Passive resistance [was: Re: Announcing GNOME's official GitHub mirror]

Il giorno gio, 15/08/2013 alle 12.07 +0200, Alexandre Franke ha scritto:
On Thu, Aug 15, 2013 at 11:49 AM, Alberto Ruiz <aruiz gnome org> wrote:

I really don't care much about my code being mirrored anywhere. At
least gitorious would be ethically acceptable, so it wouldn't bother
me, but I won't invest time in this. I see the value of this as a
backup though, so if others want to work on this I say that's a good

Anyway this is really not what was the most important point to me in
my previous email and you didn't answer the question I really cared
about, so I'm asking again: is there a way for maintainers to opt out
of the github mirroring?


I share the concerns already expressed that this move might be seen as
an implicit support of a proprietary service (one for which the source
code of the server-side website infrastructure is not available) by the
GNOME project, part of the free software movement. 

One of the great things about GNOME has usually been being not only
"open source" -- good on technical grounds --, but also great in
fighting for users' freedoms. Mirroring on github instead of gitorious
is a signal in the wrong direction, as it helps in attracting more users
to github (therefore directly helping a proprietary platform in terms of
popularity), annoys some maintainers and contributors as can be seen in
this discussion, and allows github to advertise the mirror of such a big
project as GNOME in their press releases (it *will* happen, I'm fairly
sure, as PR is important). Else, why were they eager to help with the
mirroring, spending time and resources on it, if there was little or no
return in investment? And that's fine on their part: they're just doing
their job. The problem is on this side.

Since PR is the important point for them, and the mirroring afaik was
done without the explicit consent of maintainers, or a democratic voting
process taking place on a relevant mailing list such as d-d-l, I suggest
a passive-resistance stance (note that I am not a maintainer myself).

github uses a file called "" to display the main project
information. A section against github can be put at the top of them by a
module maintainer, explaining why it should not be used as it is
proprietary, and suggesting users to move away from it. The module
maintainer herself could then create a mirror on e.g. gitorious, and put
the link in the same file, inviting users to use that and to
close their github account if they want to respect users' freedoms.

Since this gives bad publicity to github, and encourages users to leave
their service in favor of a competing one, I believe the github team
will sooner or later get fed up and remove the modules themselves. Or
even if they don't, we still get the effect of discouraging users in
using their infrastructure, which is the point.

This requires only actions from each interested module maintainer, it
doesn't need approval or work by the sysadmin team (as they didn't ask
for the module maintainers' approval).

If there's interest, we could draft a paragraph or two, so that a bit of
uniformity in communicating our ideals takes the form of a wider

Matteo Settenvini
FSF Associated Member
Email : matteo member fsf org

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