Judging by recent social media posts to both Reddit and YouTube, a great migration from GitHub to GitLab is right around the corner as Linux security and privacy experts are concerned about a potential buyout of the world’s largest source code host. Heretofore unconfirmed rumors have painted a picture of a company like Microsoft potentially taking over GitHub, with some people insinuating that they’d have to pay upwards of $2 billion in US funds to do so.
Even though these rumors may be untrue, GitLab seems to be an attractive option for those in the free and open-source software (FOSS) community. Some experts feel that GitLab is more in touch with the needs of developers while also being more supportive of completely open-source projects.
FOSS proponents feel that these projects are both more secure as more people are working on them to eliminate vulnerabilities while also more protective of user’s privacy as they clearly spell out everything they do.
Several major projects related to the Linux ecosystem have already moved to GitLab. As early as May 31, GitLab made a formal announcement that GNOME would be using them to manage over 400 individual software projects that make up the whole of the GNOME desktop environment.
Debian’s development teams approached GitLab in 2017 to encourage them to drop the industry-standard Contributor License Agreement (CLA) in favor of a Developer’s Certificate of Origin (DCO) license, which is more friendly to open-source. Since GitLab agreed to switch to a more libertine DCO-based agreement they’ve been able to attract other projects who feel that operating under the classic CLA is too restrictive.
This should continue to attract developers concerned about Linux security and privacy issues in the coming weeks should any outside organization actually make an offer to annex GitHub.
Migration shouldn’t be too difficult for those who wish to move between GitHub and GitLab. GitLab was originally written in Ruby, like GitHub was, though some parts have been rewritten in Go. Nevertheless, many developers have become used to working with git tools to the point where they can comfortably work with either platform.
In spite of any concerns that individual developers may have expressed, GitHub is still the biggest repository of source code in the world and will continue to host projects as well as needed security and performance updates.