Mike Gerwitz

Activist for User Freedom

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Date: Wed, 2 Apr 2014 12:30:09 -0400
From: Mike Gerwitz <mikegerwitz@gnu.org>
To: tom@github.com, chris@github.com, pj@github.com
Cc: support@github.com
Subject: Free GitHub's JavaScript

Hello everyone,

I'm part of the FSF's Free JavaScript Campaign[1], but I would like to be
clear that I'm contacting you personally, not on their behalf. While the
current focus of the campaign is reddit (for which I'm completing an audit),
I would be pleased if we could work with GitHub as well in the future.

GitHub is an extremely popular platform for free software developers and
harbors a strong community that is very beneficial for free software
collaboration and development. While GitHub does provide a flexible API, it
is unfortunate that GitHub's website serves proprietary JavaScript, and many
features do not work unless JavaScript is enabled.

GitHub's competitive advantage is their service. Liberating the JavaScript
served to the client will not impact that service---indeed, it would make it
more available to free software users and it would demonstrate the power of
and commitment to free software on GitHub's part; it would set an excellent
example. If GitHub made that JavaScript available in a repository on GitHub,
it would also open the door for contributors to improve upon the website;
I'm sure they have many great ideas.

Tom, you posted this back in 2011:[2]

  Ok, then what shouldn't I open source? That's easy. Don't open source
  anything that represents core business value.

Much of what the JavaScript code does can be done via the API, or is simple
DOM manipulation; if any of it represents a core business value, it can be
moved to the server and the client-side JS can make an XHR.

I would love to discuss this with you further; I look forward to a response
that facilitates that discussion. I would be willing to aid in this process
however I can. If you would prefer to talk to the campaigns team at the FSF
instead of myself, I work closely with Zak, who can be reached at
zak@fsf.org.

  [J]ust flip that switch on your GitHub repository from private to
  public and tell the world about your software.[2]

Thanks for your time.

[1]: https://fsf.org/campaigns/freejs
[2]: http://tom.preston-werner.com/2011/11/22/open-source-everything.html

Best regards,

-- 
Mike Gerwitz
Free Software Hacker | GNU Maintainer
http://mikegerwitz.com
FSF Member #5804 | GPG Key ID: 0x8EE30EAB