A while back, I had pointed out to several friends of extremely terrible things Github was doing behind the scenes because their CEO was a giant piece of human garbage. Between selling out the company to investors, running away from his duties and problems to appeal to investor interests and overall fuck his employees over, I decided to move to GitLab. (There was a nice expose’ article covering this back when it happened.)
For a while, GitLab was a great alternative to GitHub quick when all the nonsense started, they saw a huge rise in new users. But, that promise of features, things that were free, and the future of the platform quickly got tainted. Again, investors/venture capitalists came in and basically took control of the platform which caused massive changes to the workflow and future of GitLab. For starters, paid plans started rolling out and we quickly saw a lot of features begin disappearing from the the free tier. We also quickly saw the complete lack of care for the community edition and basic death to any new features rolling out that were not what investors wanted.
Issues started to stock pile, pull requests began to be ignored, and the overall quality of GitLab tanked fast. Next up we saw automated Issue bots roll in and just start auto-closing every single ticket created that had no response after 30 days. Rather than use any of the userbase feedback, they opt’d to just scrap it all and ignore it in favor of having user-bias towards their paying tiers. Shortly after that, we started to see the juggling of repositories to try and hide this behavior. They’d continue to keep moving the current issue tracker to a new group/organization on the platform as a way to keep the open issue count low and make it seem like a “better ecosystem”. There were at least 5-8 repo changes through out this time (and they are still doing it to this day) shifting around the current tracker.
Fast forward to the last year or two and we have seen GitLab become just another user-data hoarder trying to make any amount of money possible. They have opt’d to start trying to sell your personal information to third-parties, without your consent, and without a means to opt-out. Also, this new intention was to be opt-in by default. You can find the lovely drama and backlash of that here:
Their reasoning to doing this nonsense was telemetry; to learn how their users use GitLab and understand what features need work, what is used/not used etc. But instead of homebrewing some basic data collection into the system, they opt’d to work with thirdparties that are known for selling personal information. Along with that, they COMPLETELY ignored EVERY SINGLE repo ever made for tracking feedback for GitLab ever made. They just threw out all the feedback, issues, bug reports, feature requests, usage information, etc. that people have been freely giving them in favor of working with a company for money.
And even after all the massive backlash, GitLab is still opt’ing to move forward with this change. They are trying to brush it off now saying only certain versions will see this change and so on, but we all know that is just a delay-tactic. It’ll be in every version sooner or later.
Microsoft Buying GitHub
During all this nonsense with GitLab, we saw Microsoft step in and buy out GitHub. At first, this was another huge boost for GitLab because people were concerned with Microsoft having access to source code of millions of companies/people/etc. Having access to trade secrets of competiting companies was a huge concern for many, understandably. I waited things out while this happened to see what Microsoft would do to the platform, knowing full well they, along with Google, have a great history of buying things and completely fucking them up.
Due to the instant backlash and drop in users/repos on GitHub when Microsoft announced they were buying it, I feel like they actually took notice and realized this wasn’t just another ‘Skype’ or ‘LinkedIn’ where they could buy it out, fuck it up and let it drag along, dead in the water indefinitely like most of their other investments. Instead, we saw Microsoft commit to doing good for the platform. One major concern was the immediate integration with LinkedIn being shoved down our throats or required to even use GitHub going forward, thankfully they have opt’d against that and mostly have just favored advertising more LinkedIn ads on the site. Shortly after taking over, we saw one of the best things ever happen to GitHub, unlimited free repos for everyone! Continuing forward we have seen nothing but good so far come from Microsoft taking over.
Get Fucked GitLab..
With all the above said, I have decided to move back to GitHub for all my projects. While I know Microsoft is just another personal data whore like every other company, I do feel they handle data better than most. They also focus their handling on in-house collection and usage vs. outsourcing to third-parties for everything. When it comes down to it, do I trust my info more with Microsoft, or with GitLab and whatever random third-party they decide to work with this week? Personally, I am going to go with Microsoft.
GitLab was such a great potential to really take on the Git ecosystem and contend with GitHub at the time when people wanted a good alternative, but like every other company in the world, they sold out to investors/VC and turned their backs on the userbase. We’ve seen basically nothing special come from GitLab in the last handful of years because of this, meanwhile GitHub just keeps getting better and better.
In the event that a new source-control system pops up and takes over the programming community, I can see GitHub expanding to cover support for it, or opening a new site to work with it and integrate well into existing tools, meanwhile I’d see GitLab tanking and sinking into bankrupt status because they’d be too hyper focused on the minority of their users vs. the majority.
I’d highly encourage people to read through the bullshit GitLab is doing lately if you are not informed and using their services. (Especially if you are paying.)
Understand your personal data, and the data of your users whom connect to your site/repos are at risk of well-known third-parties that abuse user data on the daily.