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posted by janrinok on Tuesday July 05, @12:09PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the Guck-FitHub dept.

From Software Freedom Conservancy

Those who forget history often inadvertently repeat it. Some of us recall that twenty-one years ago, the most popular code hosting site, a fully Free and Open Source (FOSS) site called SourceForge, proprietarized all their code — never to make it FOSS again. Major FOSS projects slowly left SourceForge since it was now, itself, a proprietary system, and antithetical to FOSS. FOSS communities learned that it was a mistake to allow a for-profit, proprietary software company to become the dominant FOSS collaborative development site.

SourceForge slowly collapsed after the DotCom crash, and today, SourceForge is more advertising link-bait than it is code hosting. We learned a valuable lesson that was a bit too easy to forget — especially when corporate involvement manipulates FOSS communities to its own ends. We now must learn the SourceForge lesson again with Microsoft's GitHub.

GitHub has, in the last ten years, risen to dominate FOSS development. They did this by building a user interface and adding social interaction features to the existing Git technology. (For its part, Git was designed specifically to make software development distributed without a centralized site.) In the central irony, GitHub succeeded where SourceForge failed: they have convinced us to promote and even aid in the creation of a proprietary system that exploits FOSS. GitHub profits from those proprietary products (sometimes from customers who use it for problematic activities).

Specifically, GitHub profits primarily from those who wish to use GitHub tools for in-house proprietary software development. Yet, GitHub comes out again and again seeming like a good actor — because they point to their largess in providing services to so many FOSS endeavors. But we've learned from the many gratis offerings in Big Tech: if you aren't the customer, you're the product. The FOSS development methodology is GitHub's product, which they've proprietarized and repackaged with our active (if often unwitting) help.

Microsoft Did It Again, SFC Urges Developers to Quit GitHub

Microsoft Did It Again, SFC Urges Developers to Quit GitHub:

Microsoft's new service for automatically writing AI-based code, Copilot, has sparked outrage in the Open Source community.

"Microsoft loves open source." So much has been put on this slogan recently, only to change the Open Source community's perspective toward the Redmond company.

And while Microsoft was no longer demonized as the worst thing that could happen to the Open Source, certain of the Redmond tech giant's tactics remained regardless of the times.

[...] And now we get to the core of the issue. Copilot is powered by natural language text and openly available source code, including code in GitHub public repositories. And, of course, you must have a paid subscription or a special invitation from Microsoft to access Copilot.

To put it another way. You are a developer who has contributed valuable content to various GitHub projects over the years. Of course, everyone is welcome to use it.

Would you be satisfied if your code was used for profit by a closed-source app without giving you credit? In its classic fashion, this is where Microsoft tramples on moral boundaries.


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  • (Score: 4, Disagree) by Rosco P. Coltrane on Tuesday July 05, @12:27PM (4 children)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane (4757) on Tuesday July 05, @12:27PM (#1258233)

    I host my open-source projects on Github. It's free, it's plenty good enough for the price, and most importantly, I'm not locked in in any way.

    The minute Microsoft's newfound love for all things open-source proves to have been a load of BS all along and they start making difficulties on Github, I'll move my projects elsewhere. As I did when I moved them away fron Sourceforge.

    Github has nothing that would prevent me from abandoning their platform immediately and with next-to-zero extra work. Zilch. And that's exactly why I use them.

    • (Score: 2) by bart9h on Tuesday July 05, @04:52PM (3 children)

      by bart9h (767) on Tuesday July 05, @04:52PM (#1258300)

      The beauty of git is that the source repository is completely impossible to be locked in anywhere, as each working copy is the complete repository.

      But github also has issues tracking, wiki, and some other facilities that could be a little more cumbersome to move elsewhere.

      I also has some projects mirrored there, but I don't use it for anything but git itself.

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by Rosco P. Coltrane on Tuesday July 05, @05:11PM (2 children)

        by Rosco P. Coltrane (4757) on Tuesday July 05, @05:11PM (#1258305)

        Exactly. I only use the repos. I even use it as a free storage space to serve Debian and RPM packages out of it :)

        The whole social media garbage and improved tools they built on top of it, I don't use. That's the lock in. Yeah the tools nice, but the price is reliance on Microsoft. That's too high a price for me.

        • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 05, @07:26PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 05, @07:26PM (#1258339)

          Does the Copilot thing bother you?

          • (Score: 5, Interesting) by ElizabethGreene on Wednesday July 06, @01:06AM

            by ElizabethGreene (6748) on Wednesday July 06, @01:06AM (#1258428)

            Does the Copilot thing bother you?

            I have an opinion on this, but first a bias disclosure. I work for Microsoft in a realm so far removed from GitHub that we barely share a planet.

            I don't have a problem with Copilot. Ignore that it's an AI and the situation gets much less sticky. YourCo gets a new intern. It's Bob. Bob is a novice coder, so you have Bob go read the source of a bunch of open source projects and teach themselves how to code from it. Along the way, Bob learns a specific thing from the source of your project, e.g. a tidy way to do inline getters and setters for an object. Then, lucky you, you get assigned to pair program with Bob. They are sitting next to you when you go to make a new object and they say "Hey, I've got a neat pattern for how to do that" and write new code using the pattern. It's not a copy/paste, it's new code. Would that be bad?

            That's what copilot does. It's writing new code based on patterns it learns from other source.

            You can argue that there is a difference between code written by a human and an AI, but IMHO that's a distinction without a difference. We've long past the point where GPT-3 can write unique works indistinguishable from a human author. We blew past that years ago.

            Some point in the future we'll have to work through the problem of an AI's rights for the code, text, or music they write, but we're not ready to have that conversation yet. For now, I welcome the help.

  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 05, @12:32PM (13 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 05, @12:32PM (#1258234)

    sometimes from customers who use it for problematic activities

    What does the writer mean by this? "Problematic" is a swell phrase to use against anyone who you don't like. I wasn't aware that FOSS was about pushing one particular ideological viewpoint. If it is, I'd rather go back to Microsoft.

    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Runaway1956 on Tuesday July 05, @12:40PM

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday July 05, @12:40PM (#1258236) Homepage Journal

      Of course FOSS has an ideological viewpoint:

      The Free Software Foundation (FSF) is a nonprofit with a worldwide mission to promote computer user freedom.

      Software Freedom Conservancy is a nonprofit organization centered around ethical technology. Our mission is to ensure the right to repair, improve and reinstall software. We promote and defend these rights through fostering free and open source software (FOSS) projects, driving initiatives that actively make technology more inclusive, and advancing policy strategies that defend FOSS (such as copyleft).

      It's kind of embedded in the name, actually.

      Either you support the concept, or you don't. Don't try to sell the idea that you converted to FOSS, but suddenly, ideology is going to push you back to Microsoft. That dog just won't hunt.

      --
      Your private safe room in the back of your mind? Trump pooped in it.
    • (Score: 2) by looorg on Tuesday July 05, @12:42PM

      by looorg (578) on Tuesday July 05, @12:42PM (#1258237)

      I would assume this are the products that are used to circumvent or break DRM or somehow use some kind of copyrighted material. They brought down a lot of "fan" products that used content from old games, emulators (Nintendo are notorious in that regard to when it comes to uphold ancient copyrights). There are probably also various old "hacker" tools there that in their mind have dubious or multiple usage.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by tangomargarine on Tuesday July 05, @03:03PM (8 children)

      by tangomargarine (667) on Tuesday July 05, @03:03PM (#1258269)

      Cf. those modified licenses "anybody is free to use this EXCEPT China because Tibet".

      If it's Open, it's Open for anybody who abides by the license. We're supposed to be taking the high road here, guys.

      --
      "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by FatPhil on Tuesday July 05, @03:42PM (7 children)

        by FatPhil (863) <pc-soylentNO@SPAMasdf.fi> on Tuesday July 05, @03:42PM (#1258281) Homepage
        Do you mean:
        - We're supposed to be taking the high road here, and making our licences completely open, not with arbitrarily chosen restrictions that support our personal moral choices.
        or
        - If it's Open, it's Open for anybody who abides by the license, and if we've embedded our personal moral choices into that license, we must take the moral high ground by upholding it, and not letting people not abide by the license.
        ?
        --
        Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves
        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by tangomargarine on Tuesday July 05, @05:37PM (6 children)

          by tangomargarine (667) on Tuesday July 05, @05:37PM (#1258310)

          The former. It's not "taking the high ground" to enforce a contract; it's called doing business.

