When I use #GitHub's logo, I rotate it 270° to make it look like a copyright symbol, protesting their hypocritical and unfit role as host to far too many #freesoftware projects:


@mikegerwitz I really like your hack with the logo! 😀 But i think the "GNU ethical repository criteria" as well as your explanation focus to much on the question whether the JavaScript is free or not. This is important ,yes. But I think there are more (and more important) points to consider, some of them are mentioned here userdatamanifesto.org/. Another point I would emphasize, free JS doesn't help me at all if all the rest is proprietary.

@bjoern Thanks for the link. Self-hosting and federation are very important issues (I don't see my use in hosting my own #GitLab instance until it hopefully one day introduces federation; I just use cgit). I'll update my page to include mentions of that.

The GNU ethical repo criteria and my page do focus on software freedom---the issue of GitHub itself being non-free is an SaSS issue. It doesn't matter if GitHub was free software if it doesn't federate, because you'd still be using github.com, which you can't control. But it _does_ matter if the client-side JS is free software, since that code is executing on your computer, just as any other program.

Similarly, using GitLab on gitlab.com for anything but repo hosting has the same SaSS issues. But you're of course free to host your own. Unfortunately, without federation, we have a bunch of fragmented communities. It's a problem that I very much want solved.

So I agree that it's important. I disagree that software freedom is less important; they're related but separate issues that are both essential for different reasons and different types of freedoms.

@mikegerwitz I don't say that software freedom is less important. My point is that software freedom is much more than the JS license of a SaaS solution. Software freedom is only meaningful if I can exercise my freedom in a meaningful way. That's why I also consider the AGPL extremely important. With a SaaS solution I only have (software) freedom if I can take the code, modify it and run a modified version of a similar service with my data...

@bjoern Non-free JavaScript can be replaced---it's served on the client, so you can exercise the freedom to modify it. The userscripts community has experience doing this. But as you note, it's not very practical; my LP2016 talk was all about this problem and some suggestions on how to solve it. (https://media.libreplanet.org/u/libreplanet/collection/restore-online-freedom/)

So while a full stack is indeed necessary, I agree, non-free JS is a complete non-starter to the point where I can't even _collaborate_ with people using those communities. If a project is using SaaSS for their work, they are sacrificing their freedom (not the four freedoms---different kinds), not me. If I choose to contribute to project Foo, it doesn't matter to me if they're using gitlab.com or hosting their own GitLab instance---I can't modify it no matter what. But that's okay for me, because it's the _project's_ tool, not my own.

I can collaborate with a project on GitLab no matter where it's hosted (https://about.gitlab.com/2015/05/20/gitlab-gitorious-free-software/). I can't collaborate at all on GitHub, though, because I'd have to run non-free JS. I recently submitted a patch for a Minetest mod on GitHub and I had to paste the diff into the body of an issue---I couldn't create a pull request or upload a file! (But I think there's a CLI I can use with their API; haven't tried it yet.)

Of course, proper federation would solve this problem entirely, if I could collaborate using my own instance. :)

@mikegerwitz @mikegerwitz it is not that I disagree with you on your point. I just have the feeling we are concentrating to much on one point while missing the overall picture of software freedom in the world of SaaS. It is no longer just about the software running physically on your machine, that's why the AGPL is so important. I think I will write a blog about my opinion on this topic once I have some time. Wanted to do this anyway already for a long time.

@bjoern I don't want to give the impression that I'm giving less consideration to your point. I think we're pretty much in agreement on all points overall, but each of us is putting more emphasis on the one we are more familiar with and have put more activism/advocacy into.
Sign in to participate in the conversation

The original server operated by the Mastodon gGmbH non-profit