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GitLab acquires Gitorious (about.gitlab.com)
190 points by waffle_ss on March 3, 2015 | hide | past | favorite | 87 comments

Sad news. I moved all of my repos from GitHub to Gitorious in order to get away from proprietary software, and now I'm (almost) back at square one. The public GitLab instance at gitlab.com runs the proprietary version, so I cannot move my repos there.

I like GitLab more than Gitorious on a purely technical level, but GitLab unfortunately has a CLA[0] and uses the MIT expat license, whereas Gitorious used the AGPL.

I guess I will just self-host my own GitLab CE instance now.

[0] http://ebb.org/bkuhn/blog/2014/06/09/do-not-need-cla.html

I'm sorry to hear this. For the reasons of running a proprietary version please see my other answer in this thread https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9139559

We have the CLA to ensure this we're on the right side of copyright law. But your article looks interesting and I'll read it.

Great to hear you plan to run GitLab CE, we hope you'll enjoy it.

>We have the CLA to ensure this we're on the right side of copyright law.

I appreciate that. I think you have good intentions. The author of the article is Bradley Kuhn, who works at the Software Freedom Conservancy. He's an expert when it comes to the legal aspects surrounding free software projects, so perhaps having a conversation with him about the CLA would be a worthwhile experience.

OK, thanks, we'll consider that.

"We have the CLA to ensure this we're on the right side of copyright law."

The CLA is only a license, another license than MIT, but doing _almost_ the same things. IIRC, the difference is that it gives you okay to make proprietary distributions without respecting MIT conditions.

You do not need it to be "on the right side of copyright law".

Using MIT-licensed code is on the right side of copyright law just as well. (unless what you want is to disobey poor old MIT)

If you're looking at self-hosting, check out Phabricator. I've tried GitLab several times before, and maybe it's improved, but I was blown away by phabricator's features.

The install could use a bit of work, and setting up the repo hosting was somewhat tricky to understand the documents (various users and sudo lines to create). But overall it's pretty fantastic.


Hi John, when was the last time you checked out GitLab? It is improving at a very rapid pace (over 60 changelog entries for our last monthly release https://gitlab.com/gitlab-org/gitlab-ce/blob/master/CHANGELO...). What are the features from Phabricator you would like to see in GitLab?

> I moved all of my repos from GitHub to Gitorious in order to get away from proprietary software

> I guess I will just self-host my own GitLab CE instance now.

I moved from Google Code to a forked version of indefero[1]. I would be happy to post the link but I don't want to be a shameless post. Indefero itself actually has some problems that I fixed (such as a scale problem), but otherwise it's pretty stable. I have over 100 projects in my instance and it's working really well.

I used Rhodecode for awhile before they sold out - and while it was nice looking - it seemed like every new version introduced a new bug or issue. It was also a pain upgrading.

A lot of people dislike google code because it doesn't have the "social" aspects of pull requests - but the pull requests I've offered have not been pulled or the author of the project wanted to keep requesting modifications that it just wasn't worth my time. The later was actually an important fix because his project was just completely broken...

I like google code because it's just simple no frills. Uploads/wikis/source all right there.

[1] - http://projects.ceondo.com/p/indefero/

Plenty of alternatives available. One for the gophers: http://gogs.io/

Plenty of alternatives are not necessarily a good thing. Repository/project software (and hosting even moreso) seems to be subject to tremendous network effects. One of the exciting things about gitlab is it seems the first such software (and with gitlab.com, service) since github took off to make a serious run at massive adoption. I doubt there's room to make an impact for another open source (excluding enterprise version) github-like that merely happens to be written in another language. The next next such project to make a serious run needs to innovate in some fashion.

Thanks Mike! We certainly want to make a serious run at massive adoption and hope that the fact that GitLab.com is free for private projects will help with that.

GitLab CEO here, I would love to discuss what people think about this and any questions please have about moving their code.

I expect a few projects won't migrate to gitlab.com from gitorious due to strong commitment to http://mako.cc/writing/hill-free_tools.html

There is an opening for someone to provide gratis gitlab CE or other exclusively free software based git hosting.

GitLab.com runs the proprietary GitLab Enterprise Edition (EE). This is mostly to allow us to performance test EE features at scale, for more context see https://about.gitlab.com/2014/06/27/gitlab-com-runs-ee/ You can use the open source GitLab Community Edition (CE) to start a SaaS similar to GitLab.com. We hope people will recognize that CE is not crippleware and will be OK with hosting their code on GitLab.com. If not there are alternatives based on CE such as https://modernrepo.com/

Yes I've read that context and it makes sense. I was just observing that some people would want an absolutely pure (ie 100% free software) option rather than critiquing what you offer.

That said I do hope you take steps to reassure people who want to be using an option which preserves their software freedom, for example that the CE will not be slowly deprecated, more features moving into EE.

