Bitcoin Core developer Wladimir van der Laan said that Microsoft’s acquisition of GitHub should spur discussion about moving the Bitcoin code repository off GitHub and to an independently-hosted platform.
Reports first emerged over the weekend that Microsoft had reached an acquisition agreement with GitHub, and the two parties confirmed the $7.5 billion deal on Monday.
The move proved to be controversial in tech circles, as Microsoft has a spotty track record on open-source initiatives. The company has been better about engaging in open-source development under current CEO Satya Nadella, but former CEO Steve Ballmer’s assertion that “Linux is cancer” still leaves a sour taste nearly two decades later.
The backlash was particularly pronounced in the cryptocurrency community. Though GitHub is a for-profit company, it offers a range of free services for open-source projects, and it hosts the source code for virtually every cryptocurrency protocol.
Many people argued that the acquisition would have little impact on cryptocurrency, with a few suggesting that Microsoft may add new features that make the user experience better for developers.
However, Wladimir van der Laan, the lead maintainer of the Bitcoin Core GitHub repository, stated on Twitter that the move is “the beginning of a long painful road” for the platform and that the Bitcoin project should move its source code elsewhere.
No real hurry, but I expect this is the beginning of a long painful road of gh toward obsolence, possibly ending the same way as codeplex did.
— Wladimir (@orionwl) June 4, 2018
Yes,” he replied when asked whether the Bitcoin repository should be moved to a new platform. No real hurry, but I expect this is the beginning of a long painful road of gh toward [obsolescence], possibly ending the same way as codeplex did.”
“To be clear: many bitcoin core contributors already preferred moving to independently hosted infrastructure in the long run. This may or may not speed it up.”
Of course, controversial announcements often lead to a backlash among users, only to have some of the loudest voices fail to live up to their claims to take action. For his part, however, van der Laan said that he canceled his paid GitHub subscription and has made his personal Bitcoin git repository available through a TorV3 hidden service.
“No longer going to pay for this when it’s just another Microsoft tax,” he said.
Featured Image from Flickr/Othree.