Ade Malsasa Akbar contact
Senior author, Open Source enthusiast.
Monday, February 24, 2020 at 23:13

I was really inspired by Free Software Foundation's list of ethical repositories in which I saw GitLab.com service there among other old longstanding services. The Foundation (often called FSF) is a serious organization with long consideration if they wish to update that list. However, in fact, there are many more services coming by time and now there are several interesting ones worth to try and enjoy. Although I myself am not a programmer, but code hosting is not unfamiliar to me, as a free software community member (just like you all, dear readers) I often get so many useful information and sometimes submit bug report to projects I love. You can, for example, take information here as reference to host a Git server software at your home as you see perhaps many serious projects also using it. As an author and mere free software user, I hope this list could be useful for everybody and particularly for programmers. Happy hacking!


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About This Article

Actually this was started as a small note I posted at Mastodon List of Ethical Code Hostings by 3rd-Parties. And that post was actually a continuation to the original post I published just few days before. Thank you for all people who participated and especially gave me suggestions.





Gitlab.com


Established 2011, GitLab.com is a complete code hosting service as a real alternative to GitHub, BitBucket, or Sourceforge. In 2018, Vice.com reported that 13,000 projects migrated from Github.com to Gitlab.com after Microsoft acquisition. It is evaluated as "C" by The GNU Project in their Ethical Code Hosting scoring above GitHub's and Sourceforge's shared score "F". It is really a complete service including advanced Continuous Integration and also Personal Web Pages and those all you can get gratis. As a longstanding and professional plaform, it has excellent documentation in using it (and of course in deploying the Free Software version to your own server as well). Today, I think Gitlab.com is the best as modern ethical code hosting. Several popular projects hosted in there are Inkscape and F-Droid.


 

Codeberg


Formerly TeaHub, founded in 2019 as a non-profit organization in Germany. It is a new comer but already being very clear about its legal stuffs. Why? Because you see here many new comers either do not have Terms of Service, or Privacy Policy, or Imprint, or all these. This service also attempts to comply with LibreJS.

  • Server software used: Gitea
  • Features: ? (Gitea standard)
  • Registration Price: gratis
  • User documentation: ?
  • TOS: link
  • Privacy policy: link
  • Legal: link 


PrivacyToolsIO Git 


PrivacyToolsIO (PTIO) is an informational resource website founded in 2015 as a reaction to Mass Surveillance 2013 case. Since 2019 it provides a Gitea code hosting for free. As a newcomer, it is still incomplete as it is currently lacking plans clarity and user guide. However, it does have TOS and PP although it does not have legal status yet. Thanks to Gitea, this service also attempts to comply with LibreJS.




Framasoft Git


Framasoft is a 2003-established non-profit organization based in France that succesfully established De-google-ify Internet movement and created PeerTube (federated YouTube alternative) and is now creating Mobilizon (Facebook Events alternative). Framagit is a service among other services of Framasoft, which, serves public GitLab code hosting for free.




Disroot Git


For anyone aware about user privacy today, a good chance they will know Disroot.org, an all-around ethical service provider often viewed as almost-complete Google replacement. Disroot Git is the code hosting service of Disroot. It is unclear in what year this service launched, also unclear about each account features and lacking user documentation, while it has TOS and PP already. However, Disroot organization itself is still not a legal entity up to recently.


Notabug


Established 2015, Notabug is "the GitHub" of Peers Community, a group of free software and free culture activists. Registration is open for everybody but it only accepts projects that meet with free software and free culture definitions. Notabug itself powered by Gogs which in turn the software Gitea based upon. Today, all Gogs and Gitea-based code hostings include Javascript License section on every page footer thanks to 2017 change in the original Gogs and one month after in Gitea. Notabug is established by Hein-Pieter van Braam-Stewart from Dutch and the server itself hosted in Germany. It has clear Terms of Service and Privacy Policy and admin identity. It also is clear about size limit per account being 1GB. So far, Notabug is clearer than Gitea.com and Libregit.com about its identity.




Gitea.com 


Established 2019 by Gitea Project itself, this one is another new comer. It is sponsored by Chinese company, DiDi Host. It is very potential seeing how amazing the project was on GitHub, however it seems this instance is new and still unclear about its legal stuffs. We will see in near future if this can be a professional-grade code hosting. If you start here, you can ask questions at the official Gitea.io Forum. Just like Notabug and Codeberg, this platform also tries to comply with LibreJS.

