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    Maybe I’m old and bitter.. but I have serious concerns about how we as a community can get captured by Microsoft via things like GitHub and their Citus Data purchase. “We” struggled to keep up with free implementations of things like CIFS and now some popular open source resources are under Microsoft’s control.

    We risk that all the people able and willing to do important work are all tied up on Microsoft products and don’t have the energy or legal freedom to work on open source.

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      I think we should be extremely careful. For may people e-mail means Google Mail, search means Google search, social network means Facebook/Instagram/WhatsApp.

      It is not inconceivable that GitHub becomes synonymous with development, especially with the strong backing of Microsoft. Network effects are extremely strong and I think we are already at a point where a lot of (newer) developers don’t know how to do code reviews outside GitHub PRs, only consider putting their open source projects on GitHub in the fear of missing out on contributions, and/or put their projects on GitHub since it gives the largest opportunity to get stars which are good for their resume/careers.

      This trend of tying more and more things from GitHub into GitHub makes things worse, since additions to GitHub are not a level playing field anymore. GitHub can make all the APIs that they need, 3rd parties have to use whatever APIs GitHub chooses to make available.

      We should try to make more and more projects available through sr.ht, GitLab, and other ‘forges’ to ensure that there are healthy and viable alternatives.

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        I hesitate to reply since I don’t have much to say that goes beyond “me too”, but in this case I think the importance of the subject merits a supportive response anyway. I very much agree with these concerns and would like to thank everyone who’s raising them.

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          I would love to ditch GitHub as:

          1. its been ugly for 2 years now https://twitter.com/mdo/status/830138373230653440

          2. its been bloated for several years

          3. its closed source https://github.com/github/pages-gem/issues/160

          but the alternatives i know of are even worse. sourcehut doesnt even offer HTTPS push:

          Date: Fri, 16 Nov 2018 14:07:39 -0500
          From: Drew DeVault <sir@cmpwn.com>
          Subject: Re: Welcome to sr.ht!'
          On 2018-11-16  1:04 PM, Steven Penny wrote:
          > I would prefer to write over https not ssh, is it possible
          This is deliberately unsupported - SSH is more secure.

          GitLab doesnt offer contributions in last year:


          and their commits use… shudder infinite scrolling:


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            sourcehut supports HTTPS cloning but only SSH pushing

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              corrected thanks - I want HTTPS clone and push - seems silly to offer only 1

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          We risk that all the people able and willing to do important work are all tied up on Microsoft products and don’t have the energy or legal freedom to work on open source.

          Is this risk related to GitHub Sponsors in any way?

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            GitHub is popular now. If they start abusing their power too much then there is plenty of competition.

            Since you mention you’re old, do you remember when SourceForge was great and all the developers would host their projects there?

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              I don’t remember SourceForge relying on network effects that much though. Sure, the source and releases were there, but I don’t think all of the development activity was tied up to it, was it?

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                SourceForge also provided mailing lists and that was probably the primary code review and support channel for many projects.

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                  SourceForge also had issue tracker. It was headache to migrate. For example, Python project wrote custom tooling to migrate SourceForge issues.

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                    It was also a all-in-one platform and people who learned to contribute to one project could translate that knowledge to the other projects.

                    At the time there were much less integrations between services and there were at least an order of magnitude less developers, so it doesn’t translate 1:1.

                    One advantage GitHub has is all the special treatment for tooling but other than that I don’t see the network effect being too strong. Developers are the best equipped to escape. Projects are still independent from each-other and it’s easy to migrate projects to GitLab if necessary. If fact they must have seen a lot of projects leave already after the Microsoft acquisition and I bet they are being extra careful, which is good for us :)

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                  Agreed. This should be obvious and I’m surprised people who care about free software are giving GitHub any attention at all.

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                    And our battle cry will be “Remember Stacker”.

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                    OK, my first thought was “Yeah but what’s the percentage they take off the top?”

                    The answer is zero and they’re going to match contributions.

                    Think about that from a pure potential perspective for a moment.

                    I’m as suspicious of M$ as the next guy, but this smells like pure win from where I sit.

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                      They mention “for the first year” and then a minimal amount to cover the transaction fees.

                      Microsoft is big on throwing money at projects to make them popular.

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                      Is it me or is GitHub really going into their product arms recently? Like over the last two years; they’ve pushed out more non-VCS specific features into their platform that (if embraced) makes it hard to move away / compare against other options.

                      It feels a bit icky to me.

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                        Also today: https://dependabot.com/blog/hello-github/

                        Personally, I don’t really see the issue. It is making the platform better, and I don’t really see a “lock-in”: git is still open and distributed, and I can git push to $any server just as easy as GitHub.

