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Businesses Open Source

GitHub Is Undergoing a Full-Blown Overhaul As Execs and Employees Depart (businessinsider.com) 274

mattydread23 writes: This is what happens when hot startups grow up. [GitHub] CEO Chris Wanstrath is imposing management structure where there wasn't much before, and execs are departing, partly because the company is cracking down on remote work. It's a lot like Facebook in 2009. Business Insider has the full inside story based on multiple sources in and close to the company.
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GitHub Is Undergoing a Full-Blown Overhaul As Execs and Employees Depart

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  • My project isn't done. Someone is going to try to make money and I'm not ready.
    • There are plenty of other places to host a project. Never fear.

      If you're cool like Linus, you can throw it on FTP and let the world mirror it. :)
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 06, 2016 @07:04PM (#51454667)

      We should never forget about the Open Code of Conduct [github.com] debacle. GitHub is listed under the "What companies or communities support or use the Open Code of Conduct?" section on that page.

      Read the comments at https://github.com/todogroup/opencodeofconduct/issues/84 [github.com]. It's unbelievable how hypocritical some of the people are. The stuff about "reverse -isms" is particularly fucked up.

  • fast growth (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Saturday February 06, 2016 @02:50PM (#51453693) Journal
    Here is the key quote from the article:

    GitHub has hit "hypergrowth," growing from about 300 to nearly 500 employees in less than a year, with over 70 people joining last quarter alone.

    Any time you have that kind of growth, you are going to have culture change, and it's going to make people upset if they liked the old culture.

    In this case, management is responding to the new people by trying to maintain tighter control on this. This involves hiring a lot of middle managers (mainly so they have someone to order around) and generally treating the programmers like they are less competent and can't manage themselves (probably a lot of the new ones are less competent).

    What will happen next is Github will start sucking, and a new competitor will come and replace them (possibly Sourceforge, if they manage to continue with the same enthusiasm they've started with recently, and manage to turn that enthusiasm in to their product).

    • Re:fast growth (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Kethinov ( 636034 ) on Saturday February 06, 2016 @03:14PM (#51453793) Homepage Journal

      a new competitor will come and replace them (possibly Sourceforge, if they manage to continue with the same enthusiasm they've started with recently, and manage to turn that enthusiasm in to their product)

      SourceForge's death spiral hits me right in the feels as much as any other Slashdotter, but I am pretty convinced that new competitor which will dethrone GitHub will be GitLab. Basically the same product, but open source. Similar monetization model for enterprise use. That's who I'm rooting for these days.

      Sorry SourceForge. You had your chance.

      • They could convert it into a gitlab instance...

        Gitlab is dead slow. If they improved that, they could be the new kings of the hill.

      • Re:fast growth (Score:5, Informative)

        by thisisauniqueid ( 825395 ) on Saturday February 06, 2016 @05:30PM (#51454359)
        SourceForge always sucked, and never got better: they had an obtuse navigation structure, a ridiculously hard-to-use bug tracker, terrible source code management and viewing tools, way too many ads, etc. etc. -- and they seemed to refuse to evolve, in spite of pulling in who knows how much money.
      • Re:fast growth (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Antique Geekmeister ( 740220 ) on Saturday February 06, 2016 @05:47PM (#51454435)

        Sourceforge lost track of what they were doing. They pursued ad revenue on their web pages, rather than quality of service and the business model of converting free open source and freeware software authors into paying customers.

        So far, github has done very well at doing so and providing "5 9's" of reliable service. They've definitely been far more reliable than the in-house wikis and source repositories I've worked with in house and working with partner companies.And as much as I appreciate that Sourceforge has long-running CVS and Subversion projects, I genuinely wish they'd simply migrate and discard that technology. They're not reliable enough to use for the necessary 24x7 access to publish updates in a Subversion or CVS repository.

        • So far, github has done very well at doing so and providing "5 9's" of reliable service.

          Wow, they sure lost that one [google.com] if it was ever a goal.

          .And as much as I appreciate that Sourceforge has long-running CVS and Subversion projects, I genuinely wish they'd simply migrate and discard that technology.

          You can use git with sourceforge. You've been able to for a long time, I think longer than github has existed. Some people actually prefer CVS, believe it or not. I don't understand those people, but different strokes for different folks, and sourceforge provides.

          • by Junta ( 36770 )

            I was shocked to see a rather major component from one of our partners, a very well regarded partner, using RCS for their version control..

