Give up GitHub!

Most of my 120 git repositories hosted at GitHub now look like this:

Give Up GitHub

This project has given up GitHub. (See Software Freedom Conservancy's Give Up GitHub site for details.)

You can now find this project at Codeberg instead.

Any use of this project's code by GitHub Copilot, past or present, is done without our permission. We do not consent to GitHub's use of this project's code in Copilot.

Join us; you can give up GitHub too!

Logo of the GiveUpGitHub campaign

The why  is best explained by the link above, but here's my personal take:

20 years ago, free, libre, open source software enabled me to enable low-budget organisations to do amazing things: inspiring and training  thousands of young activisits to bring about change from local to international level.

For example, when I joined People & Planet in the late 90s we had to pay out 1.5 times my annual salary in fees to Microsoft - just to be able to write Word and edit Excel docs, and more again for the rest of the software we needed. Basic communication in the fast becoming digital world was taxed by an aggressive corporate monopoly.

I also battled on with Microsoft Access, finding work-arounds for bugs that I knew I had no hope of getting fixed by Microsoft, but having nowhere to turn. Then came the time when we could only buy Office 2000, which broke a lot of Access 97 code, costing a lot more to fix.

A trove of docs created in Lotus AmiPro got completely lost because the product ceased and the proprietary format could not be parsed by anything else!

Over the next years we had a policy of moving everything to open source equivalents. And things got better. Running Apache + PHP  was many times faster than running our old .asp site; new staff could be given OpenOffice (later LibreOffice) and be able to communicate professionally with ISO standard document formats; moving the database to MySQL massively boosted stability and speed; sharing files with Samba improved stability and removed the arbitrary limits placed on file sharing by Windows computers.

Eventually we got braver and replaced Windows with Ubuntu and it crashed less! And it didn't slow down after a year or two. In fact we had machines running for 10 years with users still reporting that they felt no need for an upgrade.

Since that wake-up call, I've fully embraced open source - but not just open source as in it's a good model for software development (which is why it's chosen as the model for an enormous amount of software these days), free-as-in-freedom software. 

Artful Robot (started in 2010) has been built on this principle: that

Software is best when it can be made better.

And that we - people working for equality and justice - need to share not compete. So as well as using free software, it's our standard model that any software created also has an open source license.

GitHub has been brilliant because git is brilliant and 'hub helps visualise that and work with others together. But it's become a monopoly; it's centralised something that was designed to avoid the pitfalls of centralisation! We've let it because it is convenient. (Don't get me started on phpstorm.)

So I today decided to move my 120 software projects (!) away. I will split my software repositories between an instance of GitLab run by CiviCRM, and an instance of Gitea run by Codeberg. I like Gitea because it's an open source project through and through and because you can self-host with only a Raspberry Pi if you like! And Codeberg is a not-for-profit focussed on supporting free software and migration is very easy.

I think it's really important that we don't let ourselves be duped into relying on one company, so I encourage you to read the Software Freedom Conservancy's Give Up GitHub site and walk away from Github if/when you can.


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