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                          Git, as it stands, is decentralized, totally.

                          The Wiki is marginally as well, since it’s Git backed.

                          I’m talking about the VCS features (the pipelines, status reporting in merge requests, issue management, following other projects, “trending” repositories, a pseudo social graph, etc). A lot of it are marginally useful and some others feels like straight up noise.

                          Granted, this is def a side effect of them having to doubly prove their worth outside of just hosting a crap ton of data.

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                            GitHub has certainly become more of a “package deal” in the last few years. I fine things like code reviews quite useful. Others like Projects strike me as less useful, at least to me.

                            Thus far, GitHub has fairly reasonable. For example the “funding button” you can now create is controlled by a YAML file, and the default includes options for patreon, open collective, and a number of others, as well as providing a “custom” option. It’s not “you must use GitHub funding”.

                            Could this change in the future? I guess. But I don’t think that we should live in fear of “what could potentially happen” (while also, of course, not being naïve, but thus far there are no strong red flags at GitHub).

                            I don’t think it’s in GitHub/Microsoft’s interests anyway. GitHub earns most of its money from Enterprise sales, and these kind of features strike me as a kind of “marketing”. I also think that Microsoft in particular learned that corporate assholery is a good way to antagonize developers (then again, they still made plenty of money, a does e.g. Oracle).

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                          Let’s look at some definitions of the Embrace, Extend, Extinguish strategy.

                          Embrace: Development of software substantially compatible with a competing product, or implementing a public standard.

                          Extend: Addition and promotion of features not supported by the competing product or part of the standard, creating interoperability problems for customers who try to use the ‘simple’ standard.

                          Extinguish: When extensions become a de facto standard because of their dominant market share, they marginalize competitors that do not or cannot support the new extensions.

                          Given these definitions I don’t think it’s quite embrace extend extinguish due to how it doesn’t yet create interoperability problems. However I do think it is reasonable to be concerned, given how closely it does track to EEE.

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                            I don’t think it’s quite embrace extend extinguish due to how it doesn’t yet create interoperability problems

                            Git is just git, and that seems fine. But can you easily port your GitHub issues and CI pipelines to another forge or hosting platform, even a straight-up clone like GitLab? As far as I know, there’s no feature in either GitHub or any of their competitors to support that. But in principle, I believe it’s just a scrape-and-parse job, without any legal impediments. I agree, not much EEE going on there.

                            Although I don’t use it at all myself, I think the real value that GitHub provides is the “social network” aspect of the platform. The “network effects” are, I suspect, what really keeps individuals and open-source projects on it despite being free to walk away any time. Similar to Medium, especially now with this funding / sponsorship feature.

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                              But can you easily port your GitHub issues and CI pipelines to another forge or hosting platform, even a straight-up clone like GitLab? As far as I know, there’s no feature in either GitHub or any of their competitors to support that.



                              These are just the ones I knew existed.

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                                I tried this and it doesn’t work as well as it looks, especially if you want to keep bidirectionality.

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                                  It doesn’t allow you to synchronize them. It’s just there if you want to ditch GitHub entirely.

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                              Their strategy is to offer extra features above their commodity GIT hosting services. Proprietary features make it harder to switch if other services don’t have those features. But crucially, GitHub adding these features does not mean others can not either. It’s not anti-competitive yet.

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                              They have Microsoft money and resources now. Additionally, their competitor Gitlab has been advertising itself as a “full developer pipeline” for a while now.

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                              That may be great for the open-source community, especially if the next step will be to help corporations fund projects they depend on (getting $5 from your peers is nice, but there are billion-dollar companies built on OSS infrastructure, and that’s where the money is).

                              And it’s great for GitHub. Currently the main incentive for being on GitHub is social (that’s where users/contributors expect you to be). If this takes off, being on GitHub will also have a financial incentive.

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                                Like it! More ways to pay devs that are pushing open source.

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                                  That’s quite impressive actually. I had my doubts since the acquisition, but turns out that this hopefully won’t be another Skype-tastrophe after all.

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                                    I like it, I just wish I didn’t have to clutter my repository with more yaml crap.

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                                        lol, I don’t mind that it is yaml, more that I have to put a bunch of files from different services in my root directory.

                                        .github for sponsors, .builds for linux/bsd CI from sr.ht and .travis for mac os CI support from travis CI.

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                                      Am I the only one who doesn’t feel right about pushing a “capitalist” mentality into open-source software (OSS)?

