Week 24, 2018 - Microsoft Acquires GitHub; Siri Shortcuts; Amazon EKS

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Last week was Apple’s WWDC, but Microsoft got most of the attention with their acquisition of GitHub while AWS released EKS.

Microsoft Acquires GitHub

The most exciting news last week was Microsoft’s acquisition of GitHub1. It’s unlikely that you haven’t heard of this yet, but it’s still worth revisiting. If you’ve read more of my writing, you’re probably aware that I’m not generally confident that an acquisition is best for the people using that service. Too many times after an acquisition the product is slowly, or not so slowly, phased out of existence.

That said, I’m very much in favour of this acquisition and see a bright future for GitHub2 under Microsoft’s ownership. Looking back at Microsoft it is clear that they have changed. Where once they despised open source3 they now embrace it and have many well-known open source developers on staff and keep opening up their software. Even their plans for GitHub seem to reflect this. They’ve put a well-known open source advocate at the helm and will keep running it independently.

Regardless of my personal beliefs in this matter, it is a very divisive acquisition. Many people don’t believe that Microsoft has changed and therefore see this acquisition as an attack. Which has resulted in many people leaving the platform. In a way this shows the power of git as well; you can quickly move elsewhere to host your code.

Siri Shortcuts

Speaking of acquisitions going right, the most interesting thing4 to come out of WWDC for me was the announcement of Siri Shortcuts. This seems to be the answer to why Apple acquired Workflow last year in the first place. From what I’ve seen, Shortcuts is Workflow in the sense that it allows you to hook together all kinds of actions for automation in iOS.

It is better than Workflow however as it has deep integration with iOS so that it allows you to use system features like the Home app, there is an API that other apps can use to expose themselves to Shortcuts, and you can invoke the Shortcuts with Siri. Which means that you can quickly build commands that do many things at the same time for you and, just as important, to use Siri for anything you like instead of being limited by what Apple allows.

Amazon EKS

Following the announcement at re:Invent last year, and an extended private beta period5, AWS has now made their managed Kubernetes service, EKS, available. Unfortunately, it is not available yet outside of North Virginia and Oregon, but that shouldn’t stop anyone from being happy that it’s available in the first place. Region expansion will no doubt happen, and the best way to get at the top of the list is to ask your AWS representatives about it6.

But, what do you get with this? Basically, at this stage, EKS is a fully managed control plane. You get a pair of master and etcd nodes in 3 different availability zones, and this runs a standard version of Kubernetes. In addition, through the use of Kubernetes plugins, you get tighter integration with AWS services, such as the ability to use IAM for authentication, the AWS VPC CNI plugin for networking7, and a lot more.

What you don’t get at this stage is managed worker nodes. Those you still need to create yourself, but at least there are AMIs available for spinning them up quickly. Some other things don’t seem to be fully worked out yet either, but I do not doubt that the EKS team is hard at work trying to fulfil all our wishes.

  1. Technically, impending acquisition as it won’t be finalised until later this year. ↩︎

  2. I wrote that sentence before noticing the title of GitHub’s blogpost. It fits though. ↩︎

  3. Their comments in the early 2000’s in particular were a reason for me to switch away from using any of their software. ↩︎

  4. Aside from Memojis of course 🤩. ↩︎

  5. Which seemed to only be available to some very select customers. ↩︎

  6. Unless you’re asking for a region other than Sydney, in which case you should keep quiet. Really. That is definitely not a selfish lie. Nope. ↩︎

  7. At Container Camp we got a deep dive into this, and it works really nice. ↩︎

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