Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
×
Businesses Microsoft Open Source Programming

Microsoft's Interest In Buying GitHub Draws Backlash From Developers 256

The supposed acquisition of popular code repository GitHub by Microsoft has drawn an unprecedented backlash from the developer community. Over the weekend, after Bloomberg reported that the two companies could make the announcement as soon as Monday, hundreds of developers took to forums and social media to express their disappointment, with many saying that they would be leaving the platform if the deal goes through.

So why so much outrage? In a conversation with Slashdot, software developer and student Sean said that he believes a deal of such capacity would be bad for the open source community. "They've shown time and time again that they can't be trusted," he said. Sean and many other believe that Microsoft would eventually start telemetry program on the code repository. "Aside from Microsoft not being trustworthy to the open source community, I'm sure they'll add tracking and possibly even ads to all the sites within GitHub. As well as possibly use it to push LinkedIn (which they own)," he said. Ryan Hoover, the founder of ProductHunt, wrote on Sunday, "Anecdotally, the developer community is very unapproving of this move. I'm curious how Microsoft manages this and how GitHub changes (or doesn't change)." Even as Microsoft has "embraced" the open source community in the recent years (under the leadership of Mr. Nadella), for many developers, it will take time -- if at all -- to forget the company's past closed-ecosystem approach. Just this weekend, a developer accused Microsoft of stealing his code.

A petition that seeks to "stop Microsoft from buying Github" had garnered support from more than 400 developers. Prominent developer Andre Staltz said, "If you're still optimistic about the Microsoft-GitHub acquisition, consider this: They didn't ask your opinion not even a single bit, even though it was primarily your commits, stars, and repositories which made GH become a valuable platform." More importantly, if the comments left on Slashdot, Reddit, and HackerNews, places that overwhelmingly count developers and other IT industry experts among their audience, are anything to go by, Microsoft better has a good plan on how it intends to operate GitHub after the buyout. Security reporter Catalin Cimpanu said, "LinkedIn has turned into a slow-loading junk after the Microsoft acquisition. I can only imagine what awaits GitHub." On his part, Mat Velloso, who is technical advisor to CTO at Microsoft, said, "I don't think people understand how many of us at Microsoft love GitHub to the bottom of our hearts. If anybody decided to mess with that community, there would be a riot to say the least."

Jacques Mattheij: Companies that are too big to fail and that lose money are a dangerous combination, people have warned about GitHub becoming as large as it did as problematic because it concentrates too much of the power to make or break the open source world in a single entity, moreso because there were valid questions about GitHubs financial viability. The model that GitHub has -- sell their services to closed source companies but provide the service for free for open source groups -- is only a good one if the closed source companies bring in enough funds to sustain the model. Some sort of solution should have been found -- preferably in collaboration with the community -- not an 'exit' to one of the biggest sharks in the tank. So, here is what is wrong with this deal and why anybody active in the open source community should be upset that Microsoft is going to be the steward of this large body of code. For starters, Microsoft has a very long history of abusing its position vis-a-vis open source and other companies. I'm sure you'll be able to tell I'm a cranky old guy by looking up the dates to some of these references, but 'new boss, same as the old boss' applies as far as I'm concerned. Yes, the new boss is a nicer guy but it's the same corporate entity. Update: It's official. Microsoft has acquired GitHub for a whopping sum of $7.5B.

Microsoft's Interest In Buying GitHub Draws Backlash From Developers

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 04, 2018 @06:05AM (#56723620)

    If we are going back to the 90s, let's do it properly.. :P

  • Trust (Score:5, Insightful)

    by religionofpeas ( 4511805 ) on Monday June 04, 2018 @06:19AM (#56723656)

    If you require trust, you shouldn't have used GitHub in the first place.

    • Re:Trust (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Monday June 04, 2018 @07:07AM (#56723792)

      As a non-hater of all things Microsoft. Microsoft acquiring Git Hub is concerning for much different reasons.