                                      I mean, OSS has been there thriving as mainly a volunteering endeavour for the past 40 years or more. There seems to be a new generation of programmers which seem to think “how is it possible that people do work for free”? That doesn’t seem to be logical because in every other aspect of our society you would never do work for free.

                                      However, it has been working for OSS, and even if this GitHub sponsors works out, it will continue working as purely a volunteering. Sure you have examples where lots of money have been poured into OSS projects and progress was made (think of Redis or others) but these seem to be the exceptions.

                                      The overall mentality of OSS is that you work on something purely because you want to work on it. Not because you need a compensation.

                                      These projects seem to “taint” that mentality.

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                                        For context, I’m 20, so I guess I’m a part of the “new generation of programmers” (although I have many peers who think very differently than I do, so I’m not sure how much I actually speak for/represent anyone else in the “new generation”). I’ve been exposed to the ideas of free software in one form or another for over a decade. I would use this feature for small random projects I make, maybe.

                                        The overall mentality of OSS is that you work on something purely because you want to work on it. Not because you need a compensation.

                                        I don’t think getting money and working on things for fun are mutually exclusive. I write free software no matter what because I enjoy it and because I believe in the ethical goals of free software. But if someone wants to tip me for the work I do? That’s excellent and it makes me feel good and explicitly valued. In fact, I have a Liberapay profile for that exact reason. It currently says I’m making $0, which is perfectly fine by me, but if it said $5, that would make me feel really good. That would mean that my work impacted someone else enough that they felt like tipping me some of their own money.

                                        I would also like to say that overall I feel like the mentality expressed in this sentence is really toxic. IIUC - which I may not! - you’re basically saying that unless you do work for free, you’re not a “real” contributor to open source or free software. That is an extremely privileged position to take. What about people who believe in free software and want to share their code, but are not financially able to spend lots of time on volunteering? Are they lesser contributors because they can’t afford to not charge for their labor?

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                                          My take was at a much higher-level of interpretation: OSS as a whole has shown that it can work without the usual capitalist mentality we assume is needed for everything else. That it can work without money and by individuals randomly aggregating based on what they’re passionate about and doing great work.

                                          This to me can serve as an example to politics, social-studies, economics, etc. where “money” seems to be the solution to the problems they’re facing. Well, OSS has shown that it made something brilliant, probably even more brilliant than “money made software” without much organization, structure or money.

                                          This is the essence of what I was trying to say.

                                          Of course I wouldn’t want the less privileged to not be able to contribute. Of course getting money feels good. But that was not my point. I was taking a larger take at what OSS has achieved and the things that we can learn from it for other parts of our society.

                                          In essence my complaint was that instead of taking these ideas and applying them to our society we are doing the opposite: taking capitalist ideas (which have not worked well so far for our collective good) and applying them to open source.

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                                            Hm, interesting. I definitely agree that open source/free software seems to have created a unique culture where people do amazing things despite no apparent central authority or agenda. I do wonder if that can exist at the same time as the “capitalist” models that you see making their way into the community. I personally think the answer is yes, but I could be wrong. It sounds like you think the answer might be no, though, and that’s what you’re complaining about? Is that right? If so I’m having a hard time reconciling that with some people’s need to charge money for all the work they do. I think maybe if you’re right then there’s no right answer and we are left with a set of tradeoffs, both unideal in different ways, from which to choose.

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                                              I personally think the answer is yes, but I could be wrong. It sounds like you think the answer might be no, though, and that’s what you’re complaining about

                                              I honestly think that money can taint stuff. There’s general laws of economics and game-theory studies around how a group of people can take sides based on someone getting more than the rest for unjust work. Other very complicated things start becoming a matter of competition (again because we’re competitive creatures and when you give us something like money we tend to compete in a selfish way).

                                              Of course “tipping” someone for good work isn’t going to hurt the community. But the problem is that with the advent of these projects the overall mentality is changing. I don’t know if this will lead to a future of OSS where there will be comments on github issues asking why the author hasn’t implemented such features given that I donated “real world money” and I need a response (just a dull example).

                                              Indeed it can lead to goodness, but OSS is already quite bright compared to anything else we have in society or politics or any form of self-organization; so why risk tainting it with something (money) that has proven to taint every other sector of our lives?

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                                                I’m already seeing projects with a ‘subscribers-only’ issue tracker that the core team looks at, and a ‘community’ issue tracker that the core team ignores. This sort of tech is already getting adopted to fight maintainer burnout.

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                                          I can’t see this getting used for random projects; I think the whole point is to support e.g. data stores, language implementors, crypto libraries and other common infrastructure.