          --
          "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
          • (Score: 2, Flamebait) by FatPhil on Tuesday July 05, @06:22PM (5 children)

            by FatPhil (863) <pc-soylentNO@SPAMasdf.fi> on Tuesday July 05, @06:22PM (#1258327) Homepage
            So having moral standards is a bad thing? That's nice.
            --
            Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves
            • (Score: 1, Troll) by tangomargarine on Tuesday July 05, @06:55PM (4 children)

              by tangomargarine (667) on Tuesday July 05, @06:55PM (#1258333)

              What? I didn't say that, and I don't know what tangent you're going off on here.

              --
              "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
              • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Tuesday July 05, @08:40PM (3 children)

                by FatPhil (863) <pc-soylentNO@SPAMasdf.fi> on Tuesday July 05, @08:40PM (#1258367) Homepage
                No, you literally said exactly that - you said that all moral stances must be cast to one side.

                If you don't understand that, consider rereading my posts for comprehension this time.
                --
                Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves
                • (Score: 2, Interesting) by tangomargarine on Tuesday July 05, @08:58PM (2 children)

                  by tangomargarine (667) on Tuesday July 05, @08:58PM (#1258372)

                  Do you mean:
                  - We're supposed to be taking the high road here, and making our licenses completely open, not with arbitrarily chosen restrictions that support our personal moral choices.
                  or
                  - If it's Open, it's Open for anybody who abides by the license, and if we've embedded our personal moral choices into that license, we must take the moral high ground by upholding it, and not letting people not abide by the license.
                  ?

                  The former. It's not "taking the high ground" to enforce a contract; it's called doing business.

                  So having moral standards is a bad thing? That's nice.

                  you said that all moral stances must be cast to one side.

                  You're trying to pull some reductio ad absurdum BS on me here and I don't appreciate it. In this specific case morals shouldn't get involved with it, yes. I never said "having morals is a bad thing."

                  The entire point of Open Source as RMS preaches it, is to make your work available for people to use. Not available to people that you like.

                  Or let's compare this to recent news: Do pro-choice people say "all women should have access to abortion...as long as they're the ones I like"? No. Because that would be hypocritical.

                  Everybody has morals. It is not necessary to drag politics and morals into any random programming project solely because it is Open Source. If you prefer to deny people the ability to use your source, there are plenty of proprietary licenses that allow you to do just that.

                  If you don't understand that, consider rereading my posts for comprehension this time.

                  I would propose *you* go back and reread your words, and consider whether you were arguing in good faith, or trying to twist what I was saying so that you can offtopically posture about your morality.

                  --
                  "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
                  • (Score: 5, Informative) by sgleysti on Tuesday July 05, @11:26PM

                    by sgleysti (56) on Tuesday July 05, @11:26PM (#1258402)

                    I'm going to ignore the other poster you're interacting with (because they sound annoying) and focus narrowly on one issue here.

                    The entire point of Open Source as RMS preaches it...

                    RMS preaches free software not open source. This is very important to him. See his article Why Open Source Misses the Point of Free Software [gnu.org]. There's a 3-sentence summary at the top.

                    My take on RMS, free software, and copyleft as distinct from open source is that the whole goal is to preserve the ability of the people using the software to use it, modify it, fix it, relink it, redistribute it, etc. without encumbrance for the indefinite future. RMS views this as an incredibly important moral issue and sees proprietary software as evil. I'm not kidding. This is why the GPL and related licenses require anyone who creates and distributes a derivative work based on GPL-licensed software to make their changes available under the same terms. This prevents some proprietary software vendor from taking some free software, modifying it, and denying their users the same freedoms as the users of the original software. The hope of free software ideologues is that their free software projects will be so useful and significant that even proprietary vendors will decide to contribute improvements and grow the free software rather than roll their own. The linux kernel has seen this occur.

                    The entire point of Open Source as RMS preaches it, is to make your work available for people to use. Not available to people that you like.

                    This is on point if you remove the bit about RMS. This is more of the philosophy behind the BSD licenses [wikipedia.org] and related licenses as well as my personal favorite, the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication [creativecommons.org].

                    For the record, I think RMS is a nut, but I find all of this very interesting.

