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 important to consider whether the service or website is antithetical to the message you are trying to convey to your readers/visitors, and whether it deserves clarification; there’s a little bit of both here.
If you’re looking for a host friendly toward free software, take a look at the GNU ethical repository criteria, which sets standards for acceptable hosts to parts of the GNU operating system.
When you visit
github.com, you download over 600KiB of obfuscated code, much of which is proprietary. This is a bit startling for a host that owes its very existence to the success and development of free software.
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 to clarify 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.