Do you fully trust Microsoft with GitHub?

With Microsoft acquiring GitHub, users have to decide if they will leave their repositories on GitHub or move backup copies to GitLab.

Do you fully trust Microsoft with GitHub?

There’s a lot of unease out there on the interwebs as more than 28 million developers will be affected by Microsoft’s acquisition of GitHub. Some may be fine with it, but you can be sure not all are.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella tried to ease any fears by saying, “Microsoft is a developer-first company, and by joining forces with GitHub we strengthen our commitment to developer freedom, openness and innovation. We recognize the community responsibility we take on with this agreement and will do our best work to empower every developer to build, innovate and solve the world’s most pressing challenges.”

GitHub will retain its developer-first ethos and will operate independently to provide an open platform for all developers in all industries. Developers will continue to be able to use the programming languages, tools and operating systems of their choice for their projects — and will still be able to deploy their code to any operating system, any cloud and any device.

Before the deal was even done, GitLab saw a tenfold increase in the normal daily number of repositories being moved.

Yesterday, after Microsoft officially announced it was acquiring GitHub for $7.5 billion in Microsoft stock, imported repositories skyrocketed.

gitlab imported repositories GitLab (CC BY-SA 4.0)
gitlab imported GitLab (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Now sure, Microsoft is not the same company it was years ago when it abhorred open source — when CEO Steve Ballmer called open source a “cancer.” That was something pointed out back in 2014 when Microsoft employee Scott Hanselman explained that some of the people who hate Microsoft do so with “generational anger” along the lines of “Microsoft killed my Pappy.” He pointed out numerous ways the company had changed in good ways, such as putting source code on GitHub, open-sourcing parts of .Net, Azure and Visual Studio.

Taking another approach back in 2013, a Microsoft employee tried to up people’s respect for Microsoft by explaining how Microsoft invented, or invisibly runs, almost everything.

Since the Microsoft-buys-GitHub drama started, some folks point at how Microsoft “ruined” Skype when it was acquired for $8.5 million in in 2011. To that line of thinking, others point out how well Microsoft handled LinkedIn after the $26.2 acquisition in in 2016. Yet others bring up the point that Microsoft built all that spying crap into Windows 10.

Microsoft has changed, but do you trust it?

But The Wall Street Journal believes that by buying GitHub, Microsoft’s old reputation will finally be laid to rest. The company has its hand in RedHat, joined the Linux Foundation, open-sourced PowerShell and made it available on Linux, worked with Canonical to run Ubuntu on Windows and is a top contributor to GitHub.

If you look at the recent past, since Nadella became CEO, then Microsoft seems to have changed a great deal. Assuming you did hate Microsoft at one point, and that you may not now, the question is: Do you trust it?

Security expert Dr. Vesselin Bontchev suggested it might be wise to have backup copies of your work moved over to GitLab.

Of the 85 million or so repositories on GitHub, some belong to Microsoft competitors such as Amazon and Google, to name a but a few big names. Microsoft’s competitors will likely leave GitHub, but will you even though Microsoft swears it wants to be buddies with developers?

Copyright © 2018 IDG Communications, Inc.

The 10 most powerful cybersecurity companies