      1. If Git hub doesn’t bring in the money a company like Microsoft will just kill it.

      2. Like Skype and linked in There will be changes to bring it into its ecosystem. Preferring updates to its platforms and delaying others.

      3. How much tolerance will it have for competing/illegal products. Due to the complexity of licensing rules it is easy to break a license when developing something. This may not make it to the final release version as an audit would show you that these parts are in violation. But MS is protective of its IP so could the project of some teen learning how to code something more complex be part of a lawsuit from an MS level check of IP violations?

      This would be the same for Apple, Google, Bank of America, GE...

      • Re:Trust (Score:5, Insightful)

        by religionofpeas ( 4511805 ) on Monday June 04, 2018 @07:20AM (#56723824)

        If Git hub doesn’t bring in the money a company like Microsoft will just kill it

        If it doesn't bring money, it's doomed anyway. Nobody's going to run servers for charity.

        • Well lets rephrase it.
          If Git Hub doesn't bring in a profit margin in parity with its other units.
          Companies drop units not because they are not bringing in profit. If you revenue is $0.01 more then your expenses that is profit. However if you want to put your time and resources behind something in the company. And you find all the other units bring in millions of dollars in profit. Why invest your resources in the lower profit unit.

          Now this may be good deal for an other company where they are a not-for pro

          • Microsoft have many divisions that run at a loss and aren't expected to make a profit because of the benefit they provide to other divisions. Microsoft buying Github, that they use themselves, will save them money elsewhere.
            • Re:Trust (Score:4, Insightful)

              by gbjbaanb ( 229885 ) on Monday June 04, 2018 @11:51AM (#56725312)

              I doubt they have bought githubto save on the enterprise plans they were using.

              That $7.5bn will be to integrate LinkedIn so they can get even more jobs and code data, link your accounts and then they can sell advertising to you (or recruitment agents) to hassle you constantly to get a new job.

              I have no doubt github will continue to work as before, but I imagine it'll get tarnished round the edges with commercialised services.

              the only good thing would be if VSTS get chucked in favour of a github-based connection instead!

        • by cowdung ( 702933 )

          GitHub is a repository of interesting Software Engineering data. Especially if you have access to the private repositories. Its a goldmine for anyone seeking to do research on such matters.

        • Nobody's going to run servers for charity.

          Well, nobody aside from literally every single charity in the world and millions of other not-for-profit entities. But you're right, other than them absolutely no one would ever do that. Unless it promotes some agenda other than making money. But obviously there's no such thing.

      • by xvan ( 2935999 )

        1. If Git hub doesn’t bring in the money a company like Microsoft will just kill it.

        Microsoft has been migrating migrating from team foundation to git https://tech.slashdot.org/stor... [slashdot.org]
        Even if they don't directly say it. This is COM -> .net or Win Forms -> WPF all over again. Microsoft is betting at Git as their future version manager.
        Visual Studio is nicely integrated with git, with commit shortcuts next to code blocks so you know faster who to yell at if something is brakes.
        With this purchase their are pulling all the enterprise clients into their cloud. And they may mainta

      • As a non-hater of all things Microsoft. Microsoft acquiring Git Hub is concerning for much different reasons.

        1. If Git hub doesn’t bring in the money a company like Microsoft will just kill it.

        They can't kill it. The site itself is open source. Literally anyone can clone it at literally any time. They can turn off the thing branded "github" if they wanted. But that's like saying you can kill Linux by acquiring and shutting down Redhat: Linux would keep going. And so would git/web-based git hosting services.

        2. Like Skype and linked in There will be changes to bring it into its ecosystem. Preferring updates to its platforms and delaying others.

        Not really comparable as these things have difference audiences and purposes and reasons for acquisition. GitHub seems like a pure brand name purchase since as I mentioned MS could have easily

        • They can't kill it. The site itself is open source. Literally anyone can clone it at literally any time. They can turn off the thing branded "github" if they wanted. But that's like saying you can kill Linux by acquiring and shutting down Redhat: Linux would keep going. And so would git/web-based git hosting services.