                  • (Score: 1, Troll) by FatPhil on Wednesday July 06, @11:51AM

                    by FatPhil (863) <pc-soylentNO@SPAMasdf.fi> on Wednesday July 06, @11:51AM (#1258493) Homepage
                    > You're trying to pull some reductio ad absurdum BS on me here and I don't appreciate it.

                    I'm sorry you hate logic and its application so much you even feel the need to denegrate it by insulting it. So be it; you have the right to reject logic, and the right to be wrong.
                    --
                    Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 05, @07:14PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 05, @07:14PM (#1258337)

      There's warez, leaked source code, long lists of serial numbers et alia on there. Maybe it refers to some of that.

    • (Score: 5, Funny) by DannyB on Tuesday July 05, @07:46PM

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday July 05, @07:46PM (#1258341) Journal

      "Problematic" is a swell phrase to use against anyone who you don't like.

      And here I thought that Problematic meant using technology to automate the creation of problems, avoiding expending human labor to create them.

      --
      You can not have fun on the weak days but you can on the weakened.
  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 05, @01:01PM (6 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 05, @01:01PM (#1258244)

    To put it another way. You are a developer who has contributed valuable content to various GitHub projects over the years. Of course, everyone is welcome to use it.

    Would you be satisfied if your code was used for profit by a closed-source app without giving you credit? In its classic fashion, this is where Microsoft tramples on moral boundaries.

    I can sympathize with the outrage over Copilot doing that, but it does raise a point that many human coders would likely already have been working in a similar way, finding bits of open source code online that do what they need, and basing part of their solution on those. Some might rewrite the code, just adopting the same technique, but others might copy and paste bits.

    If they took too much of the code, the license holder might have a case against them, if they're in violation of the license terms. If it's open source, it would be much easier to spot. For closed-source where only the binaries are shipped, it might be almost impossible to detect.

    So, yeah, morally, I don't like the idea of a corporation exploiting other people's open source code, particulary in a "big data" automated way, but I'm not sure that the "with an AI" bit makes it more morally wrong. Violating a license was wrong to begin with. Legally I would assume M$ might have something in their Ts and Cs that attempts to override the github users' licenses. I wonder how well that stands up in court.

    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by shrewdsheep on Tuesday July 05, @02:27PM (1 child)

      by shrewdsheep (5215) on Tuesday July 05, @02:27PM (#1258261)

      I can sympathize with the outrage over Copilot doing that

      I, on the other hand, cannot sympathize. Open data is being scraped and baked into a product by M$. This has nothing to do with github. You may discuss GPL'ed code. I personally don't see any violation. If you genuinely think this is a violation, invent GPL-4 to clarify matters. Good of M$ to bring up the matter early.

      Apart from this I wouldn't even want to use Copilot for free, let alone having access to the model.

      • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 05, @04:25PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 05, @04:25PM (#1258296)

        The GPL is all about how code is scraped and baked. I don't know if to call you uninformed or a canonical troll.

        Copilot encourages (and makes easy) re-use of GPL code in stuff that may or may not GPL, without even the BSD minimum of crediting the original author(s). It's not a "discussion" of code. The only way to not see a problem is to be a lawyer for Microsoft.

    • (Score: 2) by Rosco P. Coltrane on Tuesday July 05, @02:35PM (3 children)

      by Rosco P. Coltrane (4757) on Tuesday July 05, @02:35PM (#1258263)

      I'm not much of an ideological purist I guess. My approach is this: Microsoft gives a free home to my GPL3 projects. In return, if they want to reuse my code in their shitty closed-source products, go right ahead. What do I care? I gave away the code in the first place didn't I? Fuck if I care what it"s used in. If that's the price for free repos, fine by me.

      I only released my code under the GPL3 because if some lawyer wants to tangle with a for-profit over it, I'll be delighted. I remember the Microsoft of yore who spat in my face for years. I'd love nothing better if someone sued them. But I sure ain't the one paying a goddamn lawyer to do it on ideological grounds. I was born with a working brain. Still, if you want to uphold the GPL3 in court and my code helps, have at it.

      • (Score: 5, Informative) by maxwell demon on Tuesday July 05, @05:59PM (2 children)

        by maxwell demon (1608) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday July 05, @05:59PM (#1258321) Journal

        Microsoft gives a free home to my GPL3 projects. In return, if they want to reuse my code in their shitty closed-source products, go right ahead. What do I care? I gave away the code in the first place didn't I?

