Russia Planning to Create an Alternative to GitHub – Goodbye Russia from the Global Market

  • Microsoft owns GitHub.
  • Russia is creating an alternative to GitHub with a proposed roll out date of 2021.
  • The alternative is expected to include former Soviet Block nations too, willingly or not?

Russia is planning to create its own alternative to the Microsoft owned GitHub, a global company that provides hosting for software development, version control using Git. Microsoft acquired the company in 2018 for $7.5 billion. It offers all of the distributed version control and source code management functionality of Git as well as adding its own features.

At the heart of GitHub is Git, an open source project started by Linux creator Linus Torvalds. Matthew McCullough, a trainer at GitHub, explains that Git, like other version control systems, manages and stores revisions of projects. Although it’s mostly used for code, McCullough says Git could be used to manage any other type of file, such as Word documents or Final Cut projects. The flagship functionality of GitHub is “forking” – copying a repository from one user’s account to another. The three main features – fork, pull request and merge. Think of it as a filing system for every draft of a document.  Currently, GitHub is used by over 40 million developers globally and over a million companies use it, including technical giants like Apple and Amazon.

The Kremlin is investing $2.3 billion into the proposed project. It is a known fact that Russia is getting ready to implement a full digital Iron Curtain within Russia. Soon, the only option for Russian nationals will be the Russian approved intranet. Belarus is expected to follow as well.  It is expected to be rolled out by 2021.  Meaning a complete cut off from the world in every aspect.

Of course the other goal is to add all the forever Soviet Block nations to the same system. Also, with the latest signal jamming stations being built in Russia, it is very possible former Soviet block nations simply won’t have a choice but to use the Russian intranet. Hence, they will very easily be cut off from the Western world. At the same time, many businesses in Russia will lose their competitive edge and no longer could be relevant in the rest of the world.

Ironically, the reason for the huge success of GitHub is its open use and attractiveness in the global market. Russia creating its analogue will defeat the purpose and only stunt potential development. However, since when have dictators ever cared about small businesses under their rule?

The only way it could even function is if the publications on it are be done through government subsidy and specific budget allocation. It would mean again centralized control of all the software development and pure government subsidies. Therefore, private sector industry technically would be defeated in the area and would have no choice but to be under the Kremlin’s umbrella. It is a dangerous precedent, but welcome back to the Soviet Union with a new digital twist. It is about to get worse.

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Christina Kitova

I spent most of my professional life in finance, insurance risk management litigation.

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