Microsoft welcomes Apache Software Foundation to GitHub fold


The Apache Software Foundation has lifted and shifted its Git service to GitHub, the Microsoft owned code management platform.

The FOSS organisation, which claims to steward around 350 open source initiatives, said the move would allow its community to make full use of GitHubs tools.

As the group’s statement on the move explains, “Apache projects initially had two version control services available via ASF Infrastructure: Apache Subversion and Git.” While increasing numbers of projects wanted to make their code available on GitHub, “As these were read-only mirrors, the ability to use GitHub’s tools around those repositories was limited.”

“In 2016, the Foundation started integrating GitHub’s repository and tooling, with our own services. This enabled selected projects to use GitHub’s excellent tools,” said Greg Stein, ASF Infrastructure Administrator in the statement. “Over time, we improved, debugged, and solidified this integration. In late 2018, we asked all projects to move away from our internal Git service, to that provided by GitHub. This shift brought all of their tooling to our projects, while we maintain a backup mirror on our infrastructure.”

In another doc explaining the move, the Apache team said it had first ventured onto GitHub in 2010, “where we were graciously offered whatever resources we needed.” GitHub was, at the time, a scrappy upstart, albeit the one where the cool kids were all heading.

But, the statement continues, “With Microsoft’s acquisition of GitHub in 2018, and their commitment to help strengthen open source development, we have received additional resources to help lower the bar for contributions, and we’d like to thank GitHub for their support of the Apache Software Foundation through all nine years of using their platform.”

It adds, “As Apache is a very email-centered organization, all GitHub activity is naturally linked to our mailing lists to ensure the same level of openness in the development of our software.”

It’s fair to say that Microsoft, sorry GitHub, were “excited” about the move. GitHub director of product Bryan Clarke wrote, “We’re grateful to have such an impactful foundation migrate and grow directly on GitHub. With this transition completed, Apache can focus on building software and their community.”

“Whether we’re working with individual open source maintainers and contributors on some of the world’s largest open source foundations like Apache, GitHub’s mission is to be the home for all developers by supporting open source communities, addressing their unique needs, and helping open source projects thrive.”

Such a tie-up between a standard bearer of the open source world and an arm of Redmond might have been unthinkable under Microsoft’s previous management. The move prompted some questions and snark on Twitter, but there was nothing like the wailing and gnashing of teeth you might have expected. Indeed, some suggested, the move might prompt others to reconsider their attitude towards GitHub/Microsoft.