GitHubbub! GitHub Does Not Value Software Freedom.
If you hit this page expecting to have been taken to my GitHub profile, then this is probably not what you were looking for. But let me tell you why you’re here.
Before providing a link to something hosted on a service, it is wise to consider whether doing so is a good idea—whether the service or website is antithetical to the message you are trying to send to your readers/visitors, or whether it deserves clarification. There’s a little bit of both here.
When you visit
- Change repository names or descriptions;
- Delete repositories;
- Add an SSH key to your account;
- Fork repositories;
- Create pull requests;
- Enable and disable project features;
- Use the wiki and issue trackers;
- View graphs of statistics;
- And others.
That is—GitHub forces you to run proprietary software in order to use much of their website. This is unethical.
Desire To Remain Non-Free
You can see a list of some of the open source projects that power GitHub here:
This response is unfortunately misguided: yes, it is good that GitHub produces free software, but it is a false assumption that their proprietary code would serve no benefit to the community: the very existence of their proprietary software gives them unjust control over their users. Relinquishing that control is of benefit to the community.
I replied to the above message, clarifying my point. After receiving no response, I forwarded the e-mail to GitHub’s original founders: Tom Preston-Werner, Chris Wanstrath, and PJ Hyett. The response I received from Chris was blunt and discouraging:
The original correspondence is provided here:
- Original request to
firstname.lastname@example.org, Tom, Chris, and PJ.
- Reply to my original request from one of the developers.
- My reply to the developer providing more information and asking for a commitment.
- Forward of my reply to Tom, Chris, and PJ, after having received no response from the developer.