In June of 2018, Microsoft made the announcement that they had officially acquired GitHub. This has inevitably generated debate among the development community. Microsoft began as a means for collaboration in order to build a microcomputer known as MITS Altair 8800. With a foundation in open source, the company has since veered away from that pillar. That is until current CEO Satya Nadella made the decision to acquire GitHub.
GitHub is known among developers as a safe place for open source projects. In this platform, developers can create, share, and improve code. However, GitHub continues to struggle with continuous integration and deployment. In an effort to take Microsoft back to its open source roots, Nadella believes that this move would foster “openness and innovation.”
Many developers are torn on the new changes. In fact, GitHub competitors GitLab and Bitbucket have seen quite a spike in users. The distrust comes as a result of the “Halloween Documents” leaked in the 90’s, which deemed Microsoft as anti-Linux and anti-open source. Many developers believe the acquisition will lead GitHub towards a more Microsoft-centered strategy.
On the other side, many developers hang tight with GitHub because Microsoft has done a lot to embrace the open source community. Microsoft has brought Ubuntu and BASH to Windows as well as integrated many of its popular applications to Linux and macOS. In addition, Microsoft hosts several projects on GitHub. The acquisition serves to increase Microsoft’s cloud presence and enable developers to use Azure.
Our own lead developer, Dan Hansen, had this to say about the acquisition:
On one hand, it doesn’t affect me directly. Sevaa has used self-hosted instances of GitLab pretty successfully for a while now because we prefer a solution we can secure.
On the other hand, it’s acquisition means that an already monopolistic company is acquiring yet another previously independent service. There’s very real concern that things like support architecture, service availability, and even functionality will be preserved. For example, look at how Skype floundered in the days after Microsoft’s acquisition. The bigger these companies get, the less incentive they have to improve. GitHub was already the biggest player in the game, and Microsoft just made it even bigger.
And yet, I think that GitHub is still a useful place to share projects and code. But it also had a lot of responsibilities thrust upon it that were not warranted or desirable, and Microsoft’s acquisition made it clear why. GitHub is being used for things like tracking a programmer’s engagement or used as an indicator of a job candidate’s skillset. Package managers are using it as the basis for their whole available libraries of code. Things like that should probably not be in the hands of a private company at all, and only now that they fall under the umbrella of a company with a stated and directed focus is that becoming clear.
Sevaa embraces the open source community and its unrestrained exchange of information. In fact, many of our developers got their start by contributing to open source projects. What are your thoughts about the acquisition? Do you believe Microsoft will continue to nurture GitHub’s foundational mission?
Regardless, this move forces the open source community to consider evolving. As Dan stated, Sevaa offers sustainable solutions. Talk to us about hosting your next project.