Bonum Certa Men Certa

When Microsoft Blocks Your Access to Free Software

posted by Roy Schestowitz on Nov 28, 2023

"Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches."

--Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO

GitHub cannot make money, but it can block/manipulate/undermine Free software and the essential building blocks of Microsoft's "Most Potent Operating System Competitor". It's all about money, not about science or engineering.

Yen Sign

THE conventional wisdom says that Free software is available to everyone, but Microsoft went out of its way to block people from quite a few countries; over 100 million people cannot access GitHub because Microsoft blacklisted them, based on their country of residence (not even their choice!). Very inclusive, right?

People who value diversity and wish to be inclusive should simply abandon Microsoft and GitHub. Or, taking accessibility into account too, abandon JavaScript and all this "modern" (proprietary) Web stuff...

"darwin" in our IRC network has just said that "for a week or few/two there's been no route on our network to github.com ... just called my ISP and they verified this and say they saw the same on a major nationwide ISP (Comcast)... the route stops somewhere in Microsoft's network. Don't know this is just ineptitude or part of an attack on github. We can still access it in web browsers for some odd reason, just no longer for command-line updates and trying software with git..."

Well, psydruid then said that "maybe github is just crumbling under its own weight [and] people should know better than to use github..."

There's more on that in the latest scrollback. MinceR said it "sounds like a good time for an automatic shithub mirroring service" (I told him that something similar exists already, but it acts only as a gateway over gemini:// protocol, it's not an independent mirror per se).

"darwin" explained that "so much stuff on UNIX/GNU/Linux operating systems I use depends on it. I hate it, but there's not much I can do [...] most the FLOSS developers were jumping on the bandwagon using github..."

Only two days ago we gave a reason to abandon GitHub as soon as possible. Perhaps this is another.

An associate of ours warned about a related and looming/active threat. "Protocols are one approach to killing the net (or the WWW) or keeping it open," he said. "Routing are another," he noted, as "right now Clownflare has control over much of the routing at the end of the chain. Google is eyeing something similar."

"Then there is the push by Google and others to shut down sites and replace them with "web apps" using the browser as an inefficient and insecure javascript based VM instead."

It should be noted that GitLab too is blocking many users in quite a few countries. GitLab is even worse when it comes to JavaScript (than GitHub). It doesn't value the Open Web and it doesn't serve pages, it serves "Web UIs".

Let it be a cautionary tale. Stop outsourcing source code and reject bloatware. They both lead to difficulties. Such difficulties impede software freedom.

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