linux world, but they may also be attempts to bridge the gap.

Only time will tell, I suppose. Meantime, my eggs aren't all in GitHub's basket, so I can move pretty quick if I need to!

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rubberduck profile image
Christopher McClellan

3 words

developers, developers, developers!

All of the things MS has done in the last decade (even more the last half) have been to woo developers to the platform. They know they’re sunk if no one’s developing for their OS.

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codemouse92 profile image
Jason C. McDonald

That's a fair assessment. Albeit, even if they have changed their tune, they'd be doing the same thing. Not wooing developers would be suicide for anyone.

We'll have to wait and see. I'm not quick to trust Microsoft by any measure.

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Claude COULOMBE

You read in my thoughts regarding M$ products. The worst is that they aggressively market very shoddy software products, particularly Windows. Azure is better only because most of it is running on Linux servers now.

I would like to believe in M$ sincerity but I can't when I see every moves M$ did with their deep pockets to weave their spiderweb to lock the developers (linda.com buying, linkedin.com buying then GitHub buying). That said, I'm afraid for StackOverflow.

Their open source shift is a smoke screen to enable them to lock little by little GitHub inside of their proprietary software which are costly and of questionable quality.

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codemouse92 profile image
Jason C. McDonald • Edited

That's possible, but if you'll allow a MS skeptic to play devil's advocate for a moment...

If Microsoft actually did change their policy towards open source for the better, what actions would we reasonably expect from them? What they'd done so far, I believe, could easily be construed in that light as well. Consider this possible interpretation:

(1) GitHub, the cornerstone of open source, is on the brink of having to shut down. Microsoft puts their money while their mouth is, and purchases them so they can keep the platform alive and well, and out of the clutches of anti-OSS companies that would bring it harm.

(2) In order to bridge the gap between their software and Linux, they open source their entire .NET platform, and begin building Azure on Linux. They regard Linux and OSS as legitimate and worthy competitors to their software, so they choose to level the playing field; now developers don't have to choose between Windows and Linux, but can build for both, meaning that users can decide more readily between Microsoft and Linux products.

(3) To further make it easier for developers to develop for either operating system, Microsoft creates Windows Subsystem for Linux. There were plenty of options before (virtual machines, MinGW), but this provides the best performance, with minimal technical headaches. That way, Windows developers need not be ignorant or locked out of the Linux ecosystem, and parallel to (2), those same previously Windows-only developers can more easily build for multiple operating systems.

(4) Windows works directly with LLVM to get Clang working on the Microsoft platform, in place of MSVC. The stated reason is, why force developers to use different compilers on different platforms, when they can just support ONE (Clang) for ALL?

By open sourcing their work, Microsoft has literally let go of a lot of their intellectual property; developers can and will fork this source code, and it will grow beyond Microsoft's control and reach. GitHub, meanwhile, is still based on Git; if Microsoft pulled any stunts with GitHub, nearly the entire user base is in a fair way to take their marbles and leave...to, say, GitLab, BitBucket, or any number of alternatives.

In short, while MS may be smoke screening, they are also cognoscente that one wrong move could put them in a bad position, wherein they have lost .NET, Azure, the cooperation of Linux, and the entire GitHub user base (which they just paid $6.5B for. They don't want to lose that!) They'd walk away from that with less than they started with.

Of course, remember that (5) Microsoft cannot just open source everything, without obliterating their profitability. I'm not going to ask for that. Frankly, I marvel at how much they HAVE open sourced.

In short, I'm cautiously optimistic. Microsoft has shown to be untrustworthy in the past, but let's see what they do in the present. As developers, we're all in a pretty powerful position to yank the rug out from under their feet if they turn on FOSS.

P.S. As a computer technician, I agree that Windows is garbage.

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claudecoulombe profile image
Claude COULOMBE

We agree on many things but particularly the low quality of Windows. So I trust your judgment. They paid $7.5 billions to be exact, but for business not for charity. You want to let them a chance, that's fair, but keep your two eyes wide open!

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codemouse92 profile image
Jason C. McDonald • Edited

Oh, always! I never put all my eggs in one basket. I've got accounts on GitHub, GitLab, Bitbucket, and my own locally-hosted repository platform. And I've got local copies of everything. I never completely trust any online service, on the sheer basis that anything can happen.

MS definitely paid for business, but they (probably) aren't going to want to go and drive off their whole user base.

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Oscar Wong

I think Microsoft is the best big tech company to do this (Google, Oracle, etc. would probably be worse) and if the reports are true about GitHub being almost out of cash, then it's the best deal they've got.

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jonrgroverlib profile image
jonrgrover • Edited

We are moving into a new historical age in which the organization of the world becomes cohesive. This has its good sides and bad sides. I see this move as Microsoft's attempt to stay in the game. in general this means that for open source to survive it may need to become part of some larger organization that can champion it in the upcoming age. Will Microsoft do this well? I don't know. Microsoft is probably a far better company to do this than Google, Amazon or FaceBook. If not Microsoft, the only other company in the game I can think of would have been Apple. Microsoft may be the best choice. We shall see.

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Joe Zack

I'm really impressed with the open-source initiative that Microsoft has taken over the last couple years so I'm cautiously optimistic.

I would love to see better Azure integration! (even though it's pretty dang good already)

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Sung M. Kim Author

Thanks Joe.

As Satya Nadella aims to go with cloud (Azure) I am looking forward to what kind of cloud integrations that GitHub can come up with (offer some free Azure credits 💰 for open source projects maybe? 😜)

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Michael Hoffmann

I had a bad feeling back when Microsoft aquired @Wunderlist but the product never lost its identity since the acquisition. Therefore I am optimistic that it will be the same with GitHub and I will continue using it.

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