### GitHubbub! GitHub Does Not Value Software Freedom.
<div class="inline-img octoflop">
![GitHub](/images/octoright-large.png "GitHub logo rotated 270° to resemble a Copyright symbol")
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][gnu-repo],
which sets standards for acceptable hosts to parts of the
[GNU operating system][gnu].
[Free software][freesw] guarantees your freedom to study,
and share the software that you use.
We value these freedoms on the desktop,
[just because it creates the illusion of remote execution][whyfreejs]?
your web browser is automatically [downloading and executing][jstrap]
(often without your permission) ephemeral, unsigned, untrusted software.
then the software running in your web browser is proprietary.
**When you visit `github.com`,
you download over 200kB of obfuscated code,
much of which is proprietary.**
This code provides many website features that are fairly essential,
- 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 a bit startling for a host that owes its very existence to the
success and development of free software.
#### Desire To Remain Non-Free
I contacted GitHub back in April 2014 pointing out these concerns and
> Hi Mike,
> Thanks for getting in touch with us here. Some of our internal projects are
> specific to running GitHub, and as such will probably remain closed. We do
> make an effort to open source projects that we create that we think would be
> You can see a list of some of the open source projects that power GitHub
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][unjust];
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:
and [PJ Hyett][pj].
The response I received from Chris was blunt and discouraging:
> Hey Mike,
> this time, nor do we have plans to remove the site's dependence on
The original correspondence is provided here:
1. [Original request][gh-request] to `firstname.lastname@example.org`, Tom, Chris, and
2. [Reply to my original request][gh-request-reply] from one of the developers.
3. [My reply to the developer][gh-request2] providing more information and
asking for a commitment.
4. [Forward of my reply][gh-request3] to Tom, Chris, and PJ, after having
received no response from the developer.
5. [Response from Chris Wanstrath][gh-request3-reply] stating that GitHub