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GitHub on the acquisition by Microsoft

Congratulations to GitHub on their acquisition by Microsoft! This is validation of the growing influence of software developers in the world, and the importance of modern DevOps. The software community owes a lot to GitHub, and that includes the GitLab community. GitLab was first developed on GitHub and found its first contributors through it.

Code collaboration before GitHub

Over the years, code collaboration has come a long way. Many developers will remember how code was often hosted on private websites, FTP servers, email, and IRC. We used to stuff a floppy disk or CD-ROM with code and mail it back and forth, or send patches to newsgroups or mailing lists in order to share and work on code together. It was a painful, error-prone time.
Git, the version control system used by GitHub, GitLab, and others, was first introduced in 2005. It allowed developers to work asynchronously, across the globe, on the same code. GitWeb went a step further, with its web interface for browsing a Git repository, including viewing contents of files, commit messages, and more.
SourceForge offered the first glimpse of modern code collaboration by offering a central location to host and manage free, open source projects. Despite limited functionality and a cumbersome UI, SourceForge started bringing developers together in one place.
Each step along the way improved the developer experience, allowed more people to contribute, and sped up the software development lifecycle.

A common place for code

GitHub launched in 2008. While Git version control was a starting point for better code collaboration, GitHub made it even easier. By applying modern communication features inspired by social media sites, GitHub empowered social coding. It provided the first truly accessible UI to manage and review feature branches, and the ability to merge them with one-click “Pull Requests.” As a result, open source projects flocked to GitHub as a place to not only host code, but to grow a community as well.
You’re probably well acquainted with GitHub. After all, it’s the go-to place for developers on our forums to upload the source code for their applications, custom kernels, custom AOSP-based ROMs, and much more. On the off-chance that you aren’t familiar with GitHub, it’s the most popular hosting service for Git repositories where you can upload the source code for your project and manage it with collaboration features such as bug tracking, commits, feature request, wikis, and more. GitHub has remained independent for the entirety of its existence, but that could change as Microsoft has reportedly agreed to purchase it.
It’s a stunning move if you consider Microsoft’s early history with regards to Linux, but less surprising given the company’s more recent history. Microsoft has slowly shifted their stance towards open source projects, even going so far as open sourcing core components of .NET, PowerShell, and Chakra Core. According to Bloomberg, which broke the story, Microsoft agreed to buy GitHub under thus far undisclosed terms (GitHub was last valued at $2 billion back in 2015, though, so we expect the 2018 valuation to be in the same ballpark). As a company, GitHub has had revenue and internal leadership issues for some time, and they’ve been looking for a new CEO for about 9 months. Under Microsoft, new leadership could turn things around for GitHub, at least financially.
It’s unclear how the acquisition will affect the service and the direction of the company both in the short run and the long run. We caution against panicking at the Microsoft acquisition unless there’s cause to do so—still, it’s always a good idea to never put all of your eggs in one basket and consider looking at alternatives if things go awry. One of the most popular competitors in the space, GitLab, is taking advantage of this news to tout their own service. GitLab has even published a well-timed tutorial on how to migrate your project from GitHub.