GitLab revolves around decision to delete dormant projects

GitLab appears to be based on a decision to automatically delete dormant projects.

On Thursday, The Register reported that GitLab planned to remove projects that have been inactive for a year and owned by free users. The policy was to come into effect at the end of September.

GitLab is said to have estimated that the policy would save it up to $1 million a year. However, after the report, GitLab’s technically unannounced policy was criticized:

So a library that is completely stable – no changes, no bugs archived – is “dormant” and will be deleted, while a lib that is constantly patched and new bugs found is safe. Illustrates everything that is wrong with current software development practices.

— Steve’s Seven Journeys (@stevestreeting) August 4, 2022

Quite a few of my repos that people regularly download libraries go untouched in a year. Latest update 2019 ( It is a stable library used by sentries every day.

— Armin Ronacher (@mitsuhiko) August 4, 2022

For example, I would be very disappointed if the repos associated with this GitHub account become inaccessible when hosted on GitLab

— Simon Willison (@simonw) August 4, 2022

The company has not officially announced (or refuted) the initially reported policy, but today announced a variation:

We discussed internally what to do with inactive repositories.
We’ve made a decision to move unused repos to object storage.
Once implemented, they are still accessible, but will take a little longer to access after a long period of inactivity.

— GitLab (@gitlab) August 4, 2022

The new policy is a fairer compromise: it helps GitLab’s long-term financial viability and ensures that projects aren’t completely wiped out.

However, there is still a question about how GitLab will define an inactive project.

Sid Sijbrandij, CEO and co-founder of GitLab, said that “probably all write operations would keep a project active, create a problem, send a merge request, forward changes to a branch, etc. We could also keep it active as long as people are doing reads.” like clones, forks, etc.”

After Microsoft’s acquisition of GitHub, many developers switched to GitLab because of concerns about the direction of GitLab under his new leadership. GitLab doesn’t exactly target developers with such policies.

Unfortunately, GitLab has never really shown that they are about free hosting and the Open Source community, so this feels rather curious.

— Armin Ronacher (@mitsuhiko) August 4, 2022

(Photo by Jim Wilson On Unsplash)

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Tags: coding, development, git, gitlab, programming, repo

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