EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

01.20.20

Starting a GNU Replacement for GitHub, Possibly Based on GitLab

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF, Microsoft at 12:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Gitlab and Gnu

Summary: “It might be easier if we start from the GitLab software,” Stallman said

RECENTLY, a letter was sent to Richard Stallman to discuss threats associated with GitHub (among other things). Here is one proposal he entertained last week:

[Stallman:] Developing such software would be a big job, but possible if people are dedicated. It would probably take soe [sic] years.

It might be easier if we start form [sic] the GitLab software. That is free, right?

However, I doubt we could even possibly hope to pull most free software hosting away with GitHub.

Let’s suppose we do a great job of developing that software and we set up a server running it, and we want to compete with GitHub for projects to choose us. How many free projects are there on GitHub? Hundreds of thousands, I suppose.

To provide good service for that many projects, I think we would need a server farm, and hundreds of staff. We could not afford that.

We would need those staff, and rental for the server farm.

not for a one-time development expense, but as operating costs, year after year.

The only way we could do that is by charging for the service. Most projects would choose some other service which is gratis.

However, those projects that chose our service would get good service, since we could afford to give it to them, for pay.

We could make this work, but would it make a big difference?

The response (from Thomas Grzybowski):

Hi Richard,

I feel encouraged that most of your concern about a GitHub replacement is technical and economic. Those problems can be solved. The key is to use a distributed architecture.

I see five important reasons to go with a distributed git repository:

1. Distributed I/O and CPU load.
2. No single point of failure (such as a ddos attack).
3. No single site entity would have to finance and maintain a gargantuan datacenter.
4. No one country could censor the content of the repository.
5. No single entity could completely control the entire repository.

I have done some basic research and come up with a proposed technology: For the back-end the project can utilize a PostgreSQL database server utilizing Postgresql ltrees. Ltrees is a very powerful and performant database feature for tree-like data structures such as git, and it would be perfect for this application.

Putting the git data schema entirely in a database provides a secure and robust system, with transactional integrity.

Perhaps most importantly, PostgreSQL 10 has introduced a feature called “Logical Replication”, through which one can perform intra-database object-level replication across hosts. This can provide an efficient and solid transactional mechanism for distributed replication.

So, the core idea is to have several sites, located and independently financed in a number of countries.

Now, would such a thing make a BIG difference? Well, like most software projects it would start out small, and then get bigger. Code from Savannah can begin to be migrated-in, making it immediately important, and then the project will certainly receive a lot of attention. I think volunteers will be eager to get on board. As other hubs are established and various and diverse Free Software projects worldwide join-in there will be a compounding function in effect. I think ultimately such a system will provide the preferred repository for Free Software, since that domain will be the focus, and will have the benefits of the distributed implementation outlined above.

It will be an easy sell, assuming the interactive user experience is competitive; people will understand the importance immediately, since Free Software folks do not want to be overseen by Microsoft.

I can come up with a more detailed functional description and system specification if you would like.

Thanks,

Tom G.

Removing GNU/Linux projects from GitHub should be seen as a high-priority initiative. The FSF has not spoken about this yet (not in recent years).

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email
  • Slashdot

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. OSI President: Most or Half of the OSI's Money (Even Individual Donors' Money) Goes to a Microsoft-Led Initiative

    The OSI has turned from advocate of "Open Source" (a disingenuous attempt to set aside Free/libre software) to advocate of Microsoft and GitHub in just 3 years (since taking Microsoft's money/bribes)



  2. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, September 26, 2020

    IRC logs for Saturday, September 26, 2020



  3. The 24/7 'Tech' Worker (Babysitter of User-hostile Computing) and 'Expensive' Programmer

    The rights of workers are being reduced to nothing (many in their older years made redundant), even in an occupation that is indirectly responsible for automating and thus deprecating jobs in many other occupations



  4. Why Techrights is Totally Unexcited About the New Owner of Linux Journal

    Linux Journal might soon become an anti-Linux site (veiled hostility) if Slashdot's editorial preferences are anything to go by (Slashdot has just seized control of Linux Journal)



  5. The Cheapening of the Programmer is a Threat to Human Rights of All Computer Users

    From the era of computer experts (down to the low level of computing with transistors), mathematicians, physics gurus and respected technicians we've come to orders-following, user-apathetic engineers who are overworked, grossly underpaid, and way too fearful of raising ethical concerns (voicing disagreement can result in prompt dismissal, followed by perpetual unemployment) and this ensures digital oppression without checks and balances



  6. Links 26/9/2020: Wine 5.18, FreeBSD 12.2-BETA3 and Debian 10.6 Released

    Links for the day



  7. 'Appeal to Novelty' as a Lever for Proprietary Software Monopolies, Bloat (Planned Obsolescence) and More Surveillance

    Novelty is generally fine, but in many cases products are developed iteratively (not cumulatively) not to advance society or to objectively improve services, only to increase control over people (because emergent ‘freemium’-like business models nowadays revolve around addiction and subjugation, e.g. ‘brain-farming’ and manipulation of minds)



