back to article Microsoft will ‘lose developers for a generation’ if it stuffs up GitHub, says future CEO

GitHub’s future CEO Nat Friedman has conducted a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) session and outlined a little of what Microsoft plans to do with the collaborative code locker once the acquisition is formalised and admitted that “if Microsoft screws this up, we will lose the trust of developers for a generation.” Friedman, who …

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Re: ROFL

Weirdly, I'm back to trusting SourceForge. Yes, there are a ton of adverts, but the new management actually seem to be honest and upfront about what they're doing - no more malvertising inserted into binaries, for a start. And following them talking with devs on Twitter actually makes me feel they mean what they say.

I know, I'm probably the last one left, right?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: ROFL

> I know, I'm probably the last one left, right?

You are not alone. Sourceforge is good again, I am using it again as well. And it has features (e.g. binary downloads with mirrors near you) that Github never had or implemented in useless way.

And Slashdot.org is smaller than it was but still good too, better than Reddit and HackerNews these days - were sponsored FUD, paid M$ shills and naive fanboys litter the forums of the later.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: ROFL

How's the new ownership of Sourceforge (and Slashdot) compared to Dice Holdings Inc?

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Re: ROFL

"better than Reddit and HackerNews"

If that's not damning with faint praise, I don't know what is!

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Big Brother

Re: ROFL

"Lose the trust of a generation of developers?"

It's been slowly happening ever since ".Not" C-pound Silverlight "The Metro" and UWP.

Why should THIS be any different?

I _am_ concerned about my GitHub login becoming a "microsoft logon" though, with their EULA...

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Re: ROFL

Earth to Bob ... It's been happening since the days of "DOS isn't done 'til Lotus won't run" and he various lists of so-called "undocumented" DOS system calls that circulated around BBSes and USENET in the mid 1980s. Some folks are just slower on the uptake than others.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Mirror sites

GitHub (etc) has mirror sites as well: it stores content on CDNs, so it’s just not as immediately apparent upfront that you are still nevertheless downloading from somewhere internet-local to you, rather than from an actual named mirror site.

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This isn't about generations forgetting past sins. Developers know Microsoft is foul company and pass down that knowledge to future developers.

Microsoft lost our passion and trust years ago, permanently with their DRM and developer licenses

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Foul company

Agreed, but (or and) in principle MS cannot - simply CANNOT - adopt a benign, paternalistic attitude towards an acquisition such as GitHub, or any acquisition. Line managers may want to. Nardella may even want to but they are all answerable to the Board (who are answerable to shareholders) who will sooner or later ask “What did we pay all this frigging money for? Where is the Return on Investment?”

Oh and by the way, a warm, cuddly feeling that a company is “doing the right thing” does not qualify as RoI.

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Re: Foul company

"Where is the Return on Investment?”

Given the number of commits and source they claim to have put into GitHub, it seems to me M$ didn't have an option?

GitHub business model not working, so Microsoft would feel just like we do now if someone else bought it.

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Anonymous Coward

Substitute the name of Nat Friedman to Stephen Elop and you get the idea of Github's future.

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There's no reason for playing coy : Microsoft is buying GitHub, so GitHub will die.

At this point in time, the reality of it is statistically mandatory.

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Unhappy

One consequence of the imminent acquisition appears to be difficulty connecting. It's been a bit sluggish off and on and was down (for me, not colleagues) earlier this week for an hour. Right now it appears to be down again. I'm not blaming MS though. More likely it's some silly disgruntled skiddie showing their disapproval.

That's the down-side of cloud repositories. At least I'm only wanting to push at the moment, not pull. I'll be more worried at EOB today.

Edit: It's back. For the moment.

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If they screw this up they will lose trust.

After Skype, Nokia, Windows Phone, Danger, Windows Mobile, the many recent apps they have purchased and all the previous acquisitions in yesteryear only to sunset i'm surprised that they think this will be an issue only now.

It's not like they've done it enough times for people to be wary almost instantly, is it?

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TVU
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"After Skype, Nokia, Windows Phone, Danger, Windows Mobile, the many recent apps they have purchased and all the previous acquisitions in yesteryear only to sunset i'm surprised that they think this will be an issue only now"

^ That all helps to explain the huge level of distrust and apprehension among developers about Microsoft's acquisition of GitHub. New CEO Nat Friedman is saying the right things about retaining independence, respecting developers and maintaining Atom but he now needs to back up those promises with actual deeds and actions.

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"New CEO Nat Friedman is saying the right things about retaining independence, respecting developers and maintaining Atom"

Generally speaking, talk is cheap. When that talk is coming from Microsoft or any Microsoft lackey, it's completely devoid of value.

The only thing that matters is action, and when you've thoroughly burned and salted the fields of trust as Microsoft has done, it has to be consistent action over a period of years before you can even think about the possibility of regaining trust.

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Lose the trust of developers for a generation?

My dad doesn't trust Redmond. I don't trust Redmond. My daughter doesn't trust Redmond. So that's three generations already ... And my Granddaughter's machine will run Cupertino, Redmond or Slackware as she sees fit. She lives in Slackware unless the school forces her into Apple or Microsoft, and then she grumbles.

Can't lose what you don't have.

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N2

Re: Lose the trust of developers for a generation?

Agreed,

I think as parents and grand-parents we have a duty to educate the next generation.

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Decentralised

The nice thing (well, one of them) about git is that it is based on a decentralised world view - compare this to subversion: if you cannot reach the repository you cannot do any commits, merges, rollbacks, branches, etc. True, for some of these(*) you would want to fetch the current state of some "master" repo in the git world as well, but in principle it works. And you have the full history in your checked out version, which you could use as the base to start from when you need to jump ship quickly.

(*) depends on the project size, if you need to submit the changes as pull requests, how fast the code base changes, how much time troubleshooting the merges you want to spend on in the future etc.

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Re: Decentralised

The point of github though is that it is central. Somewhere to post open source projects that people can immediately find and use them.

If github shut down tomorrow the code would still exist on hundreds of users machines -but it would be a lot harder to find, use and improve.

Back to a world of mailing lists, personal websites and tarball downloads

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Re: Decentralised

"Back to a world of mailing lists, personal websites and tarball downloads"

All of which are quite useful, and so never went anywhere ... But the real point is that there are alternatives to GitHub. I suspect one, maybe two of them will begin to predominate as Redmond's purchase withers.

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Re: Decentralised

"Back to a world of mailing lists, personal websites and tarball downloads"

Not really, just forward to one of a million github imitators that will spring up (assuming the current trend of cloud companies offering services for free with no sign of a business model continues unabated as it has for 20 years).

Switching between git suppliers is trivial thanks to the basic nature of git, so I don't think many devs will lose sleep over that.

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Coat

Dear MS,

FYI, not everyone who does intend to leave has actually made his move yet.

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Anonymous Coward

Snap (Snapchat) is moving off Github

Many companies are in the progress of moving off Github at the moment. e.g. Snapchat

The worst thing is that many companies had their private repositories on Github cloud. And now the worst company ever, has full read access to their source code. Think of the horror - M$$ will clone the competitors software soon!!

https://github.com/Snapchat/xctool says "Access to this repository has been disabled while it is being migrated." (same message for all ther repos on Github)

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The Era of Bubble-Fuelled Colonialism Capitalism

The worst thing is that many companies had their private repositories on Github cloud. And now the worst company ever, has full read access to their source code. Think of the horror - M$$ will clone the competitors software soon!!

They better maintain a "firewall" on that because once words get out or suspicions are raise, they can say bu-bye to the entire Azure #MeToo Cloud.

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EEE

So that's the first E.

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Anonymous Coward

No worries about losing developers

Just get Steve Ballmer back from his crappy NBA team, put him on the stage and let him scream "DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS!"

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Re: No worries about losing developers

But that's only three DEVELOPERS!

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Trollface

Re: No worries about losing developers

"But that's only three DEVELOPERS!"

they must've lost one already

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Facepalm

Better indeed

Hello:

“We want to wait for the dust to settle and better understand what Microsoft’s plans are for GitHub."

I see ...

To better understand what Microsoft’s plans are.

Really now ...

