Deleting your free's account

A user in reply to a blog-post on deleting one's github account because of all the downsides of it being a centralise system, unlike git itself which is a decentralised-by-design one.

2016-01-17 AT 16:55

I agree with both you Bob and Mikael. Specially Bob.

However, on a side note, this “OPEN YOuR EYeS!!!1” kinda rant also annoys me. There’s something about the point stated here i feel like a half truth.

TL;DR: github is not a necessary evil, our peers are a necessary evil, and dealing with them is dealing with the likes of github. What i believe we need is not “opening the eyes” of anybody, but a true progressive infraestructure that we could use instead of github.

This same github thing happens with e-mail accounts (and many, many other tools in IT). I have my own domain and my own mail server. However, every time i say my e-mail address “@myowndomain”, theres always someone looking at me like i was some kind of freak for not using a gmail account. Of course they also never understand why i don’t use facebook or twitter, and why i talk shit of windows, skype, and so on.

And that’s even kinda cool, actually. Not a problem at all: “their problem” i say to myself. Until i realize i’m on the pariah side of the street and i’m doing a lot of extra work in order to keep that way.
If it’s about of choosing friends, it’s ok; but when it’s about getting a job, i don’t want to be tagged as a pariah freak. There’s even people now that demands a linkedin account for contact! WTF!

So, i have my own mail server, but i also have a gratis gmail account.

Then, there’s this project longevity/availability/accesibility thing. I put my project on my place, i have to also deal with SEO stuff and security and server load metrics and diagnostics and build/packaging mechanics and etcetera. It’s fine, it’s the right thing to do, it’s even funny to learn, and nobody dies for doing that: but i have little time and little resources, so suddenly it’s not really gratis to learn all the howtos and fixes: it takes a lot of time and effort. Time i don’t spend on things like being with my wife or sleeping.

So, i’m on Github, even when i have my own git server instances.

Also, i hated Github at first, because of two reasons: i was OK with Subversion and the git avalanche forced me to learn things i didn’t wanted to learn (like Microsoft does all the time to its ecosystem), and Github’s UI had not all the options i was used to from other project management software (like Trac or Redmine) that i could also hack on my own servers to do what i please.

But i’m on github. Because my peers ask me for a github URL and they’re happy when i give them a github URL and their life is easier because they already know how to use it and so on.

And this example is one of many that shows why we free software people are not the many but the few: because we need help from large organizations, given that we’re WORKERS and not some kind of ideal entity with all the time of the world and all the resources. We need our little free time after work for ourselves, and we also need our identity when facing society to be a legit one and not a pariah/freak one. And that’s a big deal. We need the FSF, Mozilla, Wikimedia, and so on, because it’s not that simple as installing GNU on our devices and setting up our own server instances of whatever.

So, it’s true that github is facebook, but it’s also truth that github works in the real life and if some day they begin to send spam and/or become rogue then it’s not bigger the job of changing the repos URLs than the job of living as a pariah every other single day.

This is not a technical issue but a political one.
I would bet on some Wikimedia branch or somebody of the likes to start handling source code (or, as specialized press will say, “competing with github”), like some kind of “wikipedia for software” initiative, rather than promoting the “host every yourself” or “don’t trust anyone” policies. I believe promoting such initiatives is the way to go. And i believe it’ll take decades of dealing with clearly unnecessary evils in order to live with necessary peers.


Some highlights:

  • building a necessary, long-term infrastructure to replace or have a more valid alternative to
  • learning and maintaining your own version of those tools/services takes a lot of time and also money
  • if you need those tools for work you can't simply and always avoid not to use the companies' owned, centralised ones, because it's something mandatory in your job or in order to find a job. Withdrawing in the woods presupposes a sense of failure in regard to what you don't agree to use; instead, mixing both dominant tools and private, alternative ones, can build up a different culture and an alternative.