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[libreplanet-discuss] The dangers of repository deletion

From: Fabio Pesari
Subject: [libreplanet-discuss] The dangers of repository deletion
Date: Fri, 1 Apr 2016 20:42:57 +0200
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:38.0) Gecko/20100101 Icedove/38.7.0

The recent left-pad fiasco on NPM just showed that in order for free
software to be reliable, it must be stored permanently (since the
license allows it).

Github, the most popular project hosting platform at the moment, allows
users to delete their repositories. That's very dangerous considering
that many programs that aren't packaged by distros will likely be lost
forever if their developers ever decide to delete their repos (and that
can happen for a number of reasons, I myself deleted some repos in the
past); and since Github (unlike Savannah) is a for-profit site, there is
no guarantee that the data will always be available to everyone, or that
they won't shut down (it already happened with Google Code, BerliOS and
Gitorious, after all).

I think developers should be allowed to abandon and disown their
programs, but deleting them can only do more harm than good. I've
already seen many programs become lost forever (due to unreachable
websites hosting their tarballs, mostly), and that can never be good.

The Archive Team ([0]) started mirroring SourceForge but they put the
project on hold, and I think they were mirroring the whole site, which
makes the projects very hard to search. Mirroring the repositories
and/or the tarballs on (with proper tags, if possible) would
be far more effective, but in any case I hope someone with the right
skills can understand the importance of this issue.


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