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Re: [libreplanet-discuss] support me

From: Mike Gerwitz
Subject: Re: [libreplanet-discuss] support me
Date: Tue, 10 Mar 2015 23:23:19 -0400
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On Fri, Mar 06, 2015 at 09:09:01 -0800, Sytse Sijbrandij wrote:
> We may disagree on tactics such as what license is best for GitLab and
> our use of an open core business model. But I think that we both want
> to  see more freedom and collaboration in software development. We admire
> greatly what Mr. Stallman and the FSF have done and continue to do for
> the world.

Admiration is not a substitute for action.

GitLab's "Community Edition" is indeed an excellent contribution to the
free software community, and fills a niche that is otherwise dominated
by GitHub.  That is important.  I have encouraged use of GitLab CE (most
recently to Devuan) in the past, and will continue to offer it as an
alternative to GitHub.  But I must do so very clearly, and very

Unfortunately, the "open core" business model that you describe cannot
and will not be embraced by the free software community.  Freedom and
collaboration are necessary consequences of software freedom---it's not
that we want to "see more" of it.  We want to see more software

Proprietary extensions to GitLab are antithetical to that level of
collaboration.  In fact, on the surface, we have a situation similar to
that of GitHub: collaboration is encouraged, but not when it comes to
their software!  GitLab has the benefit of encouraging collaboration on
its own free software (which I will not discount), but it veils that
with proprietary software, and in fact downplays the Free version:

GitLab is encouraging both the use of proprietary software and
SaaSS[0].  As such, this places free software activists in a very
difficult situation to even suggest GitLab, because the mere suggestion
will take them to a website that attempts to up^H^Hdownsell them to a
proprietary version.  In fact, the GNU project cannot, per its
guidelines, even recommend or link to GitLab.[1]  That's no good!  It's
not even obvious how to get to the CE edition source code from the

I would encourage GitLab to put more emphasis on their "community
edition"---by providing more clear, dedicated pages (preferably its own
website, that free software users can link to, that does not try to
promote proprietary versions of GitLab) for it, and a very clear link
directly to the source code directly on the homepage, as prominent as
all other major links.  I would also encourage renaming the project from
"community edition" to simply "GitLab", and leave the other as "GitLab
Enterprise"; all software should be "community edition" by default; why
does that need to be stated?  If GitLab is focused on developing
communities, then that should be implicit.

GitLab is a powerful contribution to the free software community, but if
it is to thrive as "the" Free alternative---and it could!---then it
needs to hold its head high and be an example of those freedoms.  Many
of us will never agree with the business model you call "open core", but
that does not mean a community cannot continue to be built around it
that encourages users' freedoms.


- -- 
Mike Gerwitz
Free Software Hacker | GNU Maintainer
FSF Member #5804 | GPG Key ID: 0x8EE30EAB
Version: GnuPG v1


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