  • Server software used: Gitea
  • Features: ? (standard Gitea features)
  • Registration price: gratis
  • User documentation: ?
  • TOS: ?
  • Privacy policy: ?


Teknik.io Git


Teknik.io is a 2013-establised all-in-one service provider similar to Framasoft or Disroot which offers a Gitea code hosting service. Teknik is very clear in TOS and PP and more importantly has account feature list (one thing Notabug and Codeberg still lacking today), although it seems does not have legal entity at the moment, and it communicates to the public whenever important changes made (recent example). There are gratis and paid account options, however the gratis one gets unlimited repos & 10GB upload capacity. This platform also tries to comply with LibreJS.



Launchpad


A Canonical's code hosting established 2004 with free software Rosetta in the background, it is Launchpad. It supports Bazaar and Git. Canonical is the U.K.-based company behind Ubuntu operating system. Launchpad is very popular to Ubuntu users (and derivatives) as Ubuntu operating system itself being developed in Launchpad; not to mention thousands of other projects. As expected of an oldstanding & professional platform, it has complete set of excellent user guide, TOS, PP, and Legal stuffs.



Pagure


Established 2014, Fedora Pagure is the Red Hat's Launchpad, a public code hosting for free software projects. Red Hat is U.S.-based company behind community developed Fedora GNU/Linux operating system. Mainly it is the Fedora's code hosting, but it is opened wide to public including those who are not related to Fedora Project. To register, you should have a Fedora User Account (gratis) and required to upload your SSH public key. However, I could not find it is clear about limits in how much you data in GB could upload or how many repositories are allowed, in other words, I do not find any Terms of Service document in Pagure.


 

Savannah


Founded in 2001 by Loic Dachary, it is the code hosting number one recommended by FSF above GitLab.com and GitHub. It supprts SVN, Mercurial, and Git. Savannah is divided in two, one is for official GNU Project, and another one is for non-GNU projects. Savannah is open for everyone but only accepts to host Free Software. If Launchpad is the place where Ubuntu being developed, and Pagure is for Fedora, then Savannah is for the GNU Operating System itself. Despite being clear about terms of service, it does not have its own clear privacy policy.


 

Sourcehut


Sourcehut is a best newcomer besides Codeberg in my opinion thanks to its clarity. It offers not only Git but also Mercurial supports. With slogan "The Hacker's Forge", it is founded 2019 by Drew DeVault, the same person who develop sway window manager. Sourcehut is currently submitted to the team behind GNU's Ethical Repository scoring and wishing to get an evaluation. If you look at it, you can see how serious the founder is to establish and maintain everything about Sourcehut. It has TOS and PP already and also nice user documentation. Personally, just seeing the website is amusing to me as it is very unique, unlike the classic one (Savannah) nor the modern one (GitLab); and the language used here is very delicous to read. However, it is still in Alpha status at the moment and in this period registration is gratis but payment will be required later. I think that is fair and I would love to see people opinions about this.



Libregit


Here is a new comer from Latin America. It has no legal clarity at the moment but we can create free accounts (and the registration is without captcha). So, we do not know user limitations such as what GB capacity allowed for every free account. However, at least two seriously interesting projects are here, first is Hyperbola GNU/Linux, and second is Meltdown-Spectre checker.

  • Server software used: Gitea
  • Features: ? (standard Gitea)
  • Registration price: gratis
  • User guide: ?
  • TOS: ?
  • Privacy policy: ?
  • Legal: ?


Worth Mentioning


I mention these instances with a hope we know more about our own community projects and it would be nice if we could start participating there. On the oher hand, you can learn how serious projects like them manage their own code hostings.


Further Readings


  • Comparison Code Hosting - Wikipedia - see this if you want a detailed comparison between Git server software from both free and propietary ones.
  • Framasoft - French organization which started De-google-ify Internet movement and created PeerTube federated video sharing network.
  • Libreho.st - a group where ethical code hosting providers (like Disroot) can join. 
  • Chatons - a group founded by Framasoft to unite similar Libre Software Privacy Service providers.
  • Gitea - the initial announcement of Gitea as software project derived from Gogs.

More About Privacy


There are many more information you can learn. From these links, you could learn what code hostings are used by several projects.
  • Mass Surveillance 2013: all information about why people are so encouraged about ethical alternatives to everything particularly code hosting.
  • PRISM Break: mainly about software, but you can learn much from code hostings used by projects secure applications recommended here.
  • PrivacyToolsIO: resources of privacy apps and it hosts one of platforms mentioned earlier.
  • Resetthenet: fancy & colorful resources of privacy apps.


This article is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.