Is it possible that at this stage of the IT game (2018) you actually need to wait for anything to better understand Microshaft's plans?

I believe this phrase applies, improve by using "ignore" in lieu of "don't know" :

"Those who don't know history are destined to repeat it."

Edmund Burke (1729-1797)

Have a good week-end.

O.

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Anonymous Coward

Microsoft the Scorpion vs Developer the Frog

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Scorpion_and_the_Frog

---

"A scorpion asks a frog to carry it across a river. The frog hesitates, afraid of being stung, but the scorpion argues that if it did so, they would both drown. Considering this, the frog agrees, but midway across the river the scorpion does indeed sting the frog, dooming them both. When the frog asks the scorpion why, the scorpion replies that it was in its nature to do so."

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Re: Microsoft the Scorpion vs Developer the Frog

Thus the origin of Sadfrog

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Anonymous Coward

Reddit censors and shadow bans and is related to Github

> “It's working well,” he said.

> And so did the AMA, which was received well by recipients.

Reddit censors comments and shadow bans accounts and is related to Github. Both Github and Reddit were baked by the same YC acce, and they are famous that stuff.

So "AMA was received well by recipient" just means heavily moderated.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Reddit censors and shadow bans and is related to Github

Reddit's censorship largely depends on the mods in charge of the particular subreddit.

Don't be surprised if some of those mods had been paid off with Microsoft money. After all, it happened for politics not too long ago.

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Anonymous Coward

"Minecraft and LinkedIn are examples where Microsoft acquired a successful platform, provided the companies with the resources they needed to accelerate, then let them continue to operate independently.”

Except now LinkedIn keeps mailing people in your address book inviting them to join LinkedIn, and the emails are designed to look like they came personally from your friends rather than an automated mailer..

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Yes, that they cite LinkedIn as an example of "doing it right" is very, very concerning. LinkedIn became much worse after it was acquired, which is why I deleted my account there.

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Anonymous Coward

'Microsoft will ‘lose developers for a generation’

They already have.... As a long-time MS dev and promoter, I no longer use Microsoft software anymore.

For starters... How can the Chairman of Microsoft tell the bold-faced lies below? Nadella does the same thing just a few months before, and nobody questions it either??? Everyone here gets it, and yet no one in government and only a few in the media ever challenge it. Yet its the very same evasive / double-speak that Zuckerberg puked over lawmakers on 2 continents in his 'test-of-mony'.

Things started to go very bad with Win10 upgrade Malware, and continued with forced updates and privacy bait & switch. But ... If only there was Win10-LTSB availability for smaller firms and independent consultants for an extra fee without slurp. But no... Like Facebook / Google Privacy post GDPR, its take-it or leave it. Here's hoping Schrems / NOYB send off a sue-ball off to Redmond soon! Any chance Max?

Microsoft have always been a cult. But they have completely escaped public scrutiny versus Facebook. Why is that? And where are the insiders and front-line staff? They don't hear any of this criticism, or have zero channels to report it up the ranks... Whoever is running the Church of Slurpology at Microsoft, need to wake the fuck up... You don't want scorned developers stabbing you in the back at every turn. Thousands of little cuts add up to one fatal one eventually!

----------------

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-04-30/if-microsoft-finds-another-linkedin-deal-chairman-is-all-in

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-09-28/microsoft-ceo-urges-tech-to-focus-on-self-policing-not-regulation-fears

https://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/3028147/updategate-microsoft-is-forcing-windows-10-build-1709-to-users-who-opted-out

https://www.computerworld.com/article/2917799/microsoft-windows/microsoft-fleshes-out-windows-as-a-service-revenue-strategy.html

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we will lose the trust of developers for a generation

What trust? lol

Does anybody still trust Microsoft? I mean, users and developers alike?!

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Re: we will lose the trust of developers for a generation

"...What trust? lol

Does anybody still trust Microsoft? I mean, users and developers alike?!..."

I've mentioned before but back around 2001/2 I was stood waiting to go into a meeting room at the place I worked.

I noticed on the filing cabinet beside me there was a small gold sticker - only about 1/4" by 1" in size with quite tiny text.

