Here is a recent example; because Microsoft made a deal with Lenovo, now new Thinkpads are designed for just Windows. If you're a Linux user, good luck in your new adventure. People say "isn't it like IOS or Android?"; it's not. We had this freedom of using Linux, and Microsoft has been taking it back.
Microsoft doesn't appreciate freedom, this is why they used to fight open source and make open source communities look like bunch of marginalized geeks. It's sad to see they now own Github.
As a Linux on ThinkPad user, I'd be very interested to learn more about this.
The Wikipedia article reads fairly neutral, e.g. 'Microsoft clarified...' Well, what I remember from that time, from the tech press (right or wrong/exagerated) was much more along the lines of 'Microsoft hacked a compromise in response to the increasing pressure of backlash' -- and this back and forth happening multiple times.
If you are using Linux you are using Linux kernel that is managed by git. Microsoft contributes to git.
This is a little misleading. MS does not contribute to git for Linux development. Instead, they only provide windows specific patches (AFAICT, would like to be proven wrong).
Their GVfs  is windows only, and they maintain a fork of Git with "microsoft specific patches" .
 - https://github.com/Microsoft/GVFS
 - https://github.com/Microsoft/git
All of those patches however were a pure necessity for them to implement GVfs.
A Thinkpad lasts for a very long time.
Person from city B: I hate the president. He never did anything good for our people.
Person from city A: On the contrary, this is the best president we had in forever. In fact he built 5 hospitals and 10 schools in our city alone! How can you possibly hate him?
Like, maybe Microsoft has contributed to some open source projects, but are these open source projects something everyone benefits from? I'm not even sure what their open source projects are.
Also, isn't it a big conflict of interest then? When the largest user of a platform also owns this platform, it kind of puts other projects at a huge disadvantage.
Of course, if MS wanted to dampen that reaction, they could distribute the whole code for GitHub as a platform under an open source license - I just can't imagine them doing that.
The list doesn't vary too much with the versions, so either they're working under the radar as "Unknown", or they barely contribute to the kernel.
The only thing taking your freedom back is the economics of selling Linux Desktops/Laptops. And the only thing stopping that is the Linux ecosystem fragmentation.
I'm sorry but no hardware vendor will lose sleep over some thousand developers wanting to run fragmented versions of Linux on their hardware.
>>Microsoft doesn't appreciate freedom
The purpose of companies is to maximize their profits.
>> this is why they used to fight open source and make open source communities look like bunch of marginalized geeks.
And they've by and large failed. The other part about open source's economics is beyond the scope of Microsoft's actions.
Companies change leadership, direction and style and it seems odd to suggest that there's some underlying quality which means that, regardless of that, you can never trust them (or in reverse that you should always trust a company you once trusted)
There seems to be a trope with Microsoft that they're still the same company they were in the 90's, but the senior leadership aren't the same people and I'd imagine neither are the staff.
Is that to say that the Github acquisition will be an unalloyed good, no.
but I would say that people shouldn't automatically assume that it'll be a disaster...
That said, since I like controversy: I'm happier to see Microsoft buy Github than I would be to see Google or Facebook buy it.
And also! A big shoutout to Linus for helping to make source control distributed and open, which means swapping between git providers (for the code at least) is simple, easy and impossible to block. The amount of good Linus has done for the world is incredible.
(edit: specifically benefits that couldn't be effectively addressed by making it a little difficult and scary to open that lockdown?)
The point about attackers with physical access is fair, though significantly mitigated on Androids (and Chromebooks I think) by a warning (of varying severity) that the OS has been modified. On my Nexus 5, it's a subtle "unlocked" icon, on my Moto G it's an unmissable red triangle on white background with "warranty void" and other scary words.
It's still vulnerable to the user getting a prebooted device and only seeing the warning on next boot, so not perfect, but also not the only imaginable defense. One could e.g. move initial authentication to the locked down "bios" phase so either (a) the warning is visible there and/or (b) the OS isn't replaceable in the first place without authentication.
And we should bear in mind that a malicious repair tech can probably convince a fair portion of the population to give away their password :/
"Others do it too" is not a very good justification in my mind.
I don't think whether one is more evil than Apple/iOS in this regard is a good benchmark.
