Yup. It is true. Microsoft acquires GitHub for about 7.5 billion USD!
Let that sink in.
There have been rumors of GitHub (my favorite open source code repository) being acquired by tech giants in the past. This one about Microsoft taking over had also been doing the rounds for quite some time now.
GitHub is owned
But I had my doubts.
First, GitHub is not a tiny company itself. It is huge. Deals like that are tough to make. Even for Microsoft. So when I read the first believable stories about this on Verge, I was a bit alarmed.
Today I check on Reddit and the reality hits hard. This is what I am welcomed with.
Ok. It is not all too bad. Right?
Microsoft makes it final
Microsoft has been making moves towards the open source community in a big way over the past few years, especially since Satya Nadella took over. I also actually like their latest operating system (Windows 10) a lot. Even their Edge browser has impressed me over the years. But somehow the feeling of another open source promoter being taken over by a proprietary giant leaves a bad taste in my mouth. It may all end well. Microsoft has actually promised that GitHub will continue its operations as it did. The warning signs were all there, with Microsoft pulling out of codeplex in the past.
So what does it mean for us regular developers?
Not much to be honest, at least officially. But here are my concerns. It may be the anxious me talking or ranting. But here are some observations I had in the past and the options that are open to me right now.
- Plagiarism – Microsoft has a dubious past when it comes to ‘stealing code’. This is even more difficult to stomach when it admitted to it. And what does GitHub do other than hosting (mostly) open source code?
- Privacy – A lot of code on GitHub is actually private. We don’t know if and how long they are going to be so. It is true that your data is protected by laws. But data leaks. As long as it was not only driven by profit you could expect some amount of altruism, but now hoping for that would be insane. If your code contains really sensitive code, you are better off keeping it elsewhere or hosting it on your own.
- Price – This is unlikely to change. Microsoft may actually reduce the prices in the short run. In that case, this may turn out to be a win win for both developers and Microsoft.
The other option – GitLab
Developers are already making their moves. More whatever reasons, the migration has started. GitLab is a very good alternative. It does not have a good user base yet, but that is likely to change in the next couple of weeks. In addition to the hosting of GitHub, it also offers continuous integration and delivery based support as well.
Also, just like GitHub, GitLab also provides user a free starter edition that provides all the features as seen here.
There is another popular alternative that has remained for years now – Sourceforge.
I will be opening my account there. I personally am not yet sure if I want to migrate already, but I am open to it. When it comes to big corporations and trust, I don’t see them going very well together.