          • The failure the other night was a real problem. I'm aware of a number of automated continuous integration systems that had problems with it.That brought github's reliabllity down to about "4 9's", which is still very good compared to most running systems.

            I agree you _can_ use git with Sourceforge. The difficulty is the number of projects that continue to rely on the centralized, single canonical source code approach of CVS and Subversion. It makes independent development much less safe, and far more difficu

            • Well, I like git more too, but some people really do prefer CVS.
            • btw, the failure the other night was downtime for four hours, so that brings their uptime down to 3 9s, even if they don't have any more downtime for the rest of the year (which they seem to have every night).
      • Git has been around for quite a while now, and it's become widely known and widely adopted. So, no matter how good it is, hipster nerds are going to be moving to something else en masse in the near future.

        I'm just waiting for the onslaught of Slashdot submissions announcing it (whatever it is).

    • Re:fast growth (Score:5, Interesting)

      by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Saturday February 06, 2016 @03:31PM (#51453873)

      If anyone can take over the throne from GitHub, why would it not be BitBucket? They produce the excellent and free Git client Sourcetree [sourcetreeapp.com], and all around have a more reasonable pricing model than GitHub.

      It's not like I don't have a GitHub account, everyone does, but I also have a BitBucket account and have no qualms switching to them entirely if GitHub really starts being a problem (well, MORE of a problem since they did just recently have a big outage... perhaps that was early warning).

      • Let's be honest, the Github management has always been a mess, so it's more a question of 'when' they self-destruct rather than 'if.'
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Is this a joke. Atlassiam drops products as often as Google. A professional organization can't depend on a company that wishy washy.

    • Why do they need 500 employees? I'd be struggling to figure out what any of them do.

      Except for the sales execs that encourage Microsoft, Badieu, Facebook and Google (none of whom have any experience with servers) to host their opensource projects on GitHub... for the publicity?

      • They have a training program (for training other corporate teams), a store, a lot of integrations [github.com], and of course, a huge sales team. Most of their current open positions are on the sales team FWIW.
        • by Hadlock ( 143607 )

          Yeah nearly one in five employees works in sales. Probably another one in five works in management in some capacity, and another one in five works in support roles, leaving you with perhaps 200 engineers? That's still a lot of engineers, but at 4 engineers per team that's 50 products or product segments they can focus on.

          • 200 sounds like a lot, I wouldn't be surprised if they have only 50-100 engineers. Also 4 engineers per team is too small, it's more likely to be 10-20 per team.
    • That's it, I'm replacing my rubber ducky with a "hyperspace" button from Asteroids.

    • In this case, management is responding to the new people by trying to maintain tighter control on this. This involves hiring a lot of middle managers (mainly so they have someone to order around) and generally treating the programmers like they are less competent and can't manage themselves (probably a lot of the new ones are less competent).

      No, it's more likely the managers who are clamping down are the incompetent ones - they don't really know how to manage, so they attempt to fake it. Then, shortly afterward, the talented employees start leaving.

      But, in the end, you're right... that's when the suckage begins.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    No remote work?

    Github just fell off my list of places to work at :-(

    That sucks, there are not many places which are good for remote work.

    • by coofercat ( 719737 ) on Saturday February 06, 2016 @04:48PM (#51454189) Homepage Journal

      No remote working? Quite the irony for a cloud company most of its customers couldn't even locate on a map, that peddles a distributed, decentralised source code control product.

      as for their growth... I understand their need to make money and assure their market position. Couldn't they just do that by being good at git and not worrying about all the other fluff?

    • It's all about proletarianization. The cabal of self-described capitalists who own nearly all the Silicon Valley "startup" companies overwhelmingly come from backgrounds of social privilege and inherited wealth. This cabal is waging low intensity class war against tech workers, most of whom come from middle and lower-middle class families.

      The VC class vehemently hates the idea of tech workers having any significant degree of autonomy and human dignity. They demand that all tech workers be chained to desk

  • by JaredOfEuropa ( 526365 ) on Saturday February 06, 2016 @03:05PM (#51453763) Journal
    By ditching their management structure they threw out an important part of their corporate culture as well. Not smart. Instead, they might have looked at ways to make the existing structure scale up. There are other large organisations with a flat org chart and seniority based on merit, like W. L. Gore. Go talk to them instead of the regular MBAs.