(which would be the more apt point of reference)
There's a trade-off to be had between security/reliability and flexibility.
If MS were selling those devices as general purpose computers and then refusing to allow other OS installation, I think that would be dishonest, however as far as I'm aware they're not making such claims.
But ultimately true ownership, recyclability/reusability (Linux on aging hardware..), and hardware-independent OS competition are norms with significant benefits that we shouldn't give up lightly.
Realistically most people (numerically) don't want a computer, they want a thing that lets them communicate, create and consume content.
Lockdown isn't a problem for them, and walled gardens like iOS are generally the best way for them to stay secure.
If you provide a method to escape the sandbox, it is likely that attackers will work out how to exploit that. For example try going to facebook.com and open the developers tools. They've had to put a warning in there to stop people from "self-XSS" ...
And it's not just IT professionals, but also their friends and family, especially those that can't afford to or don't want to get a new device that often. I think this is a pretty significant set of people.
My two reservations:
1. I think such a lockdown is a kind of hidden anti-competitive "dark pattern" that benefits the seller much more than it benefits the consumer by significantly lowering the the reuse/resale value of the device. One could argue it makes the device cheaper to begin with, but I have serious doubts about that. The anti-competitive effect seems more likely to increase the price instead. Hindering reuse also implies an environmental impact, though I'm not sure how significant that is.
2. If lockdown becomes the norm for >99% of devices/users and even we tech people start to accept it the way of things, some sufficiently bribed lawmakers will no doubt be inclined to make unsurveiled general purpose computing illegal because "security" and "copyright" and "pro-business" etc. Yes, it's a "slipper slope" argument, but when it comes to social norms, I think that's a valid form of argument.
Security is a difficult topic, even for IT professionals, and it is easier to secure a locked down environment for non-technical users than an open one.
If you look at mobile platforms as an example, the prevalence of malware on Android compared to iOS is significant.
Now for many I'm sure that trade-off is worth it, but I also feel there is a place for more controlled environments.
But I'm under the impression that that is exceedingly rare and that Android has many way more pressing security concerns (e.g. the lack of driver security updates to even slightly old devices).
Also the control which allows users to install sofware from different sources, leads in many cases to them installing malware masquerading as "free games" or similar.
Android malware is a much larger problem than malware in the more controlled iOS world.
so to me that's a real trade off. you have control of your device and the ability to install software from more locations, however your security risks increase.
For some people that risk will be entirely justifiable, for others, it makes sense to have an option of a more locked down environment.
Personally I like Linux for servers (I have control/responsibility) but for my smartphone I use iOS as it's easier to secure and I don't really want to use that device for "proper" computing.
So clearly there's a significant demand (some of which I'm inclined to believe is very legitimate), and clearly there are significant dangers.
I guess in the end it comes down to the eternal debate of freedom vs safety. I find it very hard to side with the stance of protecting people from their own stupidity, beyond giving stern warnings. It feels sort of like giving up on cultural progress in humanity :/
And I think we could still do much more to mitigate this attack vector (Big flashy red lights with "probably a bad idea" in all-caps? Adding more fine-grained permissions so root is needed less?) before ceding yet more control to powerful organizations who are already, somehow, in a position to tax 30% of all software and IAP sales on most devices and reject apps that don't align with their interests.
They are computers, regardless of what sort of dress they wear, and users should have control over their own computing devices.
The problem with Microsoft wasn’t that their software sucks (some does, some is great).
It is that they have been bullying users and companies for the past 30 years. Many people point to a “new Microsoft”, and the win10 rollout is a stark counter example to that claim.
It is ultimately backed with NTFS and NT's buffer cache. Running a VM is still several orders of magnitude more productive. And you can't fix NTFS and NT now. It's impossible.
I was attempting to use AVR-gcc toolchain and some SCPI over serial stuff with WSL unsuccessfully.
Even cronjobs work… The performance is sometimes better than on native linux, as a few of the syscalls are better implemented on windows. The file performance is abysmal, but that only hurts if you're using npm (and there you're in a world of pain already anyways).
The only thing lacking, is that some debuggers don't work, which is a pity, but then I just start a docker container and mount it on my filesystem.
