June 13, 2013

Getting the GIT of GITHUB

I recently caught Linus Torvalds on YouTube (News - Alert) sharing his rationale for the development of GIT and his perspective on Software Control. Now, admittedly, most of it was over my head (which is fine as Linus would no doubt consider me “Ugly and stupid”), however one only needs to trust in the wisdom of others to recognize genius, not be a genius themself.

In GIT’s case trust is built in. Rather than forcing control from a central server and a single version, GIT is designed to deliver a distributed distribution model in which the assumption is that many mirrors will be created of a version with the ability to merge branches, and that if code does not prove to be worthwhile, you can return to the branch you first used. Employing this distributed model also helps with issues associated with network I/O and enables faster downloads. All of this makes for a very powerful model that is used by teams of developers (wherever they are) and that can also be used for configuration management. It also leads to the discussion about GITHUB, which has grown in popularity to the point where nearly all of our speakers have a GITHUB ID and a repository. 

Like GIT, GITHUB has a built in meritocracy where people monitor their network of trust not only to find reliable code to use, but to discover people with whom they can build out this network. On GITHUB, though, your social stats reflect more than your ability to gather friends. GITHUB tracks those who follow you and those you follow to the point where the cream rises and the meritocracy of code can be visually determined. As such, it is hardly surprising that sites such as GITEGO exist, serving to track the popularity of a branch amongst coders.

In his talk, Linus makes it clear that he has lieutenants in the Linux world who he trusts, and that he does not want to be stuck fixing other people’s mistakes. The Meta message that comes across, though, is that the politics of coding becomes more dynamic with the use of GIT. Open Source (News - Alert) has removed a great deal of the need for quality assurance through the use of the peer network embedded in the meritocracy, and GITHUB just makes it more visual.

In advance of the upcoming DevCon5 (July 24 and 25), I have asked all of our speakers to share their GITHUB IDs, in an effort to help the delegates participate in the meritocracy.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi


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