  8. IRC Proceedings: Friday, September 25, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, September 25, 2020



  9. Microsoft Windows is Obsolete

    The so-called 'leak' of old Windows code (almost 20 years old) is rather meaningless and useless; the world is moving past Windows, plus old Windows code cannot be used (due to the licence) and is barely used anymore, even in binary form



  10. [Meme] Conflating Critics of Corporate/Class Abuse With Womanisers and Chauvinists (and Now Doing the Same to Influential Women)

    It's regretful to see real victims of discrimination having their grievances and legitimate causes hijacked by opportunistic corporate media, which rallies a bunch of Internet trolls while oligarchs sponsor the whole thing, emboldening attacks on critics of powerful people (the likes of Jordan Peterson are a distraction; even women are nowadays being targeted using the very same tricks)



  11. Losing the Battle for Rights/Justice, Freedom/Liberty, and Emancipation Potential

    We're losing our most basic rights amid transition to "digital"; too little is being done to push back against this worrisome trend, which necessarily means reduction in both our freedom and our fundamental human rights



  12. Response to Eric Raymond (ESR) on “Last Phase of the Desktop Wars”

    Eric Raymond (ESR) talks about Microsoft's "embrace"; but there are many misunderstandings and misconceptions in his blog post, as we'll explain patiently, based on known facts



  13. Links 25/9/2020: Calibre 5.0, Fedora 33 Beta Days Away, Snap Setback

    Links for the day



  14. Faking 'Progress' to Distract From True Justice or From a Full, Meaningful Reform

    Activism for truly meaningful change doesn't stop at superficialities and cosmetic changes (which merely give a false sense/impression of accomplishment, resulting in inaction); we need to regularly consider how to dismantle injustice, not based on the criteria set by oligarchs-owned media, rallying gullible mobs to appease only big egos



  15. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, September 24, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, September 24, 2020



  16. Richard Stallman: New Interview About Privacy (Published This Morning)

    “The last few months have put data protection back in the spotlight. During a crisis of this kind, do we have to choose between safety and privacy? We talked about this with Richard Stallman, digital privacy activist and the founder of the Free Software Movement,” RT says



  17. Links 25/9/2020: PostgreSQL 13, DragonFly 5.8.2 and Python 3.8.6

    Links for the day



  18. Code of Ethics Versus Code of Conduct in Action

    Reprinted from Daniel Pocock's Web site



  19. Linux Foundation: “Transformation Through Open Source” is Proprietary Software That Rejects Linux

    The Linux Foundation, run by proprietary software companies that don’t really care about Linux, is still a lot more about openwashing (perception management techniques) than about “Open Source” or even Linux (which most of the Foundation rejects)



  20. Links 24/9/2020: KaOS 2020.09, Arch Conf 2020 Coming, IBM Z Day 2020 Ends

    Links for the day



  21. At ZDNet, in 2020, “Linux” Means Microsoft and Windows

    The incredible charade of ZDNet carries on; the site whose parent company went bust last December isn’t even trying to hide its true agenda



  22. Red Hat is Spamming People in Order to Promote Its Sites and Its Products, Subscribing People to Mass-Marketing Lists Without the Recipients' Consent

    "Engagements" from Red Hat; have the IBM-led marketing people gone overboard, subscribing lots of people to marketing spam without bothering to ask for consent?



  23. “If I'm the Father of Open Source, It Was Done by Artificial Insemination With Stolen Sperm”

    The father of the Free software movement, Richard Stallman, is being wrongly compared to some patron of an “open source” ‘movement’ (an early effort to cancel Stallman and the FSF), which is basically a hostile corporations-led ploy these days



  24. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, September 23, 2020

    IRC logs for Wednesday, September 23, 2020



  25. The Second Wave (of Free/Libre Software)

    Despite some major setbacks and new threats to digital freedom (autonomy is perhaps a more suitable term), progress is being made and activism must adapt to tackle newer trends



  26. Exploring the Relationship Between Red Hat and Microsoft: They're Barely Even Rivals Anymore

    The ‘older Microsoft’ (serial monopolist IBM) bought Red Hat, but evidence shows that one would be wrong to assume Red Hat really competes against Microsoft (any more than Novell did; there’s a strong relationship)



  27. Microsoft Lost More Than 15 Million Web Domains in One Month!

    Microsoft's presence on the Web is being reduced to ridiculously low levels; sooner or later Microsoft will turn from 'king' of parked (unused) domains to master of nothing



  28. Links 23/9/2020: Lenovo's Deeper GNU/Linux Dive and Tor Browser 10/Tails 4.10

    Links for the day



  29. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, September 22, 2020

    IRC logs for Tuesday, September 22, 2020



  30. The Latest Greenwashing Campaign by the EPO is Just 'Chinese Propaganda'

    When the EPO speaks of “innovation” and “clean energy transition” it means nothing but patents on batteries, in effect monopolies being granted in Europe (to a lot of Asian — not European — companies)


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts