The Hard Truth of Corporate's Open-Source

The sweet and bitter reality of big company's open-source project.

The Hard Truth of Corporate's Open-Source
Photo by Abbe Sublett / Unsplash

The sweet and bitter reality of big company's open-source project.


Few days back, while surfing on Twitter, I stumbled upon a tweet which linked to a blogpost by GitHub with an unexpected title, Sunsetting Atom.

Sunsetting Atom | The GitHub Blog
We are archiving Atom and all projects under the Atom organization for an official sunset on December 15, 2022.
Original GitHub's blog post

I've used Atom back when I started learning how to code and still figuring out the most suitable code editor for me at that time. Even though in the end I ended up choosing another code editor, but with more than 57,000+ stars on GitHub, it surely one of the most popular code editor on this earth.

But in this post, I wanna talk about the hard truth about this kinda open-source project, a project backed by the big companies. This kinda project surely deliver a lot of great things, and impact for the community.

This kinda project surely deliver more bigger impact quickly, delivering more better foundation for its future. You can name the great project such as React of Facebook, Kubernetes of Google, and the list goes on. Plus, the community have a high interest to contribute this project just in case they got hired by those large companies to maintain it.

But as the time goes on, companies' targets can change, its values can change, anything can change. If those projects are not bring more benefits for the company itself it will likely get shut down.

And that is the case of Atom. Back in 2018, Microsoft acquire GitHub for a whopping USD7.5 billion (yup, that's with "b"). At that time, many peoples get nervous with the Atom destiny. That's because, Microsoft already have an open-source code editor on their hand. Yup, you're right, it is the one and only Visual Studio Code (VSCode).

Even though GitHub (at that time) said that they will keep actively maintaining the Atom project, having 2 same product in the same umbrella is kinda awkward situation. And 4 years later, what many peoples feared is finally happening.

While it's not an uncommon thing a company shutdown its product, such as Google with its dozen of killed products, shutting down Atom with such a large community fans are really heartbreaking moment for me as a developer. I hope that someone will fork the Atom project and keeping the spirit goes on.


Last but not least, I have to say that having an open-source project is great no matter you are a big company or just a solo developer. If you cannot do it anymore, might be some amazing person out there will continue your mission. See ya. πŸ‘‹

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