I am using services on it too actually, everything works as expected. I can actually create windows bat files to redirect to linux binaries, which lets me do for example OCaml development, with the linux toolchain, on a system that actually works reliably. (my experience is, that as of windows 10, desktop linux environments crash way more often than windows ones)
linux -> 1.3 seconds, all from buffer cache on a cranky old 10 year old HP desktop with 8 gig of RAM and bottom end SSD.
wsl -> over a minute on a 12 core i7 with high end m2 SSD, every time.
This is because of NTFS's awful performance on small files. The whole of Unix is file based and uses huge numbers of small files, as does source code generally so this is an end game scenario for the platform. It simply sucks!
This goes back to when we had SVN which would take 6-7 minutes to check a repo out onto NTFS versus 20-30 seconds onto ext4 on the same rust disks. SVN was treated like cancer by the organisation for what is fundamentally a platform limitation.
$ find ~/src | wc -l
- forced updates (and forced restarts that go along with that)
- OS level advertisements (even though you are still paying for the OS)
- impossible to configure privacy settings
That alone makes it one of the shittiest OS's ever released.
I'm not quite as cynical as the author of the OP when it comes to Microsoft's recent apparent change of direction, but who knows, that may just be naivety speaking.
"Nothing good coming from it" seems a bit of a stretch when we don't even know the terms of the deal yet - or indeed whether it's actually happening at all!
Personally I like Windows 10 as a general purpose client OS, WSL is great and stability for me across a number of devices has been very good.
How about disabling all of the "phone home" stuff, telemetry or whatever else? There is still only two options "Basic" and "Full" options without any "None" option and really most of the relevant options are scattered all over the place, making it a chore to disable them (and you need to redo that stuff every big update). This is either extremely dumb (which i doubt) or done with malicious intent so that people will miss stuff and/or get tired of them.
Unless they provide the means to completely stop all communication with their servers with a single switch, there is no reason to give them any benefit of the doubt.
You talk about the 90s, but it was in 2004 that the EU ruled against them, and 2008 that they were fined for ignoring that ruling. It was in 2011 that Ireland and Spain started to investigate them for additional anticompetitive practices (though I can't seem to find what cam from this).
Much more recently, they've been rather litigious with respect to patents (Microsoft uses patents offensively).
Then there's the telemetry stuff in windows and Skype centralization, and probably more that I don't know because...
What _has_ changed, is Microsoft's relevance. They're still huge in some markets, but many business' and individuals barely interact directly with the Microsoft platform/ecosystem.
But it's ok because someone said they're a new company and they have a new figurehead.
I don't buy it. I'd be an idiot to buy it. I've been around a long time and this is a typical corporate cycle. They run like the sunspot cycle. We're at a solar minima at the moment.
Secondly, with your point of view, as a society, you just promote abusing entities. Politicians, companies, anything with power really. They make a lot of bad things, on a lot of years, then benefit from it, and now boom, what ? Stairway to heaven, along with the loot they got from the misdeeds ?
This is how you end up with corrupted systems and unfair societies.
You don't have to punish them again and again for the crimes of yesterday. But yes, it's perfectly fair, and actually sane, to remember, and say you don't want to have more relationship with them now.
Would you avoid all google products (and indeed most other tech. companies) on that basis as well? they've had their fair share of things gone wrong, products killed etc.
I don't see that as a strong argument against an MS acquisition of GH. Microsoft have had quite a good story in recent times in the developer tools arena (e.g. Code)
So are you telling me that windows 10 has stopped forced updates (and the forced restarts that go along with that), stopped all OS-level advertisements, and made it easy to permanently turn off all telemetry on one settings page?
Or is their product still a flaming pile of shit?
Not disagreeing with your overall point, but culture can persist through employee and leadership turnover.
Their senior leadership consists of people who were obviously OK with working for Microsoft when it was performing all those misdeeds. They may have changed as people perhaps, but at some point the very same people who are making the strategic decisions now decided that working for the 90's incarnation of Microsoft was a morally acceptable choice. I'm not sure why I should suddenly start trusting these people now?
This is largely irrelevant. Saying Microsoft makes a lot of money from hosting Linux workloads on Linux machines does not change the fact they'd make even more profit if Google and AWS were unable to compete. In that regard, open source is a tool to lure workloads into an environment Microsoft can control and shape to its will.
