[FRIAM] Subject: Re: Friam Digest, Vol 180, Issue 3

Russell Standish lists at hpcoders.com.au
Tue Jun 5 20:21:43 EDT 2018

On Tue, Jun 05, 2018 at 11:41:13AM -0600, Jon Zingale wrote:
> I was being a little bit cheeky in my response to Microsoft's
> acquisition of Github, though I am disappointed. Two salient
> and moderate responses seem to be that:
> 1) One could always migrate to another cloud service, gitlab perhaps?
> Another option could be to take the 30 seconds it takes to setup one's
> own git origin.
> 2) There ought not be a difference whether those at Microsoft
> (an undeniable champion of proprietary rights) and those at GitHub
> (the developers of a service developed within the context of an
> open-source community) manages what may be the world's
> largest open-source collection of code.
> For me, GitHub has been the only social media I have ever known.
> I have often enjoyed browsing the stacks and seeing how fellow
> programmers have come to express their ideas in code. To `pick
> one's own code and go home` strikes me as reactionary (leftpad
> <https://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/03/23/npm_left_pad_chaos/>
> anyone?), in that doing so dismisses the value of these commons.

I wasn't implying that. Given the undeniable success of GitHub in
creating such a commons, recreating that same commons in the event of
some corporate overlord (doesn't matter who) destroying it should not
be difficult, and will be done. Particularly if someone has cloned a
copy of GitHub's sourcecode, which seems likely. As per point 1, it
will take 30 seconds to reattach your own code repository to the new
commons. The biggest loss will be in abandonware - some itty bitty
project code that someone dumped into Github and forgotten about, and
then nobody cared for. Should we care for such projects? Maybe, but
then we have collectively voted with our feet, so maybe not.

> The roles GitHub has come to play in the development world are manifold.
> Many software houses consider participation in open-source
> GitHub projects as-valuable-if-not-more than having a CS degree.
> Collaborations outside of software, in the narrow, have found their
> home in this community. For instance, the highly publicized (at least
> for mathematics) development of `Homotopy Type Theory
> <https://www.ias.edu/ideas/2013/bauer-hott-book>` had been
> collaboratively written using this technology. In short, version control
> is not just for programmers anymore.

The version controlled stuff is not of a concern. Any such material
can readily be rehosted in a new commons. Of more concern is
ancilliary material - eg issues and wiki pages. On Github, the wiki
pages are hosted as a special branch in the version control, so should
be around.

> While it is often an individually inexpensive position to give the
> benefit of the doubt to Microsoft, I find it difficult to summon a
> sense of good-faith.

My position is that I never extended good-faith to Github in the first
place. It was never needed, nor asked for. That's the beauty of it.

> By analogy, Scott Pruitt may do wonders
> for the environment. We will have to wait and see.

Yeah, well by analogy, people have turned to state and local
governments to step up where federal systems have failed due to
conservatives. eg Paris climate accord being a case in point. We'll
have to wait and see if that works out, otherwise put up with
inevitable bumps in the road every 4-8 years in the collective
insanity pervading modern democracies. At least there's a chance Trump
will be gone in another 2 years.
> In the meantime, I anticipate the day I have to wait for software updates
> when I go to git pull from origin. ;)
> Cheers,
> Jonathan Zingale

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Dr Russell Standish                    Phone 0425 253119 (mobile)
Principal, High Performance Coders
Visiting Senior Research Fellow        hpcoder at hpcoders.com.au
Economics, Kingston University         http://www.hpcoders.com.au

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