Open source software developer land is in turmoil since Microsoft announced that it will buy code-sharing platform GitHub for 7.5 billion dollars.

GitHub is an online platform for software developers to publish and share their work. It is more than sharing though as it lets people collaborate on projects thanks to its powerful version control system. Besides for sharing source code GitHub is also being used for sharing things like documents and designs for electronics and mechanical projects, for example. For most users GitHub is free and public, but power users like companies pay a subscription and can remain private.

GitHub is all about sharing whereas Microsoft is more famous for selling software, not sharing it (although many people do). Does the Windows operating system ring a bell? MS Word? Excel? All great tools, but very closed-source products. However, during the past years Microsoft has been opening up, and also uses GitHub.

Many other companies use GitHub too, but Microsoft is said to be the company with the largest number of GitHub users. As such it seems logical for Microsoft to try to get a bit of control over a tool that is used by many of its employees.

Other professional users, however, may see it as a way of Microsoft to get into their business. Will they keep using GitHub now they know that in the end Microsoft may profit from it? Some developers are afraid that the service or use conditions may change; others think that Microsoft will be a good owner. Will other code-sharing sites now gain traction from people leaving GitHub?

Whatever will happen, this takeover once again shows that open source is big business.

Illustration: GitHub