This is really cool in spirit, but doesn’t this defeat the purpose of having Git be a distributed VCS?
With the exception of the Linux kernel itself, I don’t think it’s all that common in large organizations to make heavy use of the distributed aspects. Microsoft is probably just picking git here out of convenience as something to build on, rather than ideological commitment to the DVCS model. The branching model yes, but not the idea of different people keeping their own long-lived repos. Reportedly Google uses something pretty similar to this FUSE-based sparse view of a repo, though theirs isn’t built on top of git.
I don’t think it’s all that common in large organizations to make heavy use of the distributed aspects
That’s so true, I have been thinking about that a lot actually. In modern era GitHub we rely so much on centralized tools that it’s effectively centralized in practice.
This update has some useful explanation.