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Giving up GitHub

in: Programming Personal tagged: Git

Today I deleted my account on GitHub, and I’ve moved some of my public repositories to https://git.eamoncaddigan.net/. If you’re looking for something that’s not hosted there, please reach out to me and I’ll send you whatever you need.

My new self-hosted repository is built with stagit; it’s ideal for hosting single-owner repositories on static websites, which perfectly describes my use-case. I found this tool through a Gemini post about git-request-pull, one of the alternatives to using GitHub to coordinate collaborative software projects.

I’ve been meaning to migrate from the service since 2019, when GitHub leadership ignored calls from the community and their employees to not renew its contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). More recently, the company released a new product, which violates the spirit—and potentially the letter—of the licenses of many of open source projects that have made their business possible. This was apparently the nudge I needed.

GitHub has become synonymous with Git, but anyone can use the powerful (but difficult to master) revision control system (RCS) without using GitHub at all. For the solo coder (or data analyst), initializing a local repository will provide most of the benefits of using an RCS, such as the ability to roll-back changes or explore different ideas using branches. Gitea is a self-hosted GitHub alternative that operates in a similar vein, but philosophically, I’m drawn to approaches that leverage the distributed nature of the tool, such as git-request-pull, git-format-patch, and git-send-email.

I’ve become much more confident with Git in the years since I last wrote about it, but I stand by my critique that effective Git use requires the user to understand too many implementation details (although, if you want to get started down that path, here’s a great post to get you started). GitHub attempted to lower the barrier to entry, and they deserve praise for that. However, I’ve come to feel that the trade-offs they made to “simplify” Git were the wrong ones, and the company has shown poor judgment in too many other areas for me to continue endorsing their service.