Jan-Lukas Else

Thoughts of an IT expert

GitLab Telemetry: Use Non-Commercial Alternatives Instead

Published on in 👨‍💻 Dev
Short link: https://b.jlel.se/s/1fe
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Yesterday, GitLab sent an email to all users (and wrote a blog post) telling that they are updating their terms & services (to which you have to agree) to include a new third party service to track and analyze the behavior of their users, so that they better understand how their users interact with GitLab.

That understandably created a lot of backlash from users who don’t want to get tracked. Sure, GitLab needs a way to see which features get used in which way, but it’s probably not necessary to use a third party service to accomplish this task.

Because of all the backlash they rethink their plan now:

UPDATE: We’ve heard your concerns and questions. There were many more concerns than we expected. We’re going to process the feedback and rethink our plan. We will not activate product usage tracking on GitLab.com or GitLab self-managed before we address the feedback and re-evaluate our plan. We will make sure to communicate our proposed changes prior to any changes to GitLab.com or self-managed instances, and give sufficient time for people to provide feedback for a new proposal.

Situations like this are always opportunities for competitors to advertise their own service, like Drew DeVault is doing with his service sourcehut. It seems to bring him a lot of new customers. A similar situation was when Github announced that it will join Microsoft and out of fear a lot of people switched to GitLab.

But I have a better suggestion than switching to the next commercial service: Either setup your own Git hosting instance (it isn’t that hard) or use the service of a non-profit organization like Codeberg (and if you are doing this donate to help keeping it alive!).

All commercial services (even DeVault’s sourcehut) go for the money and do decisions based on money. Non-profit organizations have stricter legal limitations to make a profit and are “dedicated to furthering a particular social cause”. This will have an influence on their actions. And if you self-host you have full control.

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Jan-Lukas Else
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