On August 5, 2022, the online service for hosting repositories, remote management of them and other development tasks GitLab changed its mind about deleting repositories of free hosted projects if there is no activity from developers for twelve months. The platform explained that it will move them to slower storage for long-term storage.
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“The company came to a decision on what to do with inactive repositories. We have decided to move unused repositories to another object storage. After implementing this process, they will still be available, but their download will be slower,” explained a representative of GitLab.
The platform did not explain whether in this case the project transferred to another repository will still be visible to all users, or only the owner of the repository will have access to it. In the second case, it can be lost to everyone, for example, in the event of the death of the developer.
On August 4, the media reported that GitLab intends to change its platform usage policy and automatically delete repositories hosted under the free plan if there are no changes or updates for a year. Allegedly, such inactive free projects account for up to a quarter of GitLab hosting costs, and their removal can save the platform up to $ 1 million per year, which can positively affect the financial situation of GitLab.
After this information, representatives of the developer community stated that such a GitLab policy could lead to the disappearance of projects before users have the opportunity to archive the code they rely on. Since the platform hosts many open source projects that are widely used as a dependency in other projects around the world, experts have concerns that this decision could have significant negative consequences. Developers have no understanding of the term "inactive repository", because in some, if not many cases, this happens when the author has achieved the necessary perfection in the project code and does not want to change it. And now the developers will have to deliberately make edits to the project so that it is not deleted.
In January 2021, GitLab announced an update to its subscription model. The company dropped the $4/month Bronze/Starter package. GitLab now offers three tiers: Free, Premium, and Ultimate (without "Silver/Premium" and "Gold/Ultimate").