This month, much to the chagrin of many people, Github was purchased for a cool $7.5b in stocks by Microsoft. I was blissfully unaware of this when starting this blog using Github Pages.
There is a part of me that strongly wants to follow the pattern of those who object and start this site up elsewhere. It would be my right to do so and the change is not very difficult with GitLab and other resources. I would like it to be clear that I do not support proprietary software when free software is an option and do not approve of business practices that Microsoft has employed in the past to gain an absurd level of market dominance.
But my full thought process on this matter isn’t quite so knee-jerk, and my actions from here will likely not be impulsive, either.
You see, I’m weighing my ideological objections against the current evidence.
We have not seen the fruits of this change yet. I can conjure up a wealth of disastrous outcomes in my mind, from Microsoft no longer allowing GPL-licensed projects to insisting that all projects follow their particular guidelines or benefit them in some way. Yet this is nothing more than the fear of a slippery slope scenario. I have no reason to suppose the future will be so catastrophic yet. And further, those projects covered by licenses which do afford protection for the software are not endangered by such changes - they would only have to change location.
On the other hand, Microsoft has not been a friend of free software in the past, though the public voices of Microsoft now appear to be changing their tune. Can this particular pig sprout wings and fly? It is a leap of the imagination. Further, given their track record in acquiring other companies, I don’t know that we have good reasons to suppose that their decisions will lead to success. But assuming that the future will always follow perfectly from one company’s actions is also unreasonable. Companies change, and Github’s acquisition probably will not mean that Github ceases to be developer-driven altogether.
The long and short of all this is, I think I need more information before making a reasoned decision on the matter of jumping ship. If a storm does hit, I’ll be the first to admit that I was wrong in giving the benefit of the doubt.
Maybe I’ll book a trip on the nearest Porcine International™ jet.