Microsoft GitHub Acquisition: Thoughts of a Full-time Open Source Developer

mrahmadawais profile image Ahmad Awais ⚡️ ・3 min read

I am a full-time open source developer working as a core developer of WordPress who's contributed to every single major version for the last couple of years (when not cracking jokes and making trolls on Twitter @MrAhmadAwais).

I am also well versed in JavaScript/Node.js ecosystem and have a deep interest in DevOps, Cloud, and the new serverless tech. I care very deeply about Developer Experience and most of my open source work is related to dev-tooling. More here →

Now that you know this about me, it's easier for you understand why am I writing this post, and maybe why I think my opinion matters. Below is a copy-paste from the Twitter thread that I created on this topic:

1️⃣ @Microsoft is about to acquire @GitHub. A lot of folks are skeptical. But I have a different view. Many of you know I am building a course on VSCode.pro for that, I've seen firsthand, how 🆚@Code repo is one of the best #OpenSource repos out there

2️⃣— Once I created a GitHub issue at 🆚@Code repo for markdown and I was impressed by how vscodebot auto-assigned @MattBierner (who works on Markdown of VSCode) to the issue and then @tonybrix from MarkedJS helped me out. It was best GitHub automation WITH results ever! 💯

3️⃣— Don't "@" me coz I know about @Microsoft's history with #OpenSource. I am a full-time open sourcerer and I can't sit here quiet instead of supporting what looks like the new @Microsoft — @SatyaNadella's moving the company from @Windows dependant to in-house @Linux dev

4️⃣— Every other day I find/meet people working at @Microsoft using Linux/Mac based devices — even bought by the company for them. Guess what? 1,000 MSFT Employees pushing open source code on GitHub. This is a BIG 🆕 change. Taking it lightly in 2018 would be tomfoolery.

5️⃣— I've been most inspired by teams behind 🆚@Code (@auchenberg 👋) and @Azure — I think that @JeffSand has built an incredible team of @AzureAdvocates folks like @ashleymcnamara @sarah_edo @jawache @burkeholland @simona_cotin @_clarkio @john_papa @holtbt @film_girl @TommyLee

6️⃣—I'm a big fan of "Dev Experience" (DX) that's why I pay $200 for a font I use in 🆚Code & have built 💯s of #OpenSource dev-tooling github.com/ahmadawais—Teams at @Azure are doing a lot to make DX better for the cloud → @azurefunctions + @Code integration is impressive!

7️⃣— GitHub's been struggling to find a new CEO for a year. What if?
It's my primary code hosting company. It's helped me go full-time open source with the support from awesome dev community/companies. Safe to say that @GitHub has made #OpenSource better 👏

8️⃣— @Microsoft has done a lot for #OpenSource in the last 4 years with @SatyaNadella.

🆚 @Code's love.
💻 @Linux Subsystem on @Windows.
🎯 Draft.sh for @kubernetesio didn't have a Windows version and still offers @MacHomebrew as the go-to way of installing it!

9️⃣—@GitHub is not exactly a cash-cow. @Microsoft has put money where their mouth is — out of 1.5 Million organizations on GitHub MSFT has most GitHub contributors to its repos, it's the biggest company with over 1000 employees contributing code to GitHub →proof of good faith!

🔟— I think @Microsoft is changing for good. The intent here's to connect with developers and not offend them by disrupting a good company. MSFT won't change a lot but this acquisition might make GitHub a lot better. Also, MSFT will jump into ROR. It's high time for #OpenSource.

🤔What are your thoughts on this whole thing?!
Peace! ✌️


Editor guide
maxart2501 profile image
Massimo Artizzu

Very good Ahmad. I think you're right on points 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.

And still, I don't like it. I wouldn't like it even if it was Mozilla or Apache that acquired GitHub. I, as an independent developer and OSS contributor, don't want to be "connected to Microsoft".

I value my independency and I'd like to put my code in an independent platform, provided by a company whose core business is providing such platform and so cares deeply about it.

Microsoft's core business isn't and will never be GitHub. If Microsoft is so good to OSS now is mostly because of a change of direction imposed by Satya Nadella (well... that path began a little earlier to be fair).

But Microsoft is a company with shareholders, and as such its primary objective is making money. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but that also means that Microsoft's support to OSS (which is also quite recent) will stand as long as its shareholders think it's a good idea. It will take little to replace Nadella with a new Ballmer.

That's what I don't like about this.

dwd profile image
Dave Cridland

You do know that Github is a company, with shareholders, and as such its primarily objective, too, is making money?

Yeah, Microsoft has changed, and might change again. But right now, it's on an upswing, and if we can all get some good from that that's great.

If it all goes south, then Gitlab's pretty good, you know?

mitchjacksontech profile image
Mitch Jackson

Thanks for the informed analysis. People are discussing conflict of interest, but there will be no conflict. Github decisions will be made in Microsoft's interest if they own github. Supporting open source seems to be working out for them. If only they would open source Windows!

gnumoksha profile image
Tobias Sette

I'm glad to see that many people does not think in Microsoft as open-source lover even with all the marketing and money they are using. People may forget the past and think Microsoft care about them as the "old school" people who insisted in free software when it was not a thing.