          The site isn't 'open source', the source is 'open source', hence the name. People didn't use github for the source, they used it for having a repository they didn't have to pay for. I think that's what bugs me the most about the people who are whining about the acquisition. They're mostly just milking the free bandwidth.

    • Re:Trust (Score:4, Interesting)

      by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo@wo[ ]3.net ['rld' in gap]> on Monday June 04, 2018 @07:53AM (#56723932) Homepage Journal

      Trust is not binary.

      I trust my barber to cut my hair but I'll take her financial advice with a pinch of salt.

      I trust Github enough to invest time in their free service.

      • I trust Github enough to invest time in their free service.

        Sure, but that doesn't require much trust. If at some point you no longer like their free service, you can take your projects off and find another place.

        On the other hand, if you use their paid service, and put your proprietary code on there, you put yourself in a position that the code may be leaked, or get lost in a fire, or that the terms and conditions change.

        • Re:Trust (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Dog-Cow ( 21281 ) on Monday June 04, 2018 @08:28AM (#56724030)

          You are already in that position, the moment you host on a 3rd-party's servers. MS has decades of experience keeping NDAs and not leaking source code of customers. Github has essentially been lucky.

          • That's why I use 3rd party servers only for disposable stuff. I use GitHub for a couple of open source projects that I created, but it's not the only copy, and I don't depend on it.

          • So even if you can trust them to not leak it to 3rd parties, what about internally? What's to stop them from using it in their closed-source products?
  • by nagora ( 177841 ) on Monday June 04, 2018 @06:21AM (#56723664)

    "I don't think people understand how many of us at Microsoft love GitHub to the bottom of our hearts"

    The love that suffocates. Just fuck off and die.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I bet they loved Skype too. I did, until they bought it and decided to turn it just as bad as MSN Messenger was before it was outcompeted by Skype.

    • This particular kind of love has its name. And gets you 6 months to 10 years.

  • When I participate in developer forums, I find they tend to become better when the emotional, irrational, outraged developers leave. I remember when there was a "boycott slashdot" week over beta. When those people left, it was like a breath of fresh air. The average quality of comment went up (and I say that as someone who disliked beta). Having an emotional attachment to a platform, company, or website is irrational by definition.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I like how you try to portrait people who absolutely hate Microsoft as "emotional and irrational". Hating Microsoft is rational. It's a sign that you've been keeping up. Fuck, if you had behaved in real life the way Microsoft has, you'd have lost your teeth several times over, and be in prison for the rest of your life.

      No, "phantomfive", there is nothing irrational about hating Microsoft. The irrational one is you, who are defending a known criminal, toxic and destructive entity and spit on their victims an

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by jellomizer ( 103300 )

        Most of the complaining about Microsoft evil and problems are issues that happened 20 years ago.
        I am not saying Microsoft is the good company we all should love. But most of the complaints about Microsoft are with resolved issue that were fixed for over a decade.

        So yes I would agree with emotional outrage without fact expresses most Microsoft hate. I would say that applies for hate towards most anything.

        • by fafalone ( 633739 ) on Monday June 04, 2018 @08:55AM (#56724182)
          Anyone who can look at all the issues surrounding Windows 10, tricking people into upgrading, outright forcing upgrading, forcing updates, forcing reboots, forcing telemetry even on Enterprise, evading hosts file and firewalls rules blocking it, resetting settings, and claim that their abhorrent behavior is all in the past, is out of their damn mind. They've never worked harder at abusing their userbase.
          • Not for nothing, but I've had apt-get or rpm upgrade for packages bust my system just as bad as Microsofts 'Forced Updates'. Love it when suddenly my system won't present your GUI because some update busted it.