Microsoft's incentives are still aligned with harming the parts of the open-source ecosystem that don't run on Windows. That has not changed (and won't, as long as they make and sell proprietary software platforms).
And what about their clients/cash flows? Microsoft still sells to enterprises and governments, so their incentives are to keep adding backdoors and Orwellian telemetry to everything.
At least in the late nineties I felt that Microsoft was merely unfair to their competitors. Now they're openly hostile to their end-users as well.
And besides, the current CEO was the one who went from Scroogled to mandatory telemetry, while focusing on renting out servers at a ridiculous markups. Don't forget the new focus on the Windows Store either. Or the locked-down ARM laptops.
So it's not like the current management is innocent either.
Anyone with any morals would never want to be associated with the Microsoft name, so anyone who does is untrustworthy by default.
As a thought experiment: Replace "Microsoft" with your favorite open source project and see if the argumentation still holds.
Do we really want to move towards a world where there will be just one huge tech company that owns everything ? Because that's where we're heading.
They are currently embracing open source and Linux, very visibly.
Phases two and three will be along soon enough. (Extend, Extinguish)
Then Microsoft became bigger and bigger and they did that by becoming increasingly Evil.
The problem with Microsoft today is not that all their technology is bad, sluggish and annoying. They still have some competent developers working there. The problem is that although they put on a lot of lipstick - they are still dead Evil. They want your data. They want to do all the bad things Amazon, Facebook and Google (data mining) Apple (exclusive sales of Windows applications trough their store - and forcing you to have their music, xbox and other crap installed on your computer).
The only reason Microsoft is not generally regarded as Evil today is share incompetence. They don't know how to make an instant messenger - so Skype is useless and people use other programs. They don't know how to make a large website - so Linkedin is just as useless as Skype. People leave.
Nokia is the best example of Microsoft's incompetence. They buy the most successful phone brand in the history of the world - and in just a few years it's over. The employees are fired, nobody wants the phones, and their appstore is a wasteland of useless crap nobody wants (that's what happens when quantity (number of 'apps') is the only measurement for 'success').
Microsoft wants your data. They want video-cameras in your home. They want to listen in to what you talk about in your bedroom. They want to sell that data to 'Partners', advertisers and law enforcement. They want to be Amazon, Google, Apple and Facebook - but they have no idea about how to make anything that people actually wants. So they buy successful enterprises, redeploy their army of managers from hell there, and turns it into dirt. That happened to Nokia. That happened to Skype. I think that was what happened to Linkedin (I don't know the inside story, just that it quickly became useless). Now they want to do the same to github. So sad.
For developers, it's not a question about to leave or not to leave. It's just a question about when. No matter how much you love or hate Microsoft - they will for sure turn github into dirt - like everything they touch - and then at some point you will leave. Eventually you'll have to leave in 2 years when the shut it down.
The problem is that they have some competent developers working there, when realistically they need badass talent like Google and Apple has.
Whether or not a company is evil is subject to opinion on what you think a company is meant to do. A company is meant to be profitable.
The only thing I see in this acquisition is that Microsoft want's to improve it hiring abilities and to gain control on a few open source projects like Electron and Atom. Projects that they use for example in VS Code.
Like I wouldn't be surprised if Electron was their only interest because of Web Assembly being on the horizon and the fact that Windows is still the dominant desktop OS, but their web store doesn't deliver like Google or Apple stores because developers attention is already split between Android, IOS, and Web development.
Long story short, Microsoft has a lot to gain by integrating Electron into Windows because to develop for Web is essentially the same as developing for Windows. (in this regard they gain the same edge that ChromeOS has)
Plus the more Microsoft embraces open source the closer we get to a Linux based Windows OS. Which sounds horrifying until you consider that Linux shipping on every computer in the world means all these projects developed for Linux will get to actually see the light of day.
As was their OOXML, ISO-stacking shenanigans.
Microsoft have a history of bad behaviour, and repeatedly abusing monopoly positions. How many chances at goodwill should I give them?
Many devs are looking elsewhere, so they paint themselves as having changed. And they did, to an extend. But you if they ever get in a position where they could reign in developers, you can count on it that they will try.
That sounds odd because pretty much nobody has that idea.
The alternative to looking too much at history is not to ignore history completely.
Are companies people?
