Since the news broke out, there’s been a lot of discomfort and anxiety experienced by all developers in the wider community - particularly for the open source communities.
People have been sending their massive tweets with about dumping Github for an alternate open source online code storage systems out there such as Gitlab or Bitbucket, left and right, as part of their voiced frustrations and concerns of Microsoft’s Github acquisition and its future of software development.
And, rightly so, they should be entitled to experience that fear as much as I was some weeks back.
This is how I expressed my reaction on my Twitter account.
If you zoom in closer…
Those were my initial raw reactions - without a doubt.
I wasn’t too happy about it at first.
I started to worry what potential ‘harm’ or ‘damage’ Microsoft could do with the richest open source ecosystem in the world?
But, I think it’s very important to understand why and where did all this vehement hate come from as some of you may (or may not) remember how Microsoft used to give no respect to the open source development community some eons ago…
Former Microsoft CEO, Steve Balmer used to famously described the open source community, back in 2001, as I quote
Open source eg Linux is a cancer that attracts itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches. That’s the way that the licensing works.
With such harsh comments, it’s no wonder why people in the community felt so much ‘butt-hurt’ by it at the time, and why they couldn’t stand up to someone who stands amongst the shoulders of corporate tyranny and fear.
Since then, there’s been a grand divide between Microsoft and the open source world where one argues that you can’t provide good software that relies too much on open source material which you can’t put a price on with no economic benefit, whilst the other states having open source movement fosters better innovation and growth, and builds trusts amongst developers (and businesses alike) on how you, the developer, and the rest of the community decide the flexibility factors in making software more malleable to ever-changing business conditions than you would if you were at the mercy of an actual vendor.
This is the fundamental nature of open source and why people love doing them for so long, including myself.
We’ve all worked very hard to defend them, as far as software licensing rights are concerned.
Now, given that’s how Microsoft’s previous attitude towards open source all those years ago, I decided to dig up and find out how much has their attitude changed since then.
Lo and behold, there has been a change of heart - somewhat.
Steve Balmer now admitted he’s loving the open source community. He’s all for it now that the current chief of Microsoft Satya Nadella made all the right moves in porting a number of Microsoft applications into the open source environments such as Github back in 2015 since his inception into the company. Later on, they have journeyed, so far, to become the largest contributor to the open source development community by leaps and bounds, followed by other big players like Google, Amazon, Facebook etc, etc.
The facts speak for themselves.
You can read the official figures from this post here.
With those convincing numbers and Microsoft’s dedicated commitment in giving back for this nourishing community, it’s little or no wonder how Microsoft and Github had been in secret talks amongst each other in buying the Octopuss mascot for a whopping $7.5 USD billion dollars!
At the time of writing, I, later on, found out why they’ve made such a move by stumbling upon this Youtube video link below that comes with an amazing infographic that better explains the reasoning behind their purchase.
Fascinating, isn’t it?
Or downright gutted by their Github’s decision-making process to par with Microsoft?
Whatever you may be feeling (long-time or newbie dev), there’s no further doubt that more changes are coming our way within the open source communities, if not just restricted to Github itself.
Like it or not.
The underlying begging question remains in every Github developer mind now is:
I cannot say for everyone.
But, as for myself, I’m keen to give this a go.
I have to admit that some of MS open source development tools have been good to me.
I’m actively using Microsoft VSCode for all my software development needs and projects since middle of last year ie 2017, compared to the likes of Atom, Sublime Text, Note++ etc.
I have never looked back since.
Their editor tools have done wonders for me, and I had never felt so much freedom in my creative programming prowess in doing a number of my interesting projects I personally hosted on my Github account so far. Which - btw - I may add that it’s built upon Electron JS, one of the Github’s best open source framework for developing desktop apps.
Personally, this is just my opinion, I wouldn’t have accomplished a lot of things without it, and how it’s helped to manage my projects work seamlessly where I take my work with me.
In short, good for Microsoft and its new management team in keeping open source community alive and well.
Only time will tell how far they can help with Github (or others similarly) to reach bold new heights where open source software collaboration has never been before.
Only time will tell.
Till then, Happy Coding!