    By the way, I don't know if I'd have an issue with a lack of remote working options or a shift to a more hierarchical management structure, but what I read about their diversity and social impact team would certainly be enough to make me run, screaming. Also, they brought in a former Yahoo exec...
    • Yes and Yahoo and Flickr furtunes have gone well.

      When will these people learn.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 06, 2016 @03:11PM (#51453785)

    So... pretty good omen!

  • Whipslash/BizX (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Khyber ( 864651 ) <techkitsune@gmail.com> on Saturday February 06, 2016 @03:16PM (#51453801) Homepage Journal

    Pay attention what happens here with this. This is going to be an important lesson for you to learn from.

    This is also an opportunity to capitalize. You see this bad move being made? Do the opposite of it and also take advantage of it. Hire some of those people leaving the company. Turn SourceForge into a better Github. Invest a little money, get a couple of these people, let them work remotely, see what happens.

  • SourceForge (Score:5, Funny)

    by Ecuador ( 740021 ) on Saturday February 06, 2016 @03:21PM (#51453833) Homepage

    Well, it is a good time for SourceForge to attempt a come-back. Right guys?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Unfortunately, Github had nothing to do with the fall of SourceForge. SourceForge did it to themselves.

    • What if it turns out that sourceforge has supervisors? What then?!??!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 06, 2016 @03:53PM (#51453965)

    That article makes me very uncomfortable with giving github any more of my business.
    Sounds like this 'diversity manager' Sanchez has way too much power - someone says it's now almost impossible to even interview white people.
    This bothers me for two reasons:
    Firstly, I want the platforms I use to be built by the best engineers. Not merely the best engineers whose skin they like the color of.
    Secondly, I'm white. I don't want to support a company that will discriminate against me or my kids.
    I notice that this burning social conscience is newly discovered - the founders are all white, their VC Marc Andreesen is white. Easy now they're all multimillionaires to wax eloquent about the social need for diversity, but when they were starting out themselves, ethnic diversity apparently wasn't their highest priority. Why ever not, I wonder?
    So I'm canceling my account.

    • Well...

      Where to begin?

      Nothing especially wrong with the founders etc all being white and realising that diversity in tech isn't all that great. That's not hypocritical. It's also fine to try to do something for the better when you have the money and power to make a difference. I think that's reasonable, and I think there are biases which need to be overcome. Even in the absence of bigotry the simple fact is people tend to mix with people similar to themselves in many ways. If your team is mostly white guys,

    • Secondly, I'm white. I don't want to support a company that will discriminate against me or my kids.

      Well, I'm Hispanic (even share their diversity VP's last name) and this is alarming to me as well. I'm not keen on supporting a company that discriminates (even if it would happen to be in my favor) and I definitely don't want to deal with a company that makes things worse for me. Let me explain. I've worked for every single thing I have, every single award and honor I've received, and so on. I resent p

  • 500 employees (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Tell me again why they need 500 people?

  • by Dahamma ( 304068 ) on Saturday February 06, 2016 @05:38PM (#51454401)

    Not the best selling point for at a company where THE MAIN FEATURE is remote distributed development.

    • Not the best selling point for at a company where THE MAIN FEATURE is remote distributed development.

      No, the main feature is enterprise integration of git with a zillion other tools, and running git as a service with all the hooks and everything exposed.

      Git's main feature is remote distributed development. That is not a value-add by github.

      And companies buying the paid services don't usually have telecommuting executives, even if they have remote developers. This about getting the leaders into the office where people have access to them. That isn't guaranteed to be bad.

      • by Dahamma ( 304068 )

        So you admit the main reason for Git's existence is remote distributed development, but that's somehow not relevant to a company providing an incremental (even if significant) improvement over that main feature? Yeah, gonna have to call bullshit on that...

  • People with a religious objection to managing encounter problems that require managing. Instead of drawing on secular knowledge, they institute faith-healing which fails. This is taken as proof that their their religious objection is well-founded.

    • Can you make your point with less metaphor and more direct statement. I love a good a metaphor, but I missed that.

    • No, more like: People with a religious objection to managing encounter problems that require managing. Some of them then resort to secular knowledge of management techniques, which causes a revolt by a faction insisting on faith-healing, which is not granted. Some of them then quit, while others lament that the pay is too good to quit. The quitting of some is seen as by external communities with a shared religion as proof that their concerns were well-founded. After all, if managing isn't evil, why are thes

  • by sethstorm ( 512897 ) on Saturday February 06, 2016 @06:25PM (#51454555) Homepage

    That would be a welcome and necessary change.

