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Microsoft Shutters CodePlex, Will Migrate Projects to GitHub

By David Jones
Apr 3, 2017 4:08 PM PT
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In a move that caps off its gradual embrace of open source in a bear hug, Microsoft last week announced that it would shutter its nearly 11-year-old CodePlex project site and migrate its library of work to GitHub.

Microsoft has invested in Visual Studio Team Services as its "One Engineering Project" for proprietary projects and exposed many key open source projects -- such as Visual Studio Code, TypeScript and the Cognitive Toolkit -- on GitHub, noted Brian Harry, vice president for cloud developer services at Microsoft.

The company has been forced to deal with a couple of major issues, such as a 2015 spam epidemic and a substantial decrease in usage, he said, with fewer than 350 projects getting a source commit over the past 30 days.

Microsoft disabled the ability to create new CodePlex projects on Friday. By October, projects on the site will be read-only, and the site will be shut down completely by Dec. 15.

Project Archive

A final complete backup will be taken before decommissioning and shutting down the existing site and servers, and a read-only, lightweight archive will be available. Users will be able to browse through all published projects, including their source code, downloads, documentation, license and issues. Archived files will be available for download in JSON and Markdown formats.

Git users can migrate source code via hosting services like Visual Studio Team Services and BitBucket. Mercurial users also can use the latter to migrate.

Github is working with the CodePlex team to "streamline the experience of importing projects" said Senior Product Manager Sara Ford, and GitHub will continue to support clients who prefer to stick with Subversion [SVN] rather than Git.

Open Source Evolution

Microsoft has made significant contributions to open source on GitHub over the years, claiming more than 16,000 open source contributors, which is more than any other organization.

The company made the right decision in shutting down the Codeplex site, said Peter Christy, research director at 451 Research.

"In the time since CP was created, the open source world has evolved enormously, and GitHub is clearly the sharing site of choice,' he told LinuxInsider. "If a project was very MS-Centric, the change might be slightly negative, but the broader direction of OS is to be platform-agnostic, I think."

When Codeplex made its debut, Microsoft was a great deal more protective of its intellectual property, and the company management had a pretty open disdain for open source at the time.

Bite the Bullet

The transfer from Codeplex to Github was inevitable, observed Al Gillen, group vice president for software development and open source at IDC. After taking the helm at Microsoft in 2014, Satya Nadella adopted a more pragmatic approach toward embracing the open source community.

"Steve Ballmer was ceding ground to supporting open source software within Microsoft where it was necessary, but when Satya Nadella took over the helm, the willingness to work more collaboratively with open source communities and technologies accelerated pretty dramatically," Gillen told LinuxInsider.

"Ballmer and Nadella came from very different backgrounds within Microsoft, and Nadella did not have the same 'not invented here' bias that Ballmer did," he pointed out.

Microsoft released open source Visual Studio Code for multiple .Net languages and the non-.Net language Go, and it open sourced the Azure Container Language, SQL Server and Powershell.

"Concrete actions matter more than words," said Paul Teich, principal analyst at Tirias Research.

"Microsoft is backing up its recent statements and attitudes toward open source," he told LinuxInsider.

In an important symbolic move, Microsoft joined The Linux Foundation as a platinum member, which it announced last year during the Microsoft Connect conference. John Gossman, architect of the company's Azure team, joined the board of directors.

"Long term, this means that GitHub continues to be a central technology used broadly within the industry," said IDC's Gillen, and it is "incrementally more credible today than it was a week ago."


David Jones is a freelance writer based in Essex County, New Jersey. He has written for Reuters, Bloomberg, Crain's New York Business and The New York Times.


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