Today the acquisition of GitHub by Microsoft was announced. Lots of people (myself included) have expressed their concerns about the consequences of this acquisition. Some people worried that Microsoft would end up ruining GitHub the same way it did to Skype. Some worried that it could be part of a traditional embrace, extend, extinguish move to kill off competition. Some worried that they could change the terms of service to grant themselves more rights over the code that is hosted on GitHub (that was my first worry, and I've seen it reflected elsewhere on Mastodon). At the same time, many people have countered that the new GitHub CEO will be a person friendly to open-source (Nat Friedman, founder of Xamarin), that Microsoft's stance towards open source has changed a lot in the last years, and that probably not much will change in the GitHub service.
I have reflected for a while about what should I do, and I decided that I will move my projects away from GitHub.
Here is my take on this: It does not matter whether Microsoft will ruin GitHub or not. To keep my personal projects on GitHub would be endorsing Microsoft, and I don't want to do this. It's not (only) that the company has a terrible track of mistreating the FOSS community. It's not (only) about what the company has done in the past. It's that in the present Microsoft still regularly mistreats its users, by pushing spyware on them (in the form of Windows 10 telemetry), by pushing ads on them (in the Windows 10 equivalent of the start menu), by de-decentralizing Skype and thus facilitating surveillance, by taking control away from users over their own systems (e.g., by forcing updates upon users and making it really difficult to disable automatic reboot), and so on. (This article has a nice list of bad things Microsoft has done in the past, which should be kept in mind too, but my point is that even if you ignore the past and look just at the present, there's plenty of reasons to dislike Microsoft.)
I don't want to endorse or support this company in any way, and I feel that keeping my projects there (and by implication requiring other people to use their services if they want to create issues, contribute code, etc.) is a form of endorsement. Therefore my decision is to move away.
I won't do this immediately, though. Although I have already decided that I will move away from GitHub, I still haven't decided where I will move to. The acquisition is not yet complete, and I will take my time to consider my options – whether I will move to some other code hosting service such as GitLab or BitBucket, or whether I will host my own server (and if so, which server software I will use), or whether I will go bare-bones and just have plain Git repositories and home pages for each project. I'm also wondering if this might be a good time to move away from Git and give Fossil a try.
I also may keep my GitHub account (assuming they don't make radical changes to the terms of service or the nature of the service), so I can open and comment on issues of projects still hosted there, and so I can point to whatever new place I decide to host my stuff on in my profile.
Copyright © 2010-2018 Vítor Bujés Ubatuba De Araújo
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