Links: It is important for free software to use free software infrastructure

It is important for free software to use free software infrastructure

Free and open source software (FOSS) projects need infrastructure. Somewhere to host the code, to facilitate things like code review, end-user support, bug tracking, marketing, and so on.

Many of these needs have non-free, proprietary solutions available. GitHub is a popular proprietary code forge, and GitLab, the biggest competitor to GitHub, is partially non-free. Some projects use Discord or Slack for chat rooms, Reddit as a forum, or Twitter and Facebook for marketing, outreach, and support; all of these are non-free. In my opinion, relying on these platforms to provide infrastructure for your FOSS project is a mistake.

This is an interesting take on using proprietary software forges for the development of free/open source software. In theory I agree with the premise of this article that free software projects should use free infrastructure tools. (I don’t agree that using proprietary tools is an ethical violation) In practice, however, most of the free software forges out there are not nearly as mature as tools like GitHub. It makes it difficult to use an alternate forge when their feature sets are incomplete and the network effects around GitHub make it harder for people to discover your project.

I have been using GitHub for several years, but I am curious to see if any of the alternate forges are “good enough” to support some of my personal projects.