Short Thoughts: Microsoft’s GitHub acquisition

June 10 - 2018
Thoughts Open Source

It has recently been announced that Microsoft will be acquiring Github got USD 7.5b. The news was received by some with dismay as Microsoft has historically been seen as a threat to Open Source (Linux is a cancer, anyone?), while it was praised by others who consider Microsoft has changed. What will the future hold for Github and Open Source?

Github as a social hub for Open Source

Github was never the first service to offer free project hosting for Open Source projects, however, it somehow managed to become a sort of social hub for developers. For a few years now Github has pretty much been the de-facto place to share your code. Whether this is good or not is up for discussion, but the reality is that it has brought developers together and it has facilitated communication and collaboration immensely.

Microsoft enters the game

For a few years now Microsoft has been trying to change it’s relation with free software an Open Source. From Open Sourcing parts of .Net, to including the Windows Subsystem for Linux and the release of Visual Studio Code. Acquiring Github does indeed not seem that much of a strange acquisition for Microsoft.

Many, like the Linux Foundation have backed the acquisition up, while many others have seen this as a disaster. What will happen remains to be seen, will Microsoft play nicely? Is this yet another EEE strategy?

My own thoughts

I personally do not trust Microsoft. Yes, they have been contributing to Open Source projects like Linux, and they have massive Open Source projects of their own like Visual Studio Code. However, this isn’t enough for me to forget their horrible track record. They have systematically acquired and proceeded to ruin beloved products and companies. Although many people insist Microsoft has changed, I am still fearful of what can happen to Github and how it could affect the Open Source ecosystem.

I really hope I am wrong and that Microsoft has indeed changed, but I will remain skeptical for the time being.