Microsoft’s recent decision to acquire GitHub in a $7.5 billion transaction will result in several improvements to the open platform. In its announcement, Microsoft confirmed GitHub will continue to run independently. Now GitHub says it will make GitHub Education a completely free service for schools.

It is worth mentioning that Microsoft is mostly just pushing a ball that was already rolling. GitHub has already been testing GitHub Education in a limited number of locations. Indeed, the platform has been available to students and teachers at no cost for some time.

One significant difference is now the service comes with some important improvements.

“GitHub Education includes access to GitHub, an ever-growing suite of developer tools in the Student Developer Pack, workflows for teachers in GitHub Classroom, and training through Campus Experts and Campus Advisors,” GitHub explained in the announcement.

“Now we are putting all of these tools and programs together—along with free access to our Business Plan and GitHub Enterprise, so your entire school can get on board at no cost.”

GitHub has placed some requirements in front of schools if they are to use GitHub Education for free. Firstly, all technical departments within a school must offer GitHub, and use their logo on the official GitHub Education website.

Additionally, all schools must allow GitHub Education to send them announcements. Furthermore, an administrator is needed to go through a teacher training program for each department. Schools willing to jump through those hoops can apply directly for the service here.

GitHub Acquisition

Microsoft’s decision to buy GitHub was met with mixed responses. The Linux Foundation has praised the move. Speaking on the official blog, executive director Jim Zemlin said:

“This is pretty good news for the world of Open Source and we should celebrate Microsoft’s smart move[…] Open source developers changed our world. Microsoft gets that, which is why they purchased GitHub. I for one am excited to see the improvements they’ll make and will be shocked if Nat were to screw it up.”

However, praise has not been universal. Developers have been cautious at best and outright dismissive at worst. Many dev’s decided Microsoft’s involvement was too much to take and moved to rival hosting service Bitbucket, while many have expressed concerns about the acquisition.