GitHub drops git

I was lucky enough to be asked to attend GitHub Universe this year. It was my first tech conference, and it felt like grabbing a live wire. The keynote pre-show was a mesmerizing visualization of real-time activity on GitHub. Rock Band-style tracks of light pulsed and thrummed every time code was pushed, pulled, and reviewed on the platform.

Going into the main presentation I was awed by the sheer amount of code that was being written in the world, and felt really proud to be a developer.

Then the keynote started. I've already written about how I think AI will affect software engineers (and how they should respond). So I wasn't surprised when Copilot was the main focus of the talk.

I use copilot extensively - I believe GitHub when they say it makes devs 55% better. And spreading those productivity gains outwards from the IDE into the broader github ecosystem is a reasonable, obvious idea.

But I was absolutely floored by this.

"GitHub was founded on git. Today, it's re-founded on Copilot"

-- Thomas Dohmke, CEO of GitHub

(Photo From Tierney Cyren)

My sweat froze. The complimentary sparkling water ran flat.

git is a symbol of the software I fell in love with. It's a powerful, unapproachable, arcane tool that was built by a wizard and given to the world for free. It's a self-contained, modular tool that demands a lot of knowledge from the user, and pays it back in power and flexibility.

Copilot is a harbinger of the next kind of software. It's a powerful, eldritch, force that has descended the gradient into our mortal plane, summoned forth by chanters who do not understand it. It's a sprawling, distributed system that asks for very little sophistication, and pays it back in power and vendor lock-in.

I don't use Microsoft's (owner of GitHub) IDE. I use emacs (another powerful, unapproachable, arcane tool). And GitHub does provide a binary that lets my emacs interface with Copilot. For now.

Back in the 1990s Silicon Valley was terrified of Microsoft; then, over the intervening years, that fear faded, and Microsoft became yesterday’s news at best, and the punchline of jokes at worse.

(from Stratechery)

I wasn't around to feel that fear back in the 90s. But I feel it now.

Stay up to date

Get notified when I publish something new, and unsubscribe at any time.