        No, you didn't. If you intended to give your code away, you should have chosen a BSD or MIT license.

        --
        The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
        • (Score: 3, Informative) by dmbasso on Tuesday July 05, @09:04PM

          by dmbasso (3237) on Tuesday July 05, @09:04PM (#1258374)

          Even that would require crediting the author, if the code is used, which is not the case with copilot.

          --
          `echo $[0x853204FA81]|tr 0-9 ionbsdeaml`@gmail.com
        • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Rosco P. Coltrane on Tuesday July 05, @11:00PM

          by Rosco P. Coltrane (4757) on Tuesday July 05, @11:00PM (#1258400)

          No, you didn't. If you intended to give your code away, you should have chosen a BSD or MIT license.

          Re-read what I wrote: I personally don't care what happens to my code. Once I make it public, it's essentially not mine anymore. I personally consider it that way, because I know if someone wants to use it and they're not honest, they'll steal it anyway. So I may as well consider it stolen from the get-go.

          But I chose GPL3 in the hope of being an annoyance to one of those companies, if they get caught stealing. Essentially out of spite. It's highly unlikely because clever companies steal discreetly, and also because nobody is interested in my code, but... who knows.

          If you care about licensing, GPL3 is as stupid as it comes. It's an idealist's license that no reasonable person likes. The GPL2 is a balanced license, but GPL3 is spiteful. That's why I chose it. But secretly I don't care because I don't really believe open-source licenses have any power in court.

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by progo on Tuesday July 05, @02:29PM (7 children)

    by progo (6356) on Tuesday July 05, @02:29PM (#1258262) Homepage

    I've been using SourceHut for a few years and I fully endorse it. (I have no financial stake in it.)

    SourceHut is all free software -- you'll need one or two Alpine Linux VMs to get it working -- or you can pay the company to host your account for you. The web front-end is super-fast and doesn't use JavaScript.

    $20/year, and don't let the "This is alpha" warning scare you. It's more stable than BitBucket. Contributors to your project who do not own resources on the SourceHut platform can use free unpaid accounts.

    • (Score: 5, Funny) by Rosco P. Coltrane on Tuesday July 05, @02:43PM (2 children)

      by Rosco P. Coltrane (4757) on Tuesday July 05, @02:43PM (#1258264)

      It's more stable than BitBucket

      That's kind of like saying some athlete runs faster than Stephen Hawking: it don't exactly entice me to place a bet at the bookie's.

      • (Score: 2) by progo on Tuesday July 05, @02:52PM

        by progo (6356) on Tuesday July 05, @02:52PM (#1258265) Homepage

        So we agree. BitBucket is alpha-quality. :^)

      • (Score: 2) by progo on Tuesday July 05, @02:54PM

        by progo (6356) on Tuesday July 05, @02:54PM (#1258266) Homepage

        SourceHut doesn't want to admit that their code is production ready. It is. It's just not feature-complete with their vision. But you can get work done on it for sure.

    • (Score: 2) by bart9h on Tuesday July 05, @04:57PM (3 children)

      by bart9h (767) on Tuesday July 05, @04:57PM (#1258301)

      Does it matter?

      If the code is publicly available, MS can scrap it from elsewhere.

      • (Score: 2) by progo on Wednesday July 06, @12:38PM (2 children)

        by progo (6356) on Wednesday July 06, @12:38PM (#1258502) Homepage

        If it's a "private" repository and hosted on GitHub, Microsoft can say "hold my beer" again and load that in to the AI.

        If it's a "private" repository hosted on a non-Microsoft platform, Microsoft needs to go through a few more steps to achieve this.

        Microsoft tainted GitHub, and thus some people are leaving.

        • (Score: 2) by bart9h on Wednesday July 06, @06:14PM (1 child)

          by bart9h (767) on Wednesday July 06, @06:14PM (#1258551)

          wait, does it use code from private repos too?

          that's absurd!

