Who would have thought that someone at the top of one of the most important software development platforms in the world would start programming on a Robotron KC 87 small computer - from the production of VEB Robotron-Meßelektronik "Otto Schön" in Dresden?

Even more if he works for the capitalist Microsoft group?

Bastian Benrath

Editor in business.

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That's exactly how it is now. GitHub, one of the leading platforms for programming open source software, will be headed by Thomas Dohmke from November 15th. Since open source software is now at least included in almost all major software projects, he is now in a position of responsibility. GitHub provides so-called repositories in which programmers can store the code for their applications and, if desired, make it publicly available in order to discuss and collaborate with other programmers. The platform was acquired by Microsoft in 2018 for $ 7.5 billion.

Born in Berlin, Dohmke, who has lived in the USA for several years, spoke in a blog post on Tuesday that his new post was a dream come true for him.

After starting coding in the late 1980s and switching from the Robotron to a Commodore 64, he studied computer engineering at the TU Berlin from 1998 to 2003.

With a degree in engineering under his belt, he moved to the University of Glasgow, where he received his doctorate in mechanical engineering in 2008.

Start-up founded, bought by Microsoft

He then joined the then still young German start-up scene as a software developer. In 2011 he founded a company in Stuttgart for the mobile phone program “HockeyApp” he had devised - an app that recorded crash reports from other mobile phone programs live on smartphones and thus helped software developers to find and remove programming errors.

In 2015 Dohmke sold HockeyApp to Microsoft and went with it himself. At the headquarters in Redmond near Seattle, he initially continued to maintain his own app, but then began determinedly to climb the career ladder. When Microsoft announced that it would take over GitHub, he and Nat Friedman led the transition process on the corporate side. When GitHub co-founder Chris Wanstrath announced that he would be stepping down as CEO following the takeover, Friedman was named as his successor.

From then on, Dohmke took care of special GitHub projects, such as the “arctic code vault”. Last year, the platform had all the code stored in this abandoned coal mine on Spitsbergen, preserved on microfilm rolls for posterity. It was only in August of this year that Dohmke was promoted to GitHub's product manager. For some observers, the change at the top came as a surprise, especially since GitHub only opened its regular developer conference last week and announced all sorts of innovations on the platform - but not the change.

Both Dohmke and Friedman joined the traditionally freedom-loving community of open source programmers as "offshoots" of the Microsoft corporation.

With the takeover there was some concern that Microsoft would take advantage of its position as owner and push its own programs through on the platform.

In his three-year tenure, Friedman clearly refused, which allowed him to build a lot of trust.

Dohmke told TechCrunch that this attitude would not change under his leadership.

Friedman was a developer by nature, he is also one: “I think we have proven in recent years that we can remain independent, that we remain cloud-neutral, that we are doing the right thing for the developers and that we are Put developers first. "