When I got close enough to read the text it said "Trust Microsoft? How can you possibly trust a company that if left alone in a room with the truth would cause a matter/anti-matter explosion"

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Mobile frist

Well clearly, first redesign the whole site so it look great on 3" phone-screens.

I'm thinking big beautiful text, max 3 lines on each page,

and all buttons should be tiles, and they should be big big BIG!

And all pages should have candy crush on them, for when you want to have FUN!

so in conclusion:

* BIG!

* TILES!

* FUN!

That what the kids want, and its modern.

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Re: Mobile frist

You forgot demanding the installation of Adobe Flash.

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Re: Mobile frist

Silverlight.

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Childcatcher

Future Conference Check-Ins

"Please have ALL your licenses in order BEFORE you step up to the registration desk....."

Anyone without a valid Windows 10 Product ID will NOT be permitted to attend.

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I see a trend...

I was only on LinkedIn coz so called recruitment experts told me I should be on there to help get work. So I joined, and not long after that Microsoft bought it, so I left. Didn't help me get any work.

Recently so called recruitment experts have been telling me I should list my GitHub account on my resume, to help get work. I was planning on doing that soon, until Microsoft bought GitHub.

Considering that a so called recruitment expert, while writing a new resume for me, managed to a) spell my name wrong, and b) left a reminder of his lunch date in it, I'm beginning to think the only thing recruitment experts are good at is predicting Microsoft acquisitions.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I see a trend...

I believe those in the recruitment industry pay a pretty penny for Linkedin Premium, so they're hooked up to Microsoft's 'ecosystem', now including Github.

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JLV
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Boffin

if Github was running out of money

Then MS's involvement is a bit less toxic. The Ars commentards for one seem fairly down with it. Part of it is the sheer lack of less toxic suitors - Oracle or IBM, for example? Google and Apple are not obviously much better. FB and Amazon even less so.

There is even one potential upside, which is that, done well, this could really give open source credibility in stodgy ol' Enterprisey companies that have never looked at open source. I.e. it could open a lot of doors to suits that perceive open source as the domain of hippies and beardies, if they're aware of it at all.

But, yes, if MS screws that up, and on past record it would not be an unreasonable expectation for them to do so, then they will have done that very publicly and alienated a core constituency.

The less they do and the more they lay low for the next year or so, the better.

Be lazy. Don't change things.

Don't change them "the MS way". Don't monetize openly on the site. Don't telemetrize. Under promise, over deliver. Put necklace bombs around your rah-rah marketing and PR people and have them set to blow up if they go anywhere near the site. Shoot anyone who thinks of automating LinkedIn integration.

You need to commit, very strongly, and with the appointment of an internal ombudsman and external auditors, that private repos will not be accessible by MS at large and will only be looked at when required to support customers. OK, sensible companies with any possible competition w you will flee anyway, but at least it will show you understand the issue and respect your users.

Pick a few long hurting problem areas identified as needing improvement by the community and try fixing them.

Given that "security and MS" often rhymes with "security and Adobe", and that Github repo poisoning has been a potential issue in the past, be doubly careful - you don't want to reinforce negative associations here. Time to invest in maybe some predictive analytics/machine learning to flag things like typo squatting.

Surprise us.

Sounds ungrateful to someone who just overpaid to the tune of $7.5B, but that's now your shareholders' problem, not ours. Remember that many people expect you to fail and it will be visible enough that you want to think 3 times before doing your business as usual.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: if Github was running out of money

Your thinking, while good intended and all, is way to naive. Do you really believe MS will turn Github for the better?

You couldn't be more wrong - as MS history shows again and again, and Nadella is worse in every regard (malware, adware, spying for NSA) than Balmer ever was.

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Trollface

I don't trust Microsoft

with anything & I never will

Niether do my wife, our son & daughter

and we will make sure our grandchilren don't trust them either.

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Hotmail

Remember them? It was solid, reliable. Then Microsoft forced the operators to move hundreds of servers from Linux to NT Server. It was no good for months.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hotmail

Also, many dormant inboxes were wiped out during the transition from Hotmail (Windows Live Mail) to Outlook dot com ('modern' style UI).

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