Jun 04, 2018

9 min read

How to avoid Microsoft’s GitHub takeover

Written by

Vippy The VPS

You might have heard the (good? bad?) news that Microsoft acquired GitHub, the popular service that’s home to many a developer’s entire life’s work. Many developers are some combination of horrified, annoyed, and worried, and that’s not entirely unexpected—humans are creatures of habit, and we like reliability. Now that Microsoft has taken over, it’s not as easy to forecast GitHub’s new long-term direction.

Will they start charging open source projects for hosting their code? Will they close down projects from competitors of theirs? Or will GitHub operate independently, only bolstered by a bit of Microsoft’s deep coin curse?

It’s impossible to say. But, I think, this new has forced many developers to second-guess the industry’s near-complete reliance on a single source for collaboration on and distribution of code. People are starting to wonder if there are better, or smarter, alternatives.

Let’s talk avoidance. Or, more specifically, mitigation.

GitLab to the rescue?

The name is similar, but unlike GitHub, GitLab is entirely open source. Big teams who want their code hosted in a managed, safe environment can pay for enterprise-level plans, but nothing is stopping you from self-hosting a GitLab instance on a server of your own.

More on that in a moment.

Anecdotally, GitLab has already seen a massive spike in imported projects via their GitHub Importer tool monitor. As of writing, GitLab is spitting out 502 errors due to being overloaded with all the new demand.

The GitLab 502 page.

There is a clear demand for what’s perceived to be a more “free” home for projects, both open and closed source, that use Git for version control. If and when you can access their service again, it might make sense to duplicate your codebase on GitLab using their free plan, if only for the sake of redundancy.

For more information about the GitHub importer and its syntax, check out the documentation.

GitLab is a great stepping stone, but I’ve already heard that GitLab might someday be acquired by another tech multinational now that they’ve seen the market value in the service they’re offering. In the short-term, GitLab might be a good choice, but if the developer community transfers its affinity from

Continue reading this article
by subscribing to our newsletter.
Subscribe now