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Microsoft and GitHub

By Steve Jones,

I started using git with GitHub. I thought their hosted service was fantastic, and have seen quite a few companies using private repos for their internal code, including my employer, Redgate. I see companies from Five Thirty Eight to releasing their data to the MuseScore sheet music software to TensorFlow to Programmer's Proverbs. There are no shortage of useful, inspiring, and helpful repos you can browse. There are also plenty of silly ones, like the 

I have a GitHub folder on all my machines, and that's become the place where I just stick repos. Some of them go to VSTS, some to Bitbucket, but I still always think of GitHub first when writing code. The others work great, and I'm glad we have choice, but I've always been fond of GitHub as a company that opened up a place to share code and data in a way that was somehow more attractive and easier than SoundForce or Codeplex or any other location. Maybe it's the ease of git, but I really liked the site. The GitHub for Windows, not so much, but I don't expect everything a company does to be perfect.

Microsoft is buying the company, and GitHub seems fine with this. As one of the heaviest users of GitHub, Microsoft has been releasing their code on the platform for some time. This seems like there are some synergies here, and this is a great way for Microsoft to continue to open up some of their code and support the development community on all platforms, languages, and environments. Microsoft has said that they'll keep the open source model, though there is no shortage of concerns and complaints. There are also a fair number of jokesThe Linux Foundation isn't upset, which should make some people rethink their concerns.

This is an interesting topic for me, and I brought up concerns over IP with some people inside my company. After all, we compete directly with Microsoft in some places, and we wouldn't them to copy (and rewrite) our code to add to their products. That could dramatically affect our business, but no one worries about that. Decompilers and our own Reflector could be used to understand how algorithms are implemented, and certainly Microsoft has the resources to do this if they want to. They don't, and there are other business and legal protections to prevent this. 

In some sense, the actual code really isn't as important as many of us think. Certainly it's not in SQL Server where our object is readable by whoever controls the instance. That includes your encrypted code, which can be easily rendered readable. I've often thought that the value I provide with my code is that I wrote it, I support it, and I ensure you don't burn way more time doing those things than necessary.

I think for the most part GitHub isn't going to change for me. I'll still post code out there for demos and presentations and even sharing some code with my kid as he learns to program. It will take time for Microsoft to assimilate parts of the company, but overall, I expect that most of the platform will remain the same for a long time, especially if Microsoft can get more enterprise customers to use it for their systems, especially their database code.

 
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