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Microsoft to acquire Github

04 June 2018

The news is causing some angst for programmers - GitHub is the center of the world of open source software development, and Microsoft has a history of treating open source like the enemy.

Both Microsoft and GitHub haven't responded to requests for comment. GitHub calls itself the world's largest code host with more than 28 million developers using its platform.

"[.] the real power comes when every developer can create together, collaborate, share code and build on each other's work". According to Bloomberg, it's about to be taken over by Microsoft, with an official announcement of the acquisition possibly set for later today. Indeed, Microsoft is the most active open source developer on GitHub today. Microsoft corporate vice president and founder of Xamarin, Nat Friedman, will become the new GitHub CEO. This acquisition would bring about 27 million software developers to Microsoft, though not all of them are excited by the potential purchase. Wanstrath will be a technical fellow at Microsoft.

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The new Microsoft under CEO Satya Nadella strikes us as a very different company from the Microsoft of ten years ago - especially given that the new Microsoft has embraced open source - but it's hard to forget its earlier history of trying to suppress Linux.

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Nevertheless, Nadella is one man, and many of his policies, particularly surrounding the companies hero products like Windows and Office, are deeply divisive (understatement). David Heinemeier Hansson, creator of the Ruby on Rails framework, joined people that were forlorn about the deal, and tweeted that this would be a "sad end to the independence of GitHub". Microsoft has since invested heavily in open source, including acquiring open source startups.

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The acquisition arrives at a time when experts say Wall Street has rewarded Microsoft for its long-term investment in cloud computing and its shifting, more open work culture fostered by chief executive Satya Nadella.

Last year, the software giant shut down CodePlex, its own rival for GitHub, saying the latter was the dominant location for open source sharing and that most such projects had already migrated there. Furthermore, it has been looking for a new CEO for the last nine months.

"It's a logical and rational step for Microsoft", she said. It said Github would continue to operate independently.

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Microsoft to acquire Github