Still on Github

Over 4 years ago now, I wrote about moving ostree to Github, and I wanted to add an update here. I still think it was the right move.

Free Software is important to me – but I think Github overall provides a lot more benefit to FOSS than harm from its mostly proprietary nature. Providing a zero-cost mostly reliable featureful platform (also with various zero-cost CI available) is a huge accelerant to all the FOSS projects that use it. And whenever I have to try to contribute a patch via email that has no CI checking I sometimes just want to throw up my hands and move on.

But for the people who don’t agree with me and think Free Software needs free tools – I say awesome. I am very glad you exist, and really there’s about 20% of me that also agrees. That part of me is happy when I come across projects hosted in e.g. at least. It’s obviously good for there to be some diversity and competition, beyond the fact that Gitlab is at least at the core FOSS. I also hope at some point somehow pagure’s model of storing issues and PR comments in Git takes off too. Or maybe it’ll be something like Radicle.

Anyways, that’s really all there is to say – I continue to use Github for those reasons but I’m happy to see new tooling that might also win in the future. Or just cool developments in existing tools. My goal here is just to have these current thoughts written down so I can link to it in various places.


  1. Pingback: Poor excuses to not #deletegithub and still help #microsoft attack … | Dr. Roy Schestowitz (罗伊)

  2. From your blog post, I still don’t get why you prefer GitHub over GitLab. Everything you mention is also available using GitLab, and especially the CI is more powerful and full-grown on GitLab. “We’re already on GitHub, it features everything we need, moving would be work and complicated” would be enough of an argument, but it is missing in your blog post.

  3. Very fair point! Broadly speaking it boils down to two things:

    – The “open core” thing is a bit difficult to champion sometimes to a broader audience.
    – The way GH does CI as a generic thing that is easy for 3rd parties to plug into is better for us because we have needs that aren’t covered by the stock “Gitlab runs containers for you” approach. Now you can always have your CI in GL go and talk to *other* systems to do the heavy lifting but that can get awkward around correctly propagating all the source information, handling timeouts, etc.
    – And framing the question starting from this point as opposed to 4 years ago: Inertia and things like having to manage repository access across two separate systems.

    But actually probably will try to start using probably for some personal things.

    • In GL you can use any docker image you want, and if you have particular needs, you can create your own Docker image and host it on Docker Hub (or GL itself) so you can use it in your GL CI/CD when you want.

  4. Not so long ago (after installing Gitea), I heard about the effort around federated forges protocol, and the ForgeFed project. It is not ready yet, but it seems progressing nicely, and it might be something worth keeping a eye on.

  5. Are you rethinking your view of Github in light of Microsoft’s Copilot non-attribution plagiarism of GPL code? I understand your short term attitude of Github being convenient and free, but are you not neglecting the much greater long term harm which is being done?

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