Microsoft has embraced open source software in a number of ways in recent years. The company has added native support for command-line Linux tools to Windows 10 in an effort to court developers and other GNU/Linux enthusiasts. And, acknowledging that the full Windows kernel might not be the right tool for every situation, Microsoft even released an IoT (Internet of Things) operating system with its own custom Linux kernel earlier this year.
So maybe it’s not a huge surprise that Microsoft is now planning to acquire GitHub.
The company says it plans to pay $7.5 billion to acquire the online platform developers use to host, share, collaborate on, and fork open source software code.
Microsoft says GitHub will operate as an independent company and continue “to provide an open platform for all developers in all industries,” and not just serve as a host for Microsoft projects. But there will be a change in leadership.
GitHub’s CEO Chris Warnstrath will join Microsoft as a “technical fellow,” while Microsoft VP Nat Friedman, who founded Xamarin, will become the new CEO of GitHub.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella says the move will also allow Microsoft to get its developer tools and services in front of new audiences, which suggests that acquiring GitHub is part of an effort not only to support open source… but to get open source developers interested in working on software that works with Microsoft operating systems. He also suggests acquiring GitHub will “accelerate enterprise developers’ use of GitHub, with our direct sales and partner channels and access to Microsoft’s global cloud infrastructure and services.”
Still, the acquisition does seem to be causing some angst among some folks. Microsoft only confirmed the deal this morning, but after Bloomberg first reported on the company’s rumored plan to buy GitHub, rival platform GitLab saw a huge spike in activity, and a bunch of posts at Hacker News have featured pretty active discussions about the move, featuring a range of opinions. Comments at sites specifically targeting Linux users, such as Phoronix, have been more uniformly skeptical of Microsoft’s intentions.
The deal is expected to close later this year.