Over the past few days we have watched the industry swirl with news that Microsoft would acquire GitHub for $7.5 billion. As one of the founding contributors to the open source community, starting with our 2005 commitment to protect open source patent freedoms as part of the Open Innovation Network (OIN), IBM has also been asked for its point of view.
In many ways the anxiety is understandable. GitHub has been a valuable and valued repository of open source projects. IBM itself has thousands of repositories on GitHub and to the extent that Git continues to serve the interests of the developer community, we will continue to invest and participate. Microsoft has been clear that it will not block developers from freedom of choice or access to other cloud providers via GitHub and for as long as principles of open governance are respected, we are hopeful GitHub will continue to thrive.
It’s the code that matters
The reason we have cautioned against over reaction is that ultimately, it’s the code that matters and not where it sits. For over two decades we have witnessed the power of the open source community to solve complex business and technical problems. Increasingly we see open source as the path to a better and fairer future, where technology benefits the many and not just the few.
That’s why since we participated in the foundation of the Apache Software Foundation and the Linux Technology Center in 1998, IBM has invested over $1 billion in ecosystem, community and code, and today has over 65,000 certified open-source engineers contributing to its growth. In recent years our work with the Linux Foundation to establish the Hyperledger Project has helped extend the promise of blockchain technology beyond cryptocurrencies. As a member of Node.js we ensured the survival of a critical community and code base.
Throughout these decades and for years to come, our priority has been the support of ecosystem, the advancement of open source code and the principles of open government. As a member of the open source community we welcome new members and investment in community tools, but we know that where the real magic happens is when coders code. Nothing that happened this week has threatened that promise.