I admit that making a fully credible commitment is challenging: options include multi-copyrightholder-copyleft which presumably you don't want at all as an MIT licensed project + some proprietary bits in EE, and a variation on the Fiduciary License Agreement used for Qt. But those two options are copyright-focused; there are probably other mechanisms to be thought of.

We try to reassure people by adding more features to the open source version every month. In fact, since we released the proprietary enterprise edition, the pace of development for the open source version has accelerated. We never moved any features from the open source version to the enterprise edition and plan to never do this (except in edge cases with overlapping functionality). We're happy with the current MIT license. We tried an MIT license for the enterprise edition before but that was very confusing to customers.

I've been running Gitlab CE for a few years on a linode instance for a couple of dozen repos and it's really quite excellent; performance is very good. You do need to keep up with the monthly upgrades to get the new features (there's an upgrade script).

Recently Gitlab CE has undergone some quite significant UI updates along with very noticeable performance improvements. Excellent work guys!

Signed: a very happy Gitlab CE user.

Glad to hear that!

If I read that uncharitably, (except...) looks like ample room to lead to the eventual demise of the open source offering.

But adding more features to the open source version every month is great. Hopefully that and a massive userbase sums to making it obvious that any substantial move towards deprecating the open source version will lead to a successful hostile fork, as there will be tons of people able and interested in doing that if necessary, resulting in you never making it necessary. :)

It is sad that enterprises are confused by freedom rather than demanding of it, but that's an issue for the software freedom movement to solve.

On another note, https://about.gitlab.com/better-than-github/ is a well done page. I wish you maximum success.

I think the only way to prove we're serious about open source is in our actions, licenses or statements don't help.

And yes, the huge community around GitLab will ensure a fork if we turn evil and start crippling the open source version.

Glad you like our comparison page with GitHub :)

This is the big key to open source. The proof is right there. The source is out there, so you can't turn that source evil, people can just take it and run with it around you if you try.

I build and admin a public RPM repo for our product. After installing gitlab's RPM, I was blown away. I have never seen a single RPM that large work that perfectly on the first shot. Either I am lucky, or more likely, you really put a lot of effort into your packaging. Cheers to you for a brilliant demo.

It didn't quite fit into our workflow - I think we would like to use gitlab as a beautiful web client, but then push our code there back into our own vanilla git repo on https/ssh. Gitlab seems as it is a turnkey product, repo hosted internally. It was certainly very easy to import our existing projects into it.

Good to hear that! We put a lot of effort into packaging GitLab to make it a 2 minute install even though it is a Rails application. We could not have done it without the awesome Omnibus packaging system that Chef so kindly open-sourced.

May I ask what the reason is you don't want to host the repo's in GitLab itself?

First I want to thank you and the developers for your work on GitLab. Currently GitLab's binary packages are distributed as a big rpm/deb with every package needed by GitLab (like PostgreSQL, Redis, Nginx etc.) inside it, and there are no official repositories, so one must manually download and install the Big package. Why can't we use the more traditional way with package dependencies?

I want to piggy-back off this: PLEASE all projects, continue to offer monolithic packages as an option. It takes an act of Congress to get some servers internet access to fetch packages; being able to download a VMWare image or a blob to install makes testing a whole lot easier.

Indeed, downloading from rubygems or package servers from a server in a DMZ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DMZ_(computing) is really hard.

Theoretically you could mirror the rubygems and update from that server. http://stackoverflow.com/questions/8411045/how-to-build-a-ru...

That is possible, but you need to either need to mirror all gems or pick the 135 ones used by GitLab. And you need to set up a Debian package mirror as well. This might take a lot more time than the 2 minute Omnibus install :)

So how do you periodically download security updates on that same server? (it clearly has network access since you run gitlab on it).

I think your issue lies elsewhere, not on the packaging scheme.

From these servers you can frequently access a fileserver on which you can download files from the internet. But the server itself can't access the internet.

Centrally managed local repo, managed by another team.

Sometimes, in a lab, it's easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.

You're welcome. We're working on an official repository by using the awesome packagecloud.io software. This will be a big package but it will be easier to update (just use apt-get). Making a small native package is pretty hard but we're open to contributions http://feedback.gitlab.com/forums/176466-general/suggestions...

Thank you for coming forward in many discussions (not only HN), and giving time for people's questions.

I resent the way things went down, such as removing people's repositories, and paying gitorious developers to shut down the project. Those are history now, and I can't say they prevents anyone (anyone paying attention, that is) from taking a different route - fortunately, both projects are freely licensed and data is in git repositories.

They raise questions about the future though: next time people's code would be also removed? Will there be at least three months then, or less?

Why exactly doesn't Gitlab move freely licensed projects?

