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Collective GitHub exodus, please
Collective GitHub exodus, please
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toastal does not support GitHub as a platform

Choosing proprietary tools and services for your free software project ultimately sends a message to downstream developers and users of your project that freedom of all users—developers included—is not a priority.

  • Git should be decentralized, not requiring a specific platform. While there are some enhancements to the process, there should not be a barrier beyond email if a user does not wish to share data with GitHub. Due to this, many projects are stuck on GitHub through vendor-lock-in. As a user, I must fork your project on GitHub to submit a merge request. Worse is some communities, like Elm and Nix have tied their user identity to this closed system.

  • GitHub is trying to make code unnecessarily ‘social’ which doesn’t need to exist. We don’t need targeted advertising for other projects or people being overly worried about how colorful status progress bars are. Plug: I have created a uBlock Origin list to help declutter your page.

  • GitHub is owned by Microsoft—the same company that used embrace, extend, extinguish (EEE) in the past to ruin software as a whole. Microsoft is trying to further monopolize with Azure, Codespaces, Visual Studio (regular & Code), NPM, Sponsors, and trying to steal mindshare from free software with Windows Subsystem Linux (WSL). Over time, they have been pushing for tighter and tighter integrations, and we can assume eventually they will see no need to afford any interop and more proprietary extensions will be added. This is what happens under capitalism and publicly traded companies are legally obligated to make profits for the shareholders and have no allegience to helping the users if it does not help profit.

  • GitHub is closed source. While Git is open and many of the projects on GitHub are, GitHub is not. If you have a problem, you can’t just send up a fix nor can you fork and self-host the project. Putting your business’s data on it assures no protections.

  • The API of GitHub is not very stable. So while you can tool your way around simple things like email, it is not as simple with GitHub.

  • GitHub’s Copilot should not be supported and it’s controversially either spitting out code that violates GPL or as one lawyer said all outputs are derivative and must be in the public domain (so your code may have future legal issues), it copies bugs, and isn’t there to help more than you help train it. As it is meant to be paid in the future, right now, you the user are training it and not getting paid for your service despite the stated future being that it will be It is now a product sold back to you. While lessening the barrier to entry for programming could be good, training on all of our open code behind a closed platform, closed data, and captital-hungry entity to sell isn’t in the spirit of open source or free software.

  • The $500k donation PR stunt is an attempt to get more people to buy into their payment platform (which will take an additional 10% cut beyond an other transaction fees). Naturally this was paid out only to folks that signed up for their payment service in an attempt to bring others in and further monopolize the source code platform.

  • GitHub has a terrible landing page experience. Does your CI build status badges in your README really help me understand the how/what/why of your project, or are you bloating the README because GitHub doesn’t give you more flexible ways to mark up your projects? GitLab has badges as a project setting. Sourcehut lets you upload arbiritrary (sanitized) HTML to the landing page. As an HN user eloquently phrased it, the README has become a RENDERME and thusly GitHub has ruined the README. A lot of the recent good ideas coming into GitHub have been borrowed from its competitors (Mermaid docs, integrated CI/CD). Now they want to break Markdown standards further despite existing proposals to CommonMark with more GitHub-flavored nonsense because they are a bully and no longer feel they need to cooperate.

We’ve seen most GPL, GNU, and privacy-oriented projects move to alternatives because they want to respect their users and the spirit of open source. I hope to see your projects move to one of the alternatives soon too.

What can I as a user do?

  • Use an alternative Git code forge

    Git-supporting Code Forge Alternatives
    * SourceHut

    self-hostable AGPL service where using their hosted basics are free (including mailing lists and an IRC bouncer), but CI is paid, however it is not VC-funded nor does it have investors or shareholders to appease

    * GNU Savannah

    for FLOSS software where your projects need to be approved as such

    * Gitea

    self-hosted, FLOSS GitHub clone essentially

    * Codeberg

    Gitea hosted by a German non-profit

    * cgit

    tiny, self-hosted GPL Git UI

    * GitLab

    free, open-core, Ruby-based forge support full build pipeline and self-hostable (however are VC-funded and have investors to appease, so we’ll see about the future)

  • Ask your code communities and workplace to switch to an alternative code forge or officially support a mirror on an alternative. If that cannot be done, ask your code communities and workplace to at least allow additions to its larger ecosystem from these alternatives (plugins, packages, etc.).

  • Oppose all attempts to standardize, endorse, or weigh anything in GitHub’s specific favor (like shorthands for packages)

  • Make sure educational institutions aren’t requiring students to sign up from proprietary accounts. It’s bad enough that the next generation continues to be trained in Adobe Suite and Microsoft Office instead of FLOSS options, but now Git and other VCS are in the same boat where fundamentals can be learned that don’t require a proprietary service (and universites in particular have the resources to self-host at least cgit).

Then why are you even here?

I support open source projects and a lot of it is here unfortunately. I care more about the spirit of open source projects than my personal stance on where the code is hosted, but we really need to get more code off this platform. You can’t have any migration conversations without contributing to projects in good faith. To a lot of people GitHub is seen as a default and alternatives were never considered.

Also let’s get mad that GitHub strips out <abbr> tags from rendered documents such as this even though these tags would help accessibility.

Where can I find your code now?


  1. either Public

    Elm Either

    Elm 23

  2. mailto Public

    Elm mailto links made easy

    Elm 8

  3. endo Public

    Endo for Elm

    Nix 4

821 contributions in the last year

Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Mon Wed Fri

Contribution activity

October 2022

Opened 1 pull request in 1 repository
NixOS/nixpkgs 1 open
Reviewed 1 pull request in 1 repository
NixOS/nixpkgs 1 pull request
Opened 1 issue in 1 repository
NixOS/nixpkgs 1 open

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