On Wed, Jun 06, 2018 at 05:59:17PM -0700, Chris Jerdonek wrote:
Is the “service” they provide (and what it needs) allowed to change over time, so that the rights granted can expand?
Of course it can change. And they might not even need to give us notice. But that's no different from any other service provider, including your ISP, your phone provider, your electricity provider, etc.
If we're to be concerned about changes to terms and conditions, we should be equally concerned about Google, Apple, Amazon, Red Hat, Oracle etc. We shouldn't be uniquely or especially concerned just because Microsoft has purchased Github. Nothing has changed.
Github (the old Github, before being sold) were not "the Good Guys", and Microsoft is not "the Bad Guys". Github were a commercial entity, run by venture capitalists only in it for the money, with a brogrammer culture that was (allegedly) highly toxic to women. If Github didn't try to make a grab for their users' content, it was because they made a commercial decision that stealing the IP for a thousand versions of "leftpad" for Node.js was not worth the harm they would do to their business, not because they're nice guys who wouldn't do that.
I know that suspicion and fear of Microsoft's bona fides is a long running tradition in FOSS circles, but Microsoft is subject to the same sorts of commercial realities as any other corporation: there is a limit to how evil they can be for the LOLs and still stay in business. They are no more likely to grab users' content than Github were, and for the same reasons.
Actually, probably LESS likely. The sort of companies who are Microsoft's important customers, the ones with deep pockets willing to pay for services like Github's, are if anything even more cognisant of the value and importance of so-called Intellectual Property than the average FOSS user, and far more likely to be defensive over some hosting company trying to claim rights to their IP.
(Personally, I'm more concerned about MS trying to become another Google, profiling us -- all the better to sell our personal data -- by matching up our Github identies with everything we do on the internet. But again, that's not unique to Microsoft. Every second website, these days, wants to follow your every click and watch everything you do. But that's a rant for another day.)