to git or not to git

Bjoern Schiessle schiessle at
Tue Sep 11 09:59:51 UTC 2018

Hi all,

sorry for being late in the discussion but I still want to comment on
one point:

On Tue, 28 Aug 2018 15:11:06 +0200 Carsten Agger wrote:
> 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.

Couldn't we argue the same way if we would discuss "traditional
homepage vs Facebook page"?

Sure, with every search engine you can find a homepage (almost) as fast
as a Facebook page. Keeping aside that Facebook often makes it
easier to find a specific person because you can search specific
properties like name, city,... But if Facebook becomes the de-facto
standard for people personal home, than many people will only search at
Facebook, if they don't find you, you don't exists for them. Facebook
reached this state for a large number of internet users already.

All this is more or less true for code hosting with Github these days as

> 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.

I think the "value added" functionality is what many "old school
hackers" underestimate. Sure you can have a plain and stupid VCS, a
separate bug tracker, a separate project management tool, a separate
wiki,... In this case it might be easy to move to another VCS if you
have to, ignoring that you will break all the links from the bug
tracker, etc for a moment. And sure, people can send their patches just
per email.

But I think that's no longer the workflow and integration which will
invite many new contributors to join your project. I read a blog post
from a Gnome Developer recently where he wrote how amazing it is that
they get so much new contributors since they moved from their ageing git
repository and bugzilla to Gitlab.

Another part of the social lock-in effect is that if you host your own
project on Github, the chance is high that the 3rd-party libs you are
using is also on Github. This way you can easily collaborate, mention
the developer of a 3rd-party lib in your bug tracker if you need some
feedback, send back a pull request, etc.

I read regularly from projects who decide against moving away from
Github, exactly for all this reasons. 


Björn Schießle
Coordinator Germany
Free Software Foundation Europe (
gnupg/pgp key: 0x0x2378A753E2BF04F6 
fingerprint: 244F CEB0 CB09 9524 B21F B896 2378 A753 E2BF 04F6
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