to git or not to git

Carsten Agger agger at
Tue Aug 28 13:11:06 UTC 2018

On 08/28/2018 01:19 AM, Guido Arnold wrote:

> What I see as the crucial part is the "social" component. I'm afraid
> this somewhat derails Alessandro's intended discussion as my point
> totally ignores "who" the current owner of github is.
> If you have a project and are looking for more developers to join it,
> you need some kind of visibility so potential developers get aware of
> you. In that sense, github serves as a social network and its current
> state is close to amazon or ebay - and that is what I suspect is why
> they even bothered to buy it.

Yes,  Github has become the "Facebook" or "Google" of free software code 
hosting - nearly everybody uses it, and many of the hugest projects have 
moved to it.

This is not all bad. In my own company, we used to use our own, 
self-hosted Git server (we still do, for some things) which we access 
over SSH. This means that even though our software was always Free 
Software, it wasn't publicly available. Over the years (since 2011, but 
gaining momentum since 2014) we've been moving everything to public 
repositories on Github, so now our code is also publicly available, 
which is a good thing. (Though it's not /that/ important with regard to 
the question of it being Free Software or not.)

I'd say, though, that my experience is that the "social media" aspect of 
Github is not as important as e.g. on YouTube or eBay. People find your 
software if they hear of it somewhere, in distro repositories, through 
clients, co-workers, mailing lists, forums, etc., and it's not so 
important where it's hosted. PyPI and CPAN (for Python and Perl) are 
more important, I think, but also not really social media.

A thing that /is/ nice, though, and that makes it very irritating that 
Github isn't free software, is the pull request and code review 
functionality. After using it, it's hard to go back to inspecting diffs 
in terminal windows.

Now, following Microsoft's acquisition, we're considering moving to a 
self-hosted Gitlab server. And I hope more people will do that. I think 
this centralization of having one site for search, one for selling 
stuff, one for code, one for social interaction, etc., is the sickness 
of the age - and one that very much promotes the proprietary business 
model. So my immediate hope on hearing about Microsoft's acquisition was 
that this would mean Github decaying and the hosting splintering - but 
not in two, three or even five new pieces, but in a million little 
pieces. As you say, self-hosting and decentralization is the best thing 
we can hope for - and that is also our best hope for avoiding these 
giants' proprietary software and all-pervasive surveillance, to which 
we're becoming all too used.

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <>

More information about the Discussion mailing list