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While I find this initiative fantastic, it's a bit frustrating that Github, a company that lives on source code being open, does not publish the code of tools like this one.

I don't mean this as a knock on Github, but I'd argue they are a company that lives on selling corporate licenses and enterprise software to companies that don't want everything to be public.

Correct. They earn money off of private repositories... not sure how them hosting public projects adds directly to the bottom line besides the obvious marketing benefit and sticky factors.

  not sure how them hosting public projects adds directly to the bottom line
They get a ton of feedback and insight from non-paying users. The usage and feedback can drive both the product and business roadmap for their enterprise offerings.

Every developer who enjoys using it for personal or open source is also likely to recommend it to their employer as well. I know I have helped drive adoption in a few organizations.

For companies that use open source (i.e. pretty much everyone) it's nice to be able to mix e.g. public forks of open source repos with private repos.

Github lives on companies and individuals that pay for private repositories hosted on Github's proprietary (read: not open source) software-as-a-service hosted infrastructure. While git itself is open source, almost nothing else that Github does is open.

I consider these kinds of companies 2nd Generation Open Source companies ... whereas the first generation of open source companies had an open source product and made their money off maintenance, the 2nd gen often have a bunch of components that are developed open source, but sell a closed source glue/package of all those components.

Companies like CoreOS, Mesosphere, all fall under this umbrella, where you could technically glue all their open source components together to form their main product, but it would take you quite a bit of time to support.

Github is sort of like this. They contribute a ton to open source, and are built mostly out of open source components (that ARE open source). But their website is really just a glue to all their infrastructure, and that's closed source.

That's a really great summary. It's an interesting alternative way for companies to produce a fair amount of open source contributions and still make money. I can definitely see this with other companies including ones that specialize in continuous integration and other services that developers are interested in.

> While git itself is open source, almost nothing else that Github does is open.

That's not true, they have lots of open source projects under their organization: https://github.com/github. It's not enough to build your own GitHub clone, but some significant parts are being developed in the open (jekyll, hubot, linguist, ..)

Ah, that is correct. I wish I could still edit. I also realize that my post makes it seems like github develops and directs git itself (they do not).

GitHub employs some people who work either full time or partially on git.

>While git itself is open source, almost nothing else that Github does is open.

This makes it sound like Github develops and open sources git, which it doesn't. They just built on top of it and have no control over the roadmap.

Quite true. I hadn't meant to make that implication but it is too late to edit.

I'd like a Linux port, too! Open source would help with that :)

Github lives on money. Their product happens to deal with (open) source code.

Here's as close to an official response that I've seen publicly: http://www.quora.com/Why-is-GitHub-for-Mac-not-open-sourced/...

This is true, but I think the amazing thing about free software is it is free to use however you'd like. Just like free speech, sometimes the outcome of FOSS isn't completely desirable.

Again, lots of good has come from GitHub, not limited by:


Publicity of Git

Awesome free hosting for countless FOSS projects!

It's surprising that a closed source company can be so successful with open source developers. The reason is because it's free for open source projects.

EDIT It's the same motivation as Oracle's recent "reverse engineering" drama, they don't want you to have the source. Will this end up true: those who sacrifice freedom for free deserve neither ?

[BTW: Franklin's "essential liberty" was actually self-government requiring taxation - like github charging; "purchase a little temporary security" was gifted funds for defense of the frontier - like donatiomware (e.g. OpenSSL after heartbleed). https://www.lawfareblog.com/what-ben-franklin-really-said ]

Exactly, it's somewhat ironic.

You could also say that it's ironic that people who are concerned with openness of source code would choose to host it on a proprietary platform. But hey, it's super convenient. (I do it too, but let's not kid ourselves.)

Both open source and close source have their place, and a bias towards either should be avoided. It frustrates me that so many view the two as mutually exclusive company decisions.

That's just a further proof point that open-source is not a panacea: it sometimes gets in the way of running a business.

There would be no github without git.

Necessary but not sufficient. There would be no free GitHub repos for open source without the income from the closed source repos that pay for them. As usual, open source is subsidized by closed source.

Maybe not "github" repos, but other public git repos would pop up. Suggesting that open source wouldn't have distribution is ignorant of the origins of open source.

This is a straw man. I nowhere suggest that open source would not have distribution.

GitHub isn't just 'distribution' it has required a huge amount of investment and focus by individuals who need to make money to feed their families and prosper.

The fact that it is GitHub that we're talking about, and the fictional repos that you imagine would spring up proves the point - in the real world, open source is subsidized by closed source.

Github's business isn't open source software. It's selling subscribers the ability to host private (as well as public) repositories.

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