Since it bought the gitorious.org site, it's like you have two hosting sites, and want to close one down. For freely-licensed projects, making a copy is easy (whether people use it or not) - if Gitlab wanted to.

We didn't put Gitorious to shut down the project. Gitorious was no longer sustainable.

We don't move projects because we don't want to move them to a new organization and url without explicit consent. We're working with archive.org to make sure nothing is lost.

How do you think this will affect major users/projects, e.g. Qt, on Gitorious? How much will their workflow have to change?

They will have to import their repo's into GitLab. This means that all their urls will change. This is quite unfortunate but we hope they'll appreciate the improved interface and features that GitLab brings such as a great merge request flow. Please let me know if you have any specific concerns.

I'm concerned about losing access to public projects that are not actively maintained, and thus won't make the transition to GitLab. Is it possible to leave Gitorious online in read-only mode after the May deadline?

Unfortunately that is not possible because of the hosting costs for Gitorious.org. We're reaching out to archive.org to index everything but it is probably not easy to git clone from there. Feel free to create mirrors of things that are important.

Wouldn't it be possible to migrate the git repositories automatically, and set up redirects?

Destroying what might be the only public repository of some projects, and breaking a ton of existing links, is not something that sounds good.

We don't want to move people's code without them agreeing with that move to another organization. But I agree the broken links are not nice. I'm not sure how practical it is to redirect projects that moved themselves.

Might it be possible to at least store copies on gitlab - say, have a project/user/organisation called gitorious with every gitorious project under it? I can't admit that I know just how much stuff is hosted on gitorious, but it might not be too onerous.

It is about 4.5TB that is hosted there and we don't want to move people's code to another organization and domain without asking.

Edit: I updated the size, it was not 12TB but 4.5

Are redirects that expensive? How about giving the domain to another entity that is willing to pick up the hosting and/or redirection costs?

Redirects can be a lot of work if there are many and you need to find out where to redirect too.

It would be awesome if an other individual or organization is willing to sponsor the hosting costs so we could keep it open longer, if so please email me at sytse@gitlab.com or comment here.

>How about giving the domain to another entity that is willing to pick up the hosting and/or redirection costs?

GitLab bought Gitorious so they could shut it down, not so they could give it to someone else. That is the purpose of acquisitions within the same field.

The main reason for the acquisition is to give and communicate a clear upgrade path for existing Gitorious users. If someone wants to pay for the hosting costs to keep gitorious.org running longer we'd be happy to do that. Please email me at sytse@gitlab.com or comment here if you're interested.

>The main reason for the acquisition is to give and communicate a clear upgrade path for existing Gitorious users.

That's a pretty disingenuous thing to say when it seems like the only reason an "upgrade path" is needed in the first place is because of the acquisition and shutdown.

Edit: Even with Gitorious being "no longer sustainable" in its current form, there are other methods that could have been used (price adjustments, fundraising, etc) rather than an outright and very short-term shutdown.

Responding after the edit. Price adjustments and fundraising make sense when a project is alive and growing, but Gitorious had been seeing less and less contributions over the last few years.

I think that the free/open source community lost one of the few places to do free/open source hosting. :-/

We offer free hosting on GitLab.com (also for private repositories) and there is a great list on wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_source_code_soft...

Not really related to the acquisition, but what's the status on running GitLab on the arm architecture such as the Raspberry Pi? I'd love to run that.

No problem, thanks for asking. With the 1GB RAM Pi coming out running GitLab is a lot easier. It would be nice to have a precompiled Omnibus package for it (like the ones for other platforms on https://about.gitlab.com/downloads/). We hope someone will contribute this.

For now you'll have to install from source https://gitlab.com/gitlab-org/gitlab-ce/blob/master/doc/inst...

More about the memory requirements can be found in https://gitlab.com/gitlab-org/gitlab-ce/blob/master/doc/inst...

It doesn't work currently on the rpi2 - there is at least one crash during install: https://github.com/gitlabhq/gitlabhq/issues/8809 and https://github.com/cowboyd/therubyracer/issues/317

Gogs works though.

Thanks for raising this, we'll look into it. Some of our team just got a RPi2 in our (very delayed) christmas gifts. So we'll be trying to improve the situation. But if someone knows why precompiling fails only on Rpi's please comment in the issues.

We're using https://github.com/gitlabhq/gitlabhq/issues/8809 to discuss this issue. It seems solvable by using Node instead of the RubyRacer.

Deleted - I was confused. Thought it was GitHub buying gitlab to extinguish the competition.

Kallithea[1] is a project of the Software Freedom Conservancy. It is written in Python and has an active mailing list. It supports both Mercurial and Git.


For a collection of GitHub alternatives (broadly speaking), including Kallithea, you can consult this list:


Tuleap developer here, thanks for the list (and including us :)!

