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Are we giving GitHub too much control?

faraazahmad profile image Syed Faraaz Ahmad ・1 min read

It's great that GitHub is announcing all these cool new features that developers need, but with open source development happening mostly on GitHub, should we be worried that we're giving GitHub too much control? IF (and that's a very big if) GitHub does go rogue, what could the worst case scenario look like? Assuming that people would just migrate to other sites (GitLab et al) that would still mean a lot of work would have to be done.

Now, I know that people can just set up GitLab locally, is there a Mastodon like solution but for open source development? What could the pros and cons of such a service be?

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rhymes profile image
rhymes

Migration is just a git push away (you add a new remote and push there), I'm not worried about the lock-in.

Git was created as a distributed source control system from the start fortunately.

It might be harder to move for some projects now that sponsorships are offered through the platform but I don't know if the agreement requires for the Git repo to be hosted on github.com at all times, maybe you know.

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morgenpeschke profile image
Morgen Peschke

I don't think it's that big of an "if".

For all of the talk about embracing Open Source, MS is following a very familiar playbook.

They embraced Open Source, and are extending Github in ways that make it harder to leave their ecosystem. Maybe they've changed their MO, but in the past "extinguish" tends to follow.

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roylarsen profile image
Roy Larsen

Personally, since MS has gone all-in on Azure, they don't have a reason to care about OS wars. Windows on the Desktop isn't going anywhere and don't really have a threat, Xbox couldn't be bigger, and the only real competitor to O365 is Google Apps.

They figured out how to monetize their biggest OS rival. They have no reason to extinguish. It's in their best interest to contribute to Open Source in good faith these days.

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morgenpeschke profile image
Morgen Peschke

EEE was never about the OS wars, Microsoft has always controlled the desktop market share via supplier contracts.

EEE was about controlling the web. At this point, with Edge now built on top of Chromium, they've conceded that battle.

Currently, it looks like this article may have correctly identified why Microsoft wanted GitHub: that's where the developers are.

If they leverage this the way they seem headed, they'll try to funnel projects into the Azure ecosystem, with the aim of reducing Google and Amazon's dominance of the Cloud Services market. Note: I don't particularly trust Google, and I definitely don't trust Amazon, so the reduction of their marketshare isn't a bad thing, as long as it doesn't result from Microsoft going rouge again.

They might try leverage their dominance in other areas to push out GitLab and other git hosting competitors, as a way to increase their GitHub to Azure pipeline, or they might compete fairly. We don't currently know how this will play out, Microsoft may well keep things above board, but I don't think we can necessarily trust them to do so, based on the blemishes on their record.

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roylarsen profile image
Roy Larsen

Oh, we should absolutely trust none of these companies.

I just think that the MSFT under Nadella is night and day different than the MSFT under Ballmer.

I'm absolutely expecting them to prove me wrong and that nothing is different.

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kryptosfr profile image
Nicolas Musset

Still living in 1990 I see...

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morgenpeschke profile image
Morgen Peschke

Nice ad hominem, do you have any response to what I actually said, rather than simply taking a jab?

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kryptosfr profile image
Nicolas Musset

Irony, irony.

You are making the ad hominem attack on Microsoft, and then asks me to raise the level?

For your information, the embrace, extend, extinguish was never really a policy a Microsoft. It was mentioned once during a trial by an external contractor who pretended it was used internally at Microsoft. What Microsoft was doing is what any other company of the time was doing, be competitive and fight to keep their market share. Nothing wrong here, it is how capitalism works.

In any case, those events took place more than 20 years ago. For the last decade, Microsoft has proven that they invest heavily in open source and the so-called extinguish step has never materialized in any fashion.

So when I said you still lived in the 1990s, I meant it literally. A fact is not an ad hominem, it is a fact.

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morgenpeschke profile image
Morgen Peschke

That's not how ad hominem works.

I noted that Microsoft has a long-established pattern of behavior which makes them untrustworthy. You attacked me directly. There's a world of difference between, "Microsoft has a consistent record of being an bad actor", and "your opinion is invalid because you're living in the 90s".

You are also working off invalid data, testimony was given in court, under oath, that EEE was an internal policy at Microsoft. If they were lying, that would have been the greatest gift they could have possibly given Microsoft's lawyers. As they were unable to successfully challenge that statement, I consider it to be very credible testimony.

While true that EEE was not explicitly used to refer to previous actions which fall into this pattern, it remains an accurate description of the tactics used by Microsoft from about as quickly as they achieved sufficient market saturation for it to be a workable strategy.

If you're counting, that means we can trace EEE style tactics (or defense of the same) as far back as 1995, and as recent as 2007, so using 2x as a rule of thumb for trust recovery, I'll be willing to entertain the idea Microsoft has changed it's corporate strategy around 2031 - provided they don't relapse.

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georgecoldham profile image
George

I wonder about control over what?

Any T&C’s that could change to change ownership etc. Would cause them to lose future business.

Being based entirely around git stops them from creating vendor lock, gitlab also keeps them in check with that.

Imo: Github offers less than Gitlab, but has the benefit of being almost synonymous with git for people new to the industry. The free tier is what gets them business in the long term.

I’m curious for any examples of something that would be a lot of work to transfer from github to any other git-repo hosting site.

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xyberviri profile image
James Velasquez

All of this tinfoil hat stuff was fun when I was in my twenties, its honestly tiring now.

I have access to gitlab, I can make local gits.. github is just a name people can easily forget like Myspace.

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jimmytipit profile image
Jimmy McArthur

Here's a completely open source alternative: opendev.org/

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wjnbreu profile image
William J.N. Breuer

This is a really good point you raise, it's heaven as a user right now having so many tools readily available. On the other hand, being owned by Microsoft makes me a little nervous.

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faraazahmad profile image
Syed Faraaz Ahmad Author

That's essentially what my concern is, all this feels too good to be true and I feel like some shit is about to go down soon. That might just be being paranoid or something, but I like to know my options, just in case I'd ever need them.