Are you saying the purpose of this acquisition is to make GitHub better? If not, why would Microsoft be interested in buying it?
- they wanted to access my computer after I upgraded cpu and motherboard as Windows 10 deactivated. That is despite I have full retail version. It took three days so that they acknowledged they won't get remote access. They required me to run some weird binaries to activate Windows again. That was super creepy.
- Soon after I bought VS2015 pro, VS2017 was released. They didn't want to give me a refund so I would get VS2017 or didn't offer upgrade price. Consultants were rude.
Windows is a spy machine. I only run it for software that doesn't work on Linux.
I hope Microsoft dies.
I am in the process of moving my stuff off of GitHub.
Are you sure that you were not scammed?
'i've deleted my account' seems very pedantic and most of the arguments brought up are rather old. However, i do agree on the skype thing - man it got bad after MS bought it.
Don't think any company that can afford to buy another company for well above 1.5 billion (i understand the worth of GitHub in 2016 was around 2 billion) has a pristine past.
Microsoft is very proactive removing things from azure and shutting down sites as soon as they receive DMCA complaint or abuse complaint.
Are they going to remove important github repos like these if they get DMCA or other complaints?
https://github.com/Roy47Zhang/CSGO-Aimbot-Project (cheat for Counter strike)
https://github.com/rg3/youtube-dl (download from video streamers)
https://github.com/kurtcoke/DemonHunter_Exploitkit (exploit kit)
https://github.com/lontivero/vinchuca (p2p botnet)
the second I hear any repos being removed by Microsoft, I i will dump my private repos and leave.
Its the diversity (like the repos mentioned above) that made github the goto code-sharing site.
I, for one, would rather jeaopardize the service to defend the rights of such fringe developers. Together we stand.
The behavior of using these software maybe illegal, and violate EULA, the company can punish the user who is using the software according to their EULA, but there is nothing directly related to the software itself.
> The acquisition of Skype, after which all the peer-to-peer traffic was routed through Microsoft, essentially allowing them to snoop on the conversations. To pre-empt the technical counter argument that this was done to improve the service: It only improved the service for some edge cases, for everybody else the service got worse because of the extra round-trip latency. So if that was the real reason then you’d have expected to see the traffic routed to the central servers only if one of those edge cases was detected.
IIRC the main reasons this was done are (i) due to the complexity of porting P2P code across many platforms and (ii) for resource consumption on mobile devices. These are hardly edge cases.
I find that laughable. Their client and processor licensing model is of the Oracle school.
Large OEM's are still paying the MS tax on machines supplied are they not? (MS get fee on every OEM machine sold regardless of whether it includes Windows. Buy a Dell Linux laptop and MS still get their $x)
> Unix was an ivory tower
Hmm. What of BSD+FreeBSD? Hell even MS Xenix ran on 10x the range of machines that Windows did.
Late 80s, early 90s folks like Sequent were charging a bomb because they included 4 or 8 processors and gobs of memory (for the time). Sun and SGI charged a fortune because 50% of the machine cost was the graphics and IO, and a net stack that worked. A Sun lunchbox wasn't that much more than an equivalent spec PC of the time but gave SCSI and networking. None of that plug and pray or fucking around with INT settings in BIOS, driver settings or it suddenly developing amnesia.
SunOS (usually) just worked, Windows usually didn't until Win2k finally arrived and you could actually have uptime over a daily reboot.
The expensive stuff in the Unix world was where there was no comparison in teh PC world or you scaled up. Multi processors, Sun pizza boxes where 50% of the cost was the top end graphics (always buy the flight sim CD when speccing that one), 100+ serial ports, racks full of USR Couriers etc. NT didn't scale (see Hotmail and the infamous scaling demo scam).
> Windows was cheap and open
It was neither.
I'm not going to reopen VB memories. :)
Do you have links? I Havent heard MS doing anything malicious recently in these spaces.
Regardless of who GH sold to they'd be facing a ton of negative reactions. Microsoft's actions recently make me thing maybe they're actually the least bad as far as their dealings with developers go.
I don't really see how anything other than being perfect stewards of Github works out in their favour.
Actually they did (VSTS, TFS), but it was so hilariously bad that they started moving to git a couple years ago.