            • I've never had an apt-get update break anything - for decades. Now, I did just install pulseaudio in a ras pi on stretch and it borked it good - but given that was the original screwup from the RedHat guy (LP) now giving us systemd - I knew it was at my own risk and imaged my system first....
        • Meanwhile...

          https://www.cio.com/article/30... [cio.com]
          https://www.infoworld.com/arti... [infoworld.com]
          http://techrights.org/2017/04/... [techrights.org]

          Hardly 20 years ago.

      • I like how you try to portrait people who absolutely hate Microsoft as "emotional and irrational". Hating Microsoft is rational. It's a sign that you've been keeping up. Fuck, if you had behaved in real life the way Microsoft has, you'd have lost your teeth several times over, and be in prison for the rest of your life.

        No, "phantomfive", there is nothing irrational about hating Microsoft. The irrational one is you, who are defending a known criminal, toxic and destructive entity and spit on their victims and those who actually remembers their crimes.

        Just go fuck yourself, you retarded, smug shill.

        God damn it.... where are my mod points when I really need them? +5 INSIGHTFUL!

  • Bunch of garbage (Score:4, Informative)

    by MikeRT ( 947531 ) on Monday June 04, 2018 @06:45AM (#56723726)

    software developer and student Sean said that he believes a deal of such capacity would be bad for the open source community. "They've shown time and time again that they can't be trusted," he said. Sean and many other believe that Microsoft would eventually start telemetry program on the code repository. "Aside from Microsoft not being trustworthy to the open source community, I'm sure they'll add tracking and possibly even ads to all the sites within GitHub. As well as possibly use it to push LinkedIn (which they own)," he said. Ryan Hoover, the founder of ProductHunt, wrote on Sunday, "Anecdotally, the developer community is very unapproving of this move. I'm curious how Microsoft manages this and how GitHub changes (or doesn't change)."

    Ermagerd, dey gonna integrate soshul netwerkz...

    Give me a fucking break, Sean. Unless you're in your 30s or older, you probably have no idea how much Microsoft has gone from being the fighting dog pitbull of the industry to being a friendly and loyal black lab between 1998 and 2018. If you told us in 1998 that...

    1. Microsoft would open source its Java competitor under better terms than Java...
    2. Would fully adopt (as much as anyone other than Mozilla is) open web standards from the browser to all corporate products...
    3. Add a Linux compatibility layer...
    4. Port Office to a platform like Android...
    5. Be the 5th largest contributor to the Linux kernel...
    6. Enthusiastically sell cloud services based on Linux...
    7. Microsoft would offer more innovative desktops than Apple...
    8. Microsoft would compete for OEM licenses on price and merits, not contractual extortion...

    We'd have called you a crackhead. Not a dreamer, but a crackhead because only a crackhead would think up a future like that as being plausible. Yet... that's where we're at in 2018

    • Yes MS from 2018 is not MS from 1998, but mostly due to competition, not on their own accord. Proof of that is the shenanigan they still do in the amrket they are more or less de facto monopolist : the OS. Furthermore point 1 cn be painted in a dimmer light as "embrace and extend then extinguish" which has always been their toolbox, as for point 8 i am sorry, what OEM license competition ?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by xonen ( 774419 )

      1. Microsoft would open source its Java competitor under better terms than Java...

      Only to kill the Mono project consequently

      2. Would fully adopt (as much as anyone other than Mozilla is) open web standards from the browser to all corporate products...

      Guess you didn't try Edge yet..

      3. Add a Linux compatibility layer...

      Which is widely frowned upon. And while i use it regularly, i also think it's one of the E's in EEE.

      4. Port Office to a platform like Android...

      Only after all MS phone projects ended as a disaster. Mostly because they couldn't even keep it compatible with itself.

      5. Be the 5th largest contributor to the Linux kernel...

      Mostly for hypervisor stuff and other stuff related to compatibility with (closed) MS software. Meanwhile, NTFS support still suffers.

