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Lots of scientists use GitHub to manage research data or code, and to host websites. This was never an ideal choice because GitHub is a single point of failure, a silo, and a profit-driven enterprise that can change its business model without prior notice or can be taken over at any time. The latter is happening now that Microsoft accounced that it will acquire GitHub. I am worried that GitHub will soon cease to be as useful as it has been, and generally, I prefer not to use Microsoft services.

There are FOSS alternatives that implement most (such as GitLab) or the most important features of GitHub (such as Gogs or Gitea). But what about those who cannot run their own instance? Are there lists of public instances of these free and open-source Git hosting solutions?

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As there don't seem to be any lists of public Git hosting instances, let's collect single instances here. I'll aggregate and post a list later.

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My premise is that real, sustainable alternatives to GitHub must be based on free and open-source (FOSS) software, or they will be susceptible to vendor lock-in, buy-out, bankruptcy or what have you. So let's list FOSS software for Git hosting that could serve as a (perhaps partial) GitHub replacement:

  • GitLab CE (implemented in Ruby on Rails) is the most complete GitHub replacement I know. It started pretty much as a GitHub clone but has become more comprehensive that GitHub in some ways, e.g. by including GitLab CI for continuous integration. GitLab would like organizations with more than 100 users to consider buying the enterprise edition (GitLab EE), but as a matter of fact, organizations with several thousands of users are happily running the FOSS community edition (CE).
  • Gogs is a lightweight GitHub replacement (imlemented in Go). It lacks enterprise features such as Single-Sign-on via LDAP or SAMLv2/Shibboleth.
  • Gitea is a fork of Gogs.
  • Pagure is a less known Git hosting option (implemented in Python using Flask)
  • Gitblit is a Git hosting software for small work groups (implemented in Java)
  • GitProp is a less known GitHub clone (implemented in Perl)

For those who cannot set up their own Git hosting instance, these services might be helpful:

  • Free Git hosters: Obviously, GitLab offers a free plan that covers most developers' needs. However, let's look for other offers to avoid centralization: Framagit, GitGud, octo.sh, … [please post additions as comments so I can add them here!]
  • Research institutions: Many universities and other research institutions run GitLab instances that are free to use for its members: Bielefeld University, GWDG, … [please post additions as comments so I can add them here!]
  • Societies and clubs: The Free Software Foundation Europe runs a Gitea instance for use by its supporters. Hacker clubs such as the CCC or Digitalcourage run GitLab instances for projects close to them.
  • Software projects: Some software projects do Git hosting for anyone. E.g. Fedora (the Linux distro) runs a Pagure instance.
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Research institutions: LRZ offers a GitLab instance for LMU and TU Munich: https://www.lrz.de/services/netzdienste/gitlab_en/
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At deRSE19, we discussed some questions regarding GitLab at academic institutions. Here are the notes: https://pad.gwdg.de/gitlab
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There's another great open source Git hosting platform very few people know.You can use it completely for free at pagure.io or download its source code from pagure.io/pagure and host your own instance.I don't know any alternative instances.It's developed by Fedora so I think you can use the pagure.io site without paying with your data.I'm not completely sure where I'll move my open source project but I think I'll give Pagure a chance.

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