  • It's like, how much more BS MBA crap could this be? and the answer is none. None more (in Nigel Tufnel accent) [Spinal Tap] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt00... [imdb.com]
  • by dell623 ( 2021586 ) on Sunday February 07, 2016 @05:22AM (#51456095)

    Business Insider didn't just become an authoritative source of news just because it is saying what Slashdot wants to hear.

    - "Out with flat org structure based purely on meritocracy" Garbage. That's stuff of fantasies, no large commercial software company has a structure like that. Slashdot makes 'merit based hiring' sound like some kind of panacea - there is no such thing. Maybe GitHub are going the wrong way but this sort of description sounds like it came from someone with an axe to grind. No start up retains that cosy 'smart people you love to work with' feel.

    - For the people saying just use a different hosting service, almost every worthwhile open source project is hosted on Github and tracks issues and releases on Github. ALL major companies use Github when they decide to go open source with a project. Guess where Apple put Swift? Microsoft when they wanted to develop an OpenSSH port publicly? Netflix? Yelp? Google's Tensor Flow?

    - Alternatives - let's not even mention SourceForge. Bitbucket? Look at how terribly cluttered their UI is compared to Github: https://bitbucket.org/atlassia... [bitbucket.org] And Github has massive first mover advantage here. I can't believe how awful Github's notification system is - I can't set up notifications to just keep track of new releases in a project for example.

    - What some here hate is that GitHub is no longer focused on the traditional open source developer audience (if it ever was). 'Enterprise focused company' means what it says on the label. Yes they will have a massive sales force. Yes they are exploiting the brand name to sell an enterprise product that is way more expensive per user than their competitors (Bitbucket and Gitlab). But you know what - better than bundling fucking adware with downloads from their website.

    - On the same point, they don't care much for the 'Git isn't server based, why do you need Github to host stuff' audience, or the 'you can take my eMacs from my cold dead hands'. They've put significant effort into their app, available on all platforms (yes an app - for 'developers' don't know how to run git clone or configure SSH keys. Snigger). You know what - they don't care. I heard from a friend recently how working in a major bank, their data science and modelling teams write code and don't use any source control. That's their target audience and that's where their sales people will make them money. I have lost count of the number of perfectly intelligent people I have dealt with who can't get their heads around Git or cannot be bothered to.

    - Github doing what's best for Github, and when they do their sales pitch, a couple of slides of how Google hosts their projects on Github rather than the crappy code.google.com does not hurt. And I don't terribly care, compared to the products I have seen sales people sell successfully, Github is like vaccines - it's a good thing despite how it gets sold. A collaboration tool is a pretty damn good pitch.

    - On the eMacs thing, Github released an Open Source plugin friendly editor called Atom. And I like it, I like it a lot. Github Page is pretty neat. Git LFS is awesome and works seamlessly for versioning large files and keeping them in the same repo - much better than the half baked git-annex option some projects used. It definitely does not look like they are out of ideas, despite apparently carrying a massive baggage of diversity based incompetent hires if Slashdot is to be believed.

    - Look at this blog entry about a doctor who likes to code: https://github.com/blog/2103-m... [github.com]. In commercial terms, you can't fault their choice of going for the much bigger market rather than sticking to trying to sell to 'pure' software / IT firms.

    - Look at their blog, the huge list of integrations. They're not asleep at the wheel.

    - Another one about their services team: https://github.com/blog/2093-h... [github.com]. The second sentence is "But what about when the team's primary deliverable is not software?".

    - I like GitLab. I use GitLab. I prefer GitLab for the fact that their core product is open source with proprietary extra bits rather than the completely closed source GitHub Enterprise and GitHub apps. But they have some way to go, and I don't think they have the same amount of money or clout. Their public hosting page is pretty embarrassing: https://gitlab.com/public [gitlab.com]

  • I know quite a few MBAs and they are obsessed with their orgcharts. They are repulsed by things like flat organizations, holistic management, independent teams, etc.

    When they see a tech company run successfully by the founders who barely run the developers who just get things done they know that there is no room for the dead weight of a bunch of MBAs. This is where the slightest hint of VC money or other "professional" money will cause the MBAs to insist on a "professional" management team. This will imm

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