Moving away from GitHub.

The tale of centralised source code management. #

Prologue #

For a long time I’ve been a user of github, for personal public projects it has served me well enough and “github is the home for everything modern” has been sort of ingrained into my head for some time.

For private things we at darkscience and at libsecure had used Atlassian bitbucket, since they have a free tier that allows only private repos, and github has the same thing but about public repos, they complimented each other and our objectives perfectly. There was a minor hassle of course, but generally for a frugal group of people such as us, it was perfect.

And then, the shitstorm; #

ok, not a real shitstorm, more like “increasing amounts of discomfort”, github were beginning to censor and take down random repositories.

It’s not that we do anything particularly bad at darkscience but we generally err on the side of freedom, libre software, libre speech and generally an open lifestyle. While we can look past certain misgivings on the freedom side of things, we cannot overlook censorship since this is a core tenet of what it means to be a member of darkscience, or indeed, libsecure.

Social influence #

I do not like using a certain term which is applied to third wave feminism or the radical “equality of outcome” movement, but it has taken some serious strides in recent years and nowhere is this more apparent than github itself. In that we find the chief diversity officer noting that

it’s hard to even interview a white person

and saying that:

white women are the biggest barrier to women in tech

and posting statistics which seem to be living the Pokémon phrase “gotta catch them all”.

For GitHub, gender, race and sexuality play a large part of hiring and additionally the advancement of career prospects for its employees. This strikes me (and incidently other admins/opers) as being blatantly anti-equality which is something we pride ourselves on being.

Complicated. #

Managing issues with 2 issue trackers, multiple accounts, 2FA on each, managing keys etc; was proving somewhat tricky. We wanted to have backups of everything, continuous integration which was controlled by us. There are a myriad of subtle complexities that make it hard to use someone elses platform.

Coupled with that, we were “consumers” of the system, and most of our skills at darkscience & libsecure are of providing services.. which we ourselves were consuming. I, myself am a Senior Infrastructure Engineer, and there are others in the team with similar roles in the real world.

Conclusion. #

A decision was made to host our own, we checked out a few options, both paid and open source. (for those wondering here’s a list) but ultimately decided on gitlab.

Honestly, the nail in the coffin for us, was the social justice extremism that has waved over github, it is, in our mind, systematically racist, sexist and should not be encouraged.

As a result of the switch however, we are able to supply 100 repositories for all darkscience and libsecure members private or public. There is no upper limit on the size of the repositories and there is a continuous integration system that can be used too.

This is completely free, untracked, only logged anonymously debugging purposes. We will continue to fund this project through darkscience donations (and out of our pockets when that isn’t met). We hope you enjoy the system and report any bugs to us in [IRC]. :)

Thanks and please continue developing cool things! #

PS: While we have no issue offering this service for free for any users of this system and not IRC, if you’d like to see this service improve in future please check out our donation options, and contact an operator.


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