Well, who hasn’t heard of GitHub? Pretty surely, everyone has. If you haven’t, then don’t worry, we’ll give you a brief idea about it. In simple layman terms, GitHub can be considered to be the social networking site for programmers. Some of the terms one would often hear alongside GitHub are “pull”, “merge”, “push”, “checkout” among others. Through this platform, programmers have the opportunity to maintain their code, while creating the wonderful world of open sourcery. GitHub has emerged over the past few years as the most important platform for programmers to make their source code open and work with others around the globe towards constant improvements.
And now after the brief talk, let’s get to the big news. “The tech-giant, Microsoft Corporation has acquired GitHub for a whopping 7.5 billion dollars!” That a staggering amount of money, isn’t it? Now let’s backtrack a bit and understand a bit more about Git and GitHub. Simply put, Git is a free software; written by none other than Linus Torvalds, the man behind Linux, back in 2005; which keeps track of the changes made in a set of files. GitHub is an online tool which makes it easier to use this software. With Git, you can create infinite 'copy branches' of the 'master', and write awful creative codes with a giant undo button to make sure you don't destroy the software. Git is the sand to play with, and GitHub is our playground. Everybody uses GitHub. The likes of Google and Facebook Inc. use it to release code, as does Walmart Inc. Your favourite company probably uses GitHub. It’s free to use; you pay for more storage and advanced features. GitHub has run its Web-based hosting service and open source code repository -- relying on the Git version control system -- for ten years, boasting of more than 1.8 million businesses and organisations as its current users.
In the pre-git era, you updated your software and sent CDs to your users. Strangers sent their codes, and you used to validate each one of them if you had the time. Enter GitHub, and your software can be toyed with the whole world and might become something you didn't even imagine. That is the beauty of open-source. Hundreds of people might be working on a single code while elsewhere, maybe 10 people would be working on around 100 code things. GitHub makes that doable.
The developer community will be on its toes to see the changes that are bound to unravel. This acquisition provides an overall Undo button for Mircosoft, from officially open-source hating Steve Ballmer, who mind you, called Linux a "cancer", to Git hugging Satya Nadella. Probably it's with the tradition of India that we love to share and see the world as one big family. The tech giant though has a long history of opposing open software, and of destroying some dominant companies by acquiring them, be it LinkedIn, Skype, Nokia or aQuantive. This less-than-stellar, for some even dangerous, past is spelling out a lot of distrust among the GitHub developers. Hours after the deal was announced, GitHub alternative GitLab reported that it saw ten times the average daily number of repositories being migrated from GitHub to its service. SourceForge made similar claims. Some developers believe that Microsoft might co-opt their codes for future products or that they’ll be strong-armed into exclusively using the company’s products, given Microsoft's dreams of making everything Windows exclusive. There’s also some murmurs among devs that the tech giant might add tracking or advertisements to all of GitHub’s sites, according to Slashdot. There's also a fear, after Facebook's disposition, that Microsoft might also look into the repositories of the devs. Microsoft, known for sending, quite frankly, irritating updates make the devs feel that they'll overkill additional features on GitHub. Note that GitLab is also looked down upon because of their regular updates making the website crash quite often.
However, one mustn't picture Microsoft as Big Brother from 1984. In recent years, Microsoft has shown promise of being developer friendly. Windows Subsystem for Linux is pretty neat, and developers are having a hard time in criticising the bash integration into the command line. Visual Studio Code has defeated Sublime Text quite often as the best text editor for development. Moreover, Microsoft has the power not only to integrate GitHub into its suite of developer tools and offerings but also into its broader suite of business tools. It will be especially exciting if this move allows GitHub integrators to more profoundly and natively integrate with other parts of the Microsoft DevOps stack, precisely at the infrastructure layer. This is an incredibly compelling plan to bring non-developers and even non-technical workers closer to the code. Git is scary. It's lines of codes which most people tend to pass on to the Asians in the backyard. Which is why typically collaborations happen over Email, and why WhatsApp still is the most active medium of communication. With this acquisition, one can believe that Microsoft will put more efforts into providing a better interface than the typical command line sphere. One also sees Azure, the cloud computing branch of Microsoft, gaining a lot from this acquisition. One has to download the whole code every time to check the changes made, but if tightly integrated, one might prefer to use the cloud Azure and run the software there instead of downloading it.
Git is the advocate of the harsh truth in computing and probably in life as well, the world is ever-shifting, and nothing is ever finished. Codefest appreciates the collaborative efforts of developers and envisions a better future for the open-source community with this acquisition.