      6. Enthusiastically sell cloud services based on Linux...

      Because the customers must choose Microsoft above all. They can always switch to Windo

      • by mark-t ( 151149 )

        2. Would fully adopt (as much as anyone other than Mozilla is) open web standards from the browser to all corporate products...

        Guess you didn't try Edge yet.. While Edge is not as conformant as some browsers like Chrome when it comes to standards conformance, they are still doing pretty good in that department. Last time I heard, they had a conformance score of 492/555, and is continually rising with each new version, For comparison, Chrome's conformance score is 528, while Firefox is 491, Safari is

      • by E-Rock ( 84950 )

        The future of MS is Azure, not Windows. So they don't care what tools you use, what platform you're on, as long as you deploy to Azure. From that perspective this buy makes perfect sense. Most of the dissenters are people who think Windows and Office are still the center of the MS universe.

      • 1. Microsoft would open source its Java competitor under better terms than Java...

        Only to kill the Mono project consequently

        By open sourcing the original, just like we wanted in the first place.

        2. Would fully adopt (as much as anyone other than Mozilla is) open web standards from the browser to all corporate products...

        Guess you didn't try Edge yet..

        Or Chrome, or Firefox, or any other web browser that adds new stuff on their own whim.

        3. Add a Linux compatibility layer...

        Which is widely frowned upon. And while i use it regularly, i also think it's one of the E's in EEE.

        Total agreement here.

        4. Port Office to a platform like Android...

        Only after all MS phone projects ended as a disaster. Mostly because they couldn't even keep it compatible with itself.

        +1

        5. Be the 5th largest contributor to the Linux kernel...

        Mostly for hypervisor stuff and other stuff related to compatibility with (

    • If Microsoft hadn't done those things, there really wouldn't have been a Microsoft left to speak of.
    • by Junta ( 36770 )

      1) They open sourced the parts that were not doing well competitively. Notably, they do not open source enough to make desktop applications. Only server applications can benefit from what they did open source, and they had nothing to lose as C# had no market share.
      2) IE's market share had cratered, so ignoring what other browsers were doing was no longer an option.
      3) It's billed as an 'Azure Development Tool', and it's never going to be allowed to infringe upon the desktop application side. Again, MS has

    • that's all nice and dandy but apparently you seem oblivious to the software patent extortion scheme that Microsoft has been running against Linux for nearly a decade now. There are numerous examples of Microsoft threatening companies and forcing them to pay for "Linux Patents" Do your self a favor do a quick google search...even better yet just do a little research in the matter.
    • Fuck Microsoft. Both what it was in 1999, and what it is now.

      All the things that they're doing good don't excuse them for things they attempted to do to artificially screw progress of mankind for sake of their dominance.
      It doesn't excuse them because they are only doing this now as a new tactic because they cannot ignore Linux and FOSS anymore. They tried their best to kill it, destroy it any which way, but they failed so they changed their tactics. They realized they cannot NOT have Linux on their Clo
    • by HiThere ( 15173 )

      It's true that we wouldn't have believed how much the world would change, but...

      1. When Java became available under GPL, MS didn't get any real advantage in holding onto their version. And if you mean NET (do you?) it's terms are not better, and it's portability is abysmal.
      2. Microsoft was never an internet company. IE was a money pit.
      3. There's a word for the MS "Linux compatibility layer"..."embrace".
      4. Office is their main cash cow. If they can get it more widely used, they make more money.
      5. The con

  • Excellent News (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jeremyp ( 130771 ) on Monday June 04, 2018 @07:04AM (#56723778) Homepage Journal

    Github is far too dominant in the online source code repository market. If this causes some people to leave and join other repositories or set up new competitors, that is a good thing.

  • The developers weren't consulted?
    What a childish, idiotic, egocentric attitude. This is business. Github is not a nonprofit.
    From the beginning, Git support of MS has been poor. I'd say this is well deserved.
    • Github is not a nonprofit.

      Github is a profit.

      FTFY

    • by Junta ( 36770 )

      Further, github has for all it's image, kept all it's stuff closed source. They chat up open source and say how great it is... Until it comes to the code they run on their servers, then they just don't say anything....

