Give up on GitHub?

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I agree with this but I think that NixOS foundation is in no position of leaving Github, at least assuming we want our community to grow

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I would just quote my friend Ondrej on this, I’m sharing exactly the same point of view. I also do not think that leaving GitHub worth it as long as what we do on it is opensource.

I imagine Copilot as just another person who’s seen many pieces of code and reuses them from their brain at their job.

It happens every day with no regard to licensing and no one can do anything about it.

Link to the tweet: https://twitter.com/OndrejMirtes/status/1544046141804888072?t=XDbkzxyedqmz7SBp7Bltrg&s=19

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Yeah I wouldn’t necessarily suggest we leave GitHub any time soon either, but it does pose an interesting dilemma. To me, the Co-pilot issue is more just a catalyst to spark the current outrage, but my main issue with GitHub has always been that it’s sort of anti-thetical position of being a proprietary system for open projects. It’s a bit paradoxical, but unless a more open alternative becomes prominant, there isn’t much to do about it.

A self hosted gitlab is one option that could be aproximately comparable, but even then it’s extra maintenance. I did like the idea behind https://radicle.xyz/, but who knows if it will gain widespread adoption or bridge the usability or scalability gaps.

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Idk where it came up, but I recall someone (maybe Graham?) suggesting that, since nixpkgs is one of the more (most?) demanding OSS projects on gh, the operational/maintenance capacity to support us may be non-trivial.

Not sure if/how one could capacity-test any of the upstarts w/o paying all of the switching costs or effectively DDoSIng them, though…

I haven’t decided if I have a dog in the fight, but it would be a bit of a self-own to accidentally hamstring the project by moving it to a third-party or self-hosted service that can’t keep up.

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Radicale adds unnecessary complexity to what is essentially already distributed, git. git send-email is used every day by linux kernel developers, along with mailing lists.

I do think essentially NixOS needs to move away from the github issue tracker/projects and all the centralized services around git that github provides.

As for a replacement, I suggest Sourcehut because it builds on git and email/lists and makes these core technologies much more easily accessible, but in the unix philosophy way. It also has NO javascript! Just html/css/post data etc…

Oh, and its a well-supported NixOS module since last year :grinning:

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For mailing lists, this Discourse forum can double function like mailing lists.

But we need a seperate service to accept patches sent via git send-email however, as Discourse seems to handle patches not well.

For all the good things to be said about SourceHut, we need to lower the barriers of entry for contributors, not the opposite.

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If we could feed disney movies to an AI, and have it “dream” a functionally identical movie for a given title and then distribute the result as public domain, maybe you could change my mind with that reasoning, but I don’t think they will be quite as open to having their IP assimilated.

And unlike the small open source projects out there that don’t share your view, disney have lawyers to fight back.

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How can it get lower than email and mailing lists? you dont have to have an account on Sourcehut… Its just a utility to what’s already present. But yeah sure, centralized, popular github is a low barrier of entry to contributors in some ways.

I think the barriers have less to do with git and more to do with how much abstraction exists in nixpkgs and amount of first time PRs contributions that get no attention, among many other learning curves that have to do with how vastly different the nix ecosystem is.

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How can it get lower than email and mailing lists?
But yeah sure, centralized, popular github is a low barrier of entry to contributors in some ways.

To most recent entries into the scene, email and mailing lists are quite foreign. It’s all clicky-click in a browser.

I think the barriers have less to do with git and more to do with how much abstraction exists in nixpkgs and amount of first time PRs contributions that get no
attention, among many other learning curves that have to do with how vastly different the nix ecosystem is.

Those are absolutely also barriers. So again, the fewer things new contributors have to get their heads around, the more likely we are to get contributors and members who will hopefully stick around.

We want students who have time to mess around with it to come join us.

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I really like that sourcehut is so lightweight, but for me using mailing lists feels like a step back in usability.

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In addition to Sourcehut, other discussions I’ve been monitoring suggest Codeberg which is built upon Gitea. It looks to have a reasonable web-based UI. I haven’t tried Codeberg yet but plan to. I have set up Gitea on premises for about 40 users who seem quite satisfied by it.

My main concerns with any public hosting service are being true to open source ideas and sustainability. Open source commitment needs no elaboration. Sustainability means how is it governed and funded. GitHub is governed privately and is funded by commercial users. Codeberg, for example, is a community-driven non-profit intended to be community driven. Their funding model appears to be membership dues. Whether this is sufficient or not remains to be seen. Sourcehut will transition to paid accounts at some point (after the alpha) but states “users can also earn free service credits by contributing to sr.ht”. I couldn’t find their policy and pricing for hosting the canonical repo for an open source project. It looks like someone will need to email and ask for specifics.

TL;DR I think Codeberg or SourceHut are reasonable choices if the community decides to migrate away from GitHub (but it probably wouldn’t hurt to have a more detailed investigation first).

Drew Devault has a thought provoking article on the risks of using Copilot.

May be worth seeing how it goes for postmarketOS? But their announcement seems to suggest that drew and the sitehost team are quite keen to improve the ui story!

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There are ongoing work on implementing ActivityPub on software forge. It is still in early development, but it may be another exit possibillity out of GitHub once finished, stable and well tested (hopefully in a few years). https://forgefriends.org/

(ps: ActivityPub is a server to server federation protocol, a bit like server to server SMTP. Mastodon, Peertube and Mobilizon are example of software built using ActivityPub. Other system working on a similar way are Matrix and Email)

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