          • (Score: 2) by progo on Thursday July 07, @07:11PM

            by progo (6356) on Thursday July 07, @07:11PM (#1258745) Homepage

            Not that we know of. MS's behavior broke trust with their customers (copyright license violation). We can't assume they will or won't snarf up all the "private" repos in the future if they think they can get away with it.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by tangomargarine on Tuesday July 05, @03:06PM (1 child)

    by tangomargarine (667) on Tuesday July 05, @03:06PM (#1258270)

    90% of everything is crap.

    It not now, at some point in the future...this seems to particularly apply to software/software companies. Oh Mozilla, how we miss you...

    --
    "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
    • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Tuesday July 05, @08:06PM

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday July 05, @08:06PM (#1258355) Journal

      90% of everything is crap.

      The other 10%, while not being crap, has the same density as crap. Thus everything is worth its weight in crap.
       

      --
      You can not have fun on the weak days but you can on the weakened.
  • (Score: 4, Troll) by PiMuNu on Tuesday July 05, @03:47PM (4 children)

    by PiMuNu (3823) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday July 05, @03:47PM (#1258283)

    Just saying.

    • (Score: 3, Touché) by PiMuNu on Tuesday July 05, @05:55PM (3 children)

      by PiMuNu (3823) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday July 05, @05:55PM (#1258320)

      Just a question about modding, is the correct command to mod someone as troll

      > git mod --t -v

      Or is it

      > git checkout origin/mod:troll --

      Maybe both work?

      • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Tuesday July 05, @08:04PM (1 child)

        by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday July 05, @08:04PM (#1258353) Journal

        I would prefer more of an

        apt remove trolls

        type of resolution to the issue.

        --
        You can not have fun on the weak days but you can on the weakened.
        • (Score: 2) by PiMuNu on Wednesday July 06, @08:25AM

          by PiMuNu (3823) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday July 06, @08:25AM (#1258479)

          Agreed - apt at least has a UI which is usable.

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by PiMuNu on Wednesday July 06, @08:30AM

        by PiMuNu (3823) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday July 06, @08:30AM (#1258481)

        ps: git is quite literally a git:

        * commands like 'checkout' are completely different to other VCS 'checkout' commands
        * arguments like -x -y *completely* change the behaviour of the parent command
        * there are multiple internal representations for basically the same functionality (I'm looking at forks vs branches here)
        * the documentation is attrocious - but this is because the software is essentially impossible to document. All one can do is cut and paste from stackexchange and pray to whichever god you may have favour with at the present time

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by DannyB on Tuesday July 05, @08:03PM (3 children)

    by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday July 05, @08:03PM (#1258351) Journal

    All code that I include in a commercial product is either:

    1. written by someone on my team
    2. code that we have a license to, and are in compliance with that license.

    In the case of (2), that could mean some commercial code we've purchased a license for and include it in our product. It would also mean some suitably licensed open source code where we ensure we are in full compliance with the license. (note: Java has tons of things are are under the Apache 2 license and other very commercial friendly licenses.)

    Brief aside:


    About a decade ago this "no license" movement sprung up. People releasing code, but not putting it under ANY license. This was endlessly debated and masturbated on the green sight. The people behind this "no license" code thought they were somehow doing good, while doing just the opposite. They thought they were rebelling against the whole idea of software licenses. Myself and others pointed out that without a license I cannot ever use their source code. (Not in a commercial product, nor will I ever use it in a personal project for the same reasons.)

    A license is a permission. Like driver license, fishing license, marriage license, dog license. An "agreement" or EULA is a contract which has an exchange of consideration such as you give me money and I give you a license (eg permission).

    Without a license, I have no permission to use your copyrighted code. Whether you want it or not, you own the copyright on your code. If I don't have a license (eg permission) or some very clear public domain declaration, I'm not going to touch it with a ten foot pole. (3.048 meter pole)

    Bu, bu, but . . . these people would say, you don't have to worry about my copyright! I would never sue you! I say, then put that promise IN WRITING. That's exactly what a license is. You want to portray yourself as such a good guy, but you want me to just "trust you" to a verbal promise that you are not willing to put in simple writing, eg, a license. And there are already many well baked open source licenses to choose from.

    Back out of the weeds . . .

    If your IDE is suggesting non-trivial code fragments to a developer as they are typing in code, an issue begins to arise. At what point, are you including a substantial, material, non trivial amount of code from other copyright works -- without having a clue where they came from or what license they may be under?