      Contrast to gitlab which offers enough to let you make your own site if you prefer.

  • Actually, I think it only became decent after Microsoft bought it.
    • by Luthair ( 847766 )

      Thats just fluoride in your water talking :p

      Honestly though, people are concerned about Facebook and privacy, LinkedIn is many times worse.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It's also not under U.S. jurisdiction, being based in Europe. These days that's something you need to consider.

  • I dislike many things done by Microsoft, but like others. I don't like big companies getting everywhere, but don't have any strong feelings about the current GitHub owners either. I like the attitudes in some of the repositories hosted by GitHub or other sites and dislike quite a few others. Despite having tried different alternatives (+ knew about others in the previous article about this still-rumour, perhaps also in this one and in some of the 2-3 upcoming ones), I am reasonably happy with GitHub. My opi
  • If it is to screw things over, look no further than the decline of SourceForge. At one point, their position of 'go-to place for open source projects' seemed unassailable. Then they died off and github became the new hotness in *very* short order. The kicker is that sourceforge technically gave a lot more services than github ever did, so projects were willing to give up having integrated hosting, powerful download management, and many other things. Also, a lot of projects were still using svn, so they

  • Don't use one web site to do anything, in this case Github for a code repository.
    We need open standards spread across the internet and many different sites which cannot be bought and commercialised.
    Decentralise, don't concentrate.

    • FWIW, I'm nobody important, but I already do this with Github. It's got a few bits and bobs of open source on it from me - nothing serious. All my private repos are elsewhere (Gitlab, mainly). Git is the singularly easiest source control tool for moving repos from A to B though - some providers even have 'import' tools because it's so easy to do.

      On another note, Github must be indirectly responsible for an awful lot of 'code leak' from various companies. That is, you join a new company and give them your gi

  • Companies that are too big to fail and that lose money are a dangerous combination, people have warned about GitHub becoming as large as it did as problematic because it concentrates too much of the power to make or break the open source world in a single entity,

    How does Microsoft owning GitHub "break the open source world"? Even if Microsoft were to do something nefarious (like make unacceptable changes to the TOS), there are dozens of similar services around, or you can simply run GitLab as a hosted or co

  • Those who forget their history are doomed to repeat it. Trust MS at your own peril.
  • The more ruckus is raised around this, and the more developers credibly threaten to leave, then, if the haggling is still in progress, the less Microsoft has to pay to acquire GitHub. In negotiations, it can basically claim, "If we buy you guys, half your users are going to leave because they hate us. So we can't really justify paying you more than X."

    If you get "X" so low that it's no longer an appealing price to GitHub then you've "won" in the sense that you've torpedoed the deal. If you don't get "X
  • This is just a comment about where you "put your eggs." If you put them all in one basket and something happens to that basket, all of your eggs can break.

    Moreover, if you put some outside resource in a position where a change there can doom your enterprise, you are at great risk. This is true regardless of the resource. In the case of code hosting, there are alternatives. There's Bitbucket, Gitlab and probably others hosted in the cloud. Or you can host Gitlab or Gitea on your own H/W or VPS.

    This is not li

  • Sean is definitely the most authoritative commentator. I'm glad he gave /. his opinion, or I wouldn't really know what to think, but now that Sean says this is probably a bad idea, I know that it is.

  • On his part, Mat Velloso, who is technical advisor to CTO at Microsoft, said, "I don't think people understand how many of us at Microsoft love GitHub to the bottom of our hearts. If anybody decided to mess with that community, there would be a riot to say the least."

    The intended imputation here is that if only we understood, we'd behave differently.

    Not true.

    Our behaviour can only be influenced by a loud, long, thorough, sensible, and credible disclosure about how a newly kinder/gentler Microsoft plans to o

  • ... so I could close it. As with everything having to do with Microsoft... this is a trap.

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"

Working...