Monday, June 4, 2018

Not Abandoning GitHub *yet*

The developer crowds are swarming off of GitHub in the wake of today's announcement that Microsoft has agreed to purchase GH for $7.5B.

I've already written why I think this acquisition is good for neither GitHub nor Microsoft.  I don't think it's good for anyone else either... but maybe at least it alerts us all to the dangers of having all our eggs in the same basket.

At the moment my repositories will not be moving.  The reason for this is quite simple -- while the masses race off of GitHub, desperate for another safe harbor, the panic that this has created is overwhelming alternative providers.  GitLab reported a 10X growth.  While this might be good for GitLab, its not good for people already on GitLab, as there was already quite a well understand performance concern around GitLab.com.

At least in the short term, GitHub's load will decrease (at least once all the code repo exports are done), I think. 

The other thing is that Microsoft has come out and made some pretty strong promises about not altering the GitHub premise, and the "new leadership" over there is ostensibly quite different from the old.  (Having said that, there is a lot of bad blood and history between FOSS and Microsoft. A lot of the current generation of millenials don't have that history, but some of us haven't forgotten when Steve Ballmer famously said "Linux is a cancer", and when Microsoft used every dirty trick in the book to try to kill all competitors, including open source software.  If Microsoft had had its way back in the 90s and 00s, the Internet would have been a company shanty-town, and Linus Torvalds would have been a refugee outlaw.

Thankfully that didn't happen.

Microsoft is trying to clean its image up, and maybe it is reformed now, but the thing we all have to remember is that Microsoft is beholden first, foremost, and exclusively to it's shareholders.  Rehabiliting it's image is critical to business success today, but at it's roots Microsoft still has those same obligations.)

The past couple of years of good behavior doesn't undo decades of rottenness; many of us would have been thrilled to see Microsoft enter chapter 11 as the just dessert for its prior actions.

Microsoft was losing mindshare to OSS and software like Git (and companies like GitHub). Purchasing GitHub is clearly an effort to become relevant again.   The real proof will be seen if Microsoft and GitHub are still as FOSS friendly in two years as they are today.  Promises made today are cheap.

But I'm willing to let them have the benefit of the doubt, understanding that I retain my options to depart at any time.  I won't be creating *new* repositories there, and my private one's will be moving off of GitHub because I don't want Microsoft to have access to my proprietary work.  (Probably they can still get it from backups at GitHub, but we do what we can...)

But my open source stuff is still there.  For now.

That means mangos, NNG, nanomsg, and tcell remain.  For now.

It's up to Microsoft and GitHub to see if they stay.

 - Garrett

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