Who runs the world? Tech.


The future of Github and the impact of data hosting on the industry

During June of last year, one of the largest providers of version control services, Github, was acquired by Microsoft. What repercussions does this have and what is the future of this type of service like? What can we extrapolate from such a decision? To truly understand the questions at hand, we need to focus on what we are storing. Data is vital to all aspects of development, from how we handle it, where we store it, and who we trust with our valuable information. Who has access to it, what law protects it from unwanted use, and what projects can be derived from it. Information has become so critical to us that to keep it secure, we have developed mechanisms to maintain tight control over how we collaborate and store it.

Data hosting services are nothing new, we have had Rapidshare, Megaupload and other companies providing data hosting services for years before Github was a thing. While the services they provide are fundamentally different, they all handle and store data for end users with free and paid hosting paradigms. These free plans were the first step towards the snowball that slowly led the industry to adapt to newer and different approaches to free and paid repository services.

To show or not to show?

GitHub has always had a free storage option, but in the past, that free tier was limited to public repositories, where everyone can see and fork a copy of their hard work. If you were an aspiring developer who wanted to delve into source control early on, the best affordable option was to make your code public. Even after landing your first developer job, when it comes time to move on or work on a side project, you may not want to have your job out there for anyone or your current employer to see and make assumptions. A company that in the past had a free Github account for its source code on serious commercial projects usually had about as much credibility as a three dollar bill.


At the end of the day, a deal was almost inevitable, whether it was Google, Apple, or another company within the conglomerate cloud that could have bought Github. So what does it mean when the world’s largest software company buys the world’s largest open source code repository? For starters, it means that Microsoft now has the ability to access the repositories of roughly 28 million developers and organizations. Second, Github suddenly becomes a standard for future companies that want to start with a source control service. Developers won’t settle for less than the bare minimum they get for free, and from our perspective freelance software developers won’t settle for anything more.

That being said, the future holds exciting new plans as these platforms will continue to switch to different pricing plans, now instead of being a hassle for developers and logistics, they will move on to providing different tools along with the hosting service they provide. And on the one hand, I’m curious what we’ll see in the coming years, as we expect more and more companies to sign on to these new plans.


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