    --
    You can not have fun on the weak days but you can on the weakened.
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by turgid on Tuesday July 05, @09:30PM (1 child)

    by turgid (4318) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday July 05, @09:30PM (#1258381) Journal

    A few years back I was looking for something free to host my off-site backups of some random hobby nonsense that I'd been writing and maybe to make public some very obscure niche development stuff I had written, but also because I wanted to "open source" some stuff for the sake of it.

    I've worked for a few large companies over the years, and I've had all the corporate training on IP and software patents. You won't be surprised to hear that some household names ran out of ideas decades ago, and to "make money" they hoard IP rather than do proper innovation (R&D) which is expensive and risky. What that means is that they trawl all the engineers' work periodically for "inventions" to patent.

    Let me give you an example. A respected colleague of mine, working on a real time embedded system, had written the code to bootstrap the system and start all the tasks in the RTOS. That consisted of iterating through an array of structures and calling OS functions. Each structure contained the name (ASCII string) of the task/thread, a pointer to its main() function, a pointer to its memory pool, its stack size (in bytes), and various other things. The corporate lawyer types thought this was an amazing invention worthy of a patent application...

    TL;DR sense prevailed and it didn't happen, however, what I learned was that some things can be patented (and many things are since the patent people are generally ignorant and stupid and corporations have a lot of money to send on lawyers) but they can't patent something that is prior art. That doesn't mean someone has patented it previously. Prior art can mean that it has been published (and not just in the Public Domain) so that means if you write some code and claim copyright on it (as you are legally entitled to do without consulting a lawyer and paying money) and put it out for public consumption, for example under a FOSS license such as the GPL, BSD, Apache, whatever, you have prior art, it's out there, and J. Random Corporation has very little chance of claiming IP rights on it.

    What this means is that we should all put as much code out there as possible under FOSS licenses, whether we thing it's any use or not, and the Microsofts and IBMs and Oracles of this world can not come along later and claim to have invented something relatively trivial.

    Don't be shy. Put your code out there.

  • (Score: 4, Informative) by mmlj4 on Wednesday July 06, @01:12AM

    by mmlj4 (5451) on Wednesday July 06, @01:12AM (#1258429) Homepage

    I forked all my GitHub stuff to GitLab less than a week after MICROS~1 bought TraitorHub. All the old stuff is still there, but I haven't pushed a single line of code to it since.

    --
    Need a Linux consultant [joeykelly.net] in New Orleans?
  • (Score: 4, Informative) by choose another one on Wednesday July 06, @09:42AM (1 child)

    by choose another one (515) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday July 06, @09:42AM (#1258485)

    Git was designed specifically to make software development distributed without a centralized site

    Erm, as I recall it:
    If Git was designed at all (as opposed to simply created / written / hacked) it was specifically to replace a proprietary tool - BitKeeper.
    A tool that Linus used despite it being proprietary, because there were no FOSS tools that could do the job
    A tool that was used (and paid for) by primarily proprietary dev teams for distributed development
    A tool that was licensed free (in money) for free software use, but with strings and rules that many didn't like, some broke and then it wasn't licensed anymore
    So Linus, left without a critical tool, made a new one.

    The FOSS development methodology is GitHub's product, which they've proprietarized and repackaged with our active (if often unwitting) help.

    A development methodology is something you write books about.
    GitHub's product is a tool to support a development methodology
    A tool mostly based on Git
    Which was a replacement for BitKeeper, a proprietary tool, made for proprietary developers
    If GitHub's proprietarized anything it's what FOSS copied from other tools that were proprietary in the first place

    Sometimes FOSS copies proprietary, sometimes proprietary copies FOSS (ideas, concepts, not code), sometimes proprietary becomes FOSS, sometimes visa versa. And on it goes round and round, except some folk seem to think it's not a cycle and that it only started with the last round...

    Those who forget history

    LOL. Oh the irony...

    • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Wednesday July 06, @02:26PM

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday July 06, @02:26PM (#1258515) Journal

      Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Usually in summer school before the fall semester.

      --
      You can not have fun on the weak days but you can on the weakened.
  • (Score: 2) by turgid on Friday July 08, @08:38PM

    by turgid (4318) Subscriber Badge on Friday July 08, @08:38PM (#1258970) Journal

    See this Wikipedia page [wikipedia.org]. Don't be a prisoner.

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