Google would had run it very successful for a few years, and then suddenly shut it down. Oracle would have strangled it slowly, and then given in to the Apache foundation (where projects go to die).
Facebook may actually have been a good choice - except for us select few who don't use Facebook at all.
Some parallels to the Nokia-Elop affair could be made.
They have Bitbucket and I think is pretty safe to say that they don't care about people hosting their open source stuff.
Of course you can use Bitbucket for free but where the big bucks are for Atlassian is the enterprise market. I don't have market data but I don't think there are many big corps using GitHub as opposite to Bitbucket together with other Atlassian products.
In my experience of working with big corps, if you are using Jira and Confluence, Bitbucket simply offers much better integration with them and lately Atlassian is rocking it with new features and deeper integration every time.
It clearly doesn't work.
Its not a nice agreement.
Microsoft places competitors (people who develop operating systems, databases, etc) on an entirely different list.
The fact it's not Linux is the reason I routinely use two other laptops, one with Ubuntu, one with Fedora (and a big Lenovo box that runs about a dozen VMs).
I’m going to put in some good faith and assume this comment was meant sarcastically and not as a pure trolling.
Sabotaging a pivotal part of your own development workflow entirely based on internet speculation doesn't seem "clever" at all to me.
I suspect he assumes that anyone reading his blog / HN is already All-the-way clever and one can read it as "everyone should delete their account"
Personally i am more sanguine
> The first MeeGo device came out in 2011 and won all kinds of awards and is to this date the only flagship consistently ranked better than its contemporary iPhone, while MeeGo is the only OS ever launched in smartphones to be ranked as good as - or in some reviews even better than - Apple's iPhone iOS operating system. THAT was Nokia's strategy in January 2011. Only a delusional idiot would change this.
My vote would be Mozilla. I can't think of any other company I'd want running a service for "the greater good".
Second, More ms tools in github.
Third, atom is dead.
Bright enough I guess.
I moved all my workflow to Linux back-in-the-day (actually just over 2 years ago, but hey) and never looked back. I'll be damned if I let Microsoft in by this particular backdoor.
Like the author, I'm deleting my account as well.
But problem is when management changes. after all their values are different. All classic big corporate stuff, their business model and expectations from investors. things can change in the future when making money is the main goal..
But the good thing is that GIT is easy to migrate. So we can migrate anytime that things goes wrong..
Github is still a great product/service. Hope they don't ruin it.
the irony of the top ranked article on git encryption being hosted on Github is not lost on me ...
Arguing that they're a different company I think should require arguments that their incentives are different, and I don't see that they are.
In the 90's they made their money from on-premises software installations, Windows/Office/SQL Server etc.
So their incentives then were to ensure that people used their software as much as possible.
Now the growth engine for Microsoft's platform is services (e.g. Azure). On Azure you can deploy Linux and Windows based applications, the underlying OS doesn't matter, Microsoft still make money on it.
This means that their incentive is to have a good and smooth developer experience and to get as many people onto the Azure platform.
Their #1 competitor is AWS. They don't even mention Oracle, Apple, or really even Google.
I would really like to have some Consumers' co-operatives that would provide hosting/online services around open source. I wouldn't mind to pay something to have private hosting for me and subsidizing the hosting open source projects.
It seems clear today that the "Developers, developers, developers!" thing of Steve Ballmer is still in the plans of Microsoft.
I wonder how do people who believed in the modern Microsoft with Nadella feel now?
I understand that the risk would be too big to eavesdrop on your customer, you would ruin your reputation and your product, but still, it seems the temptation even by a rogue employee could be strong.
This is not a jab at Microsoft, it would not be better if it was another mega corp platform.
Unrelated, is this standard practice when sharing a link to the HN Discussion?
Is this satire?
We're in the twilight zone bro; all bets are off.
We're not in the twilight zone, we're in the zone where Microsoft realizes it's more profitable to leech off of others' efforts.
Is that software support? Is that hardware support that's not available on Linux?
In general, desktop Linux has been rock solid for me. I even keep my music collection on BtrFS and, yes, I know it's tempting fate.
Sure, I don't need it and could care less.. just saying.
And after you do, remember that Google, Apple, Amazon, etc. have also read those documents and now they're smarter about hiding it.
Also, Microsoft has changed and we're not living in the 90's anymore.