Microsoft Buys GitHub, And Some People Are Pissed

Microsoft Buys GitHub, And Some People Are Pissed

Photo: Drew Angerer (Getty)

Microsoft is officially buying Github, the internet’s largest source code repository, for a cool $US7.5 billion in stock, with Microsoft VP Nat Friedman assuming the role of GitHub’s CEO. The acquisition isn’t without its detractors, who say they are already ditching GitHub and looking elsewhere. Concern over GitHub’s management in the future, along with Microsoft’s checkered past with open source, might be the biggest hurdle the company has to overcome.

The acquisition makes sense, considering Microsoft’s gradual embrace of open source software, as well as the closure of its competing developer service; Microsoft’s own code repository, CodePlex, was killed off in December. At the time, Microsoft even partnered with Github to help users migrate their source code from the platform.

Some developers, fearful of Microsoft’s hand, have begun flocking to competing services in the meantime. Code repository GitLab, for example, has seen a noteworthy increase in the number of repositories created since Sunday, when word of GitHub’s acquisition made headlines.

Microsoft’s somewhat recent open source strategy — of getting all buddy-buddy with open source developers and adding support for Linux — runs counter to the Microsoft of the early 2000s, when then-CEO Steve Ballmer said, “Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches.”

In contrast, Microsoft’s current CEO Satya Nadella has repeatedly proclaimed his support for open source software, including in a blog post about the acquisition today. “We have been on a journey with open source, and today we are active in the open source ecosystem, we contribute to open source projects, and some of our most vibrant developer tools and frameworks are open source,” Nadella said. “When it comes to our commitment to open source, judge us by the actions we have taken in the recent past, our actions today, and in the future.” Fair enough, Satya.

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