Accountable Company

Microsoft has just acquired GitHub… and that’s a good thing. Now what?

Now we should continue to hold Microsoft accountable for their stewardship of our code, our collaborative space and our community.

Let me share my experiences of why I think this acquisition is a good one for all parties.

Photo by David Watkis on Unsplash

An Advocate for Open Governance and the Node.js Community

The open web is a shared asset for us all. Node.js has emerged as a key component of that ecosystem. Some of you may recall that we had a major fork in our ecosystem a few years ago before the Node.js Foundation was formed.

The active contributor community had abandoned the original project because of closed governance and lack of project progress. Corporate and community interests were negotiating the path forward for Node.js. We were close to an agreement. Node.js was heading to an open governance in collaboration with the Linux Foundation.

But we were missing something… we were missing everything. The active core contributors and the community had abandoned Node.js and were working on the io.js fork. It was Microsoft who threw down the gauntlet and refused to proceed without addressing the needs of io.js.

Node.js isn’t Node.js without the Node.js Community.

Today’s Node.js IS THAT FORK.

We remerged as one Node.js thanks to Microsoft.

Microsoft, V8 and Node.js

Yep.

I have been an advocate for quite some time for Microsoft to join the other JavaScript platforms in open sourcing their JavaScript VM: Chakra.

Several years ago, folks at Microsoft reached out for feedback on whether the Node.js community would be willing to collaborate in the open sourcing of ChakraCore and whether we were willing to explore how ChakraCore could leverage the Node.js platform. Node.js has long defined itself as tied to V8 JavaScript. The performance profile of Node.js was made possible because of V8’s performance.

Teams that included Microsoft, IBM, NodeSource, Google, Intel, nearForm and all worked together to explore VM diversity in Node.js. The Microsoft team, championed by Gaurav Seth and Arunesh Chandra, is responsible for creating the ABI (Abstract Binding Interface) stable compatibility layer and tests which are now the foundation for N-API. It is also with these resources that Node.js has DEEPENED its relationship with Google’s V8 team which now will not ship if it those tests fail.

Forward, Always

Microsoft has a singular pole star: developers. As a platform company, Microsoft knows that without developers that agree to build for their platform, they have nothing. The technology ecosystem has increasingly become the open source ecosystem. The game has changed, but Microsoft’s focus has not. I’m going to avoid any Balmer jokes or memes here because there’s still too much pain there. You get it. It’s developers. Always has been developers. And I suspect it always will be developers.

In the brave new open world that is today’s technology market, we now have unprecedented influence and control. I have decided that my next system will be a Windows system. I’m going to vote with my wallet and my time.

Satya Nadella and the leadership team at Microsoft have done so much right to remedy the sins of the past. We should not forget that behavior. The monopolistic control was real. The risk to the future of the web was profound. We need to guard ourselves from that happening again.

Embrace, Extend, Extinguish

Never again. I won’t stand for it. The Node.js Community won’t stand for it. The Open Web won’t stand for it. The web has won. Node.js has won. We will not be contained.

I stand with Microsoft. I stan for today’s Microsoft. With Satya Nadella. With Gaurav Seth. With Arunesh Chandra. With Scott Guthrie. With Scott Hanselman. With Jess Frazelle. With Julia Liuson. With Amanda Silver.

Welcome GitHub to this wonderful team. My best wishes to all of you. We’ll be watching. We will continue to hold you accountable.

And I know I’ll be working with you all to build the future of our open platform.

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