Regarding "Hosted service?": Tuleap is both on premises (regular Tuleap install [1]) and/or in SaaS with http://mytuleap.com

[1] http://tuleap-documentation.readthedocs.org/en/latest/instal...

Shouldn't Allura be listed with source-forge (and it listed as open source)? It was my understanding that sf.net isn't running a proprietary fork? (Or maybe the ad server etc isn't part of Allura?).

Might want to list trac/apache bloodhound, possibly redmine and fossil as well. Otherwise a nice list :)

[edit: Oh, and Launchpad seems like a natural fit for this list as well? Looks like there's some (recent) progress adding support for git to Launchpad as well: https://bugs.launchpad.net/launchpad/+bug/1032731 https://bugs.launchpad.net/launchpad/+bug/292557 ]

Thanks for including GitLab on your list. Do you know GitLab also offers integrated issue tracking? For example see https://gitlab.com/gitlab-org/gitlab-ce/issues

gitlab does offer integrated issue tracking, yes. in fact, you linked to it yourself.

BitBucket also has issue tracking.

To add come context, it is a fork of the Rhodecode project that stopped being open source. Great to see that the community created an open alternative.

I serioully hope that Kallithea succeeds because, unlike GitLab et al, it supports Mercurial.

What exactly was bought? The gitorious employees? Looks like the gitorious code is gonna get scrapped.

Edit: I mean, what was the purpose of buying gitorious? The employees? Enticing the gitorious customers and users to use gitlab?

The latter, we want to communicate an upgrade path to existing Gitorious customer and users. Unfortunately we could not repurpose anything from the Gitorious codebase.

Acquishutdown! So were they going out of business or is there another reason for shutting them down?

Their business was no longer sustainable and they wanted to shut the company down without a bankruptcy.

thanks for the straight answer to that! hope it works out.

I've got a few small projects on Gitorious, mostly because I wanted to avoid a GitHub monoculture (and the Gitorious software being AGPL'd helped too). Having an easy way to import from Gitorious to GitLab is nice, but I'd like to check out GitLab's public hosting features first. I had a poke around GitLab's website, but every page seems dedicated to selling GitLab-as-a-product. Are there any publically-visible projects hosted by GitLab?

The page on the website about our SaaS GitLab.com is https://about.gitlab.com/gitlab-com/

You can view all public projects on GitLab.com via https://gitlab.com/explore

An interesting project is F-Droid, an installable catalogue of FOSS https://gitlab.com/fdroid/fdroiddata

Can you elaborate in the github monoculture? What's the downside of github you're seeing?

(Just curious!)

If you're looking for hosted GitLab that is private to you or your team/company check out https://githost.io

Josh is an awesome guy and he does a great job managing GitLab servers for people.

Gogs (https://github.com/gogits/gogs) is a rather nice up and coming alternative to gitlab for self hosted repositories.

But gogs doesn't self-host its own development! IIRC gitlab didn't initially either. That it does now inspires a lot more confidence.

meh, gogs doesn't inspire confidence. There is some serious issues going on, resulting in the inability to handle more then one request at a time. I brought it up to the dev, and did some explorations that found lots of data race problems, and got this lovely gem back from the dev:

"In my point of view, as long as no deadlock..data race is unavoidable."

Uggg are you kidding me?

Why does GitLab have to kill the AGPL instance of Gitorious they aqquired? Most of the people I know who use Gitorious.org did so so we could use an AGPL service to host our repositories. GitLab simply does not do this as it uses a lax permissive license. In addition to this they impose CLAs on any contributors :/ sigh

It is really a shame that GitLab feels the need to remove the only AGPL service that fills this need. I do not know where I will be migrating my repositories, but it will not be GitLab unless they wish to offer the community an AGPL instance.

Congratulations on the acquisition. is there any plan to create mobile app for creating / browsing issues ( offline support ) in near future ?

Thanks! We have no plans for a mobile app at this point. We try to make GitLab work really well on mobile screens. There are also native mobile apps created by the community https://about.gitlab.com/applications/ but I'm not sure if they support working offline.

Please don't. We don't need apps for this, a website that works offline is more than enough.

Plus, it's really cross platform, and you don't have to work on 5 different versions of the same app, while not excluding any mobile OS.

>GitLab acquires Gitorious to bolster its on premises code collaboration platform

You guys are maybe celebrating a bit too much. Cut down on the drinks. ;)

We wrote the blog post together and this was from our (pretty awesome) account manager. Not very fit for the crowd here :)

we were experimenting with the use of GitBucket https://github.com/takezoe/gitbucket as alternative, and so far seems very good for smaller repos.

Why is there a setting for Skype on user profile?

Why no XMPP, or phone, or physical address?

Skype is probably there because someone added it. Feel free to add XMPP and phone. I don't think a physical address is very practical.

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