The online service for hosting repositories, remote management of them and other development tasks GitLab intends to change the policy of using the platform and automatically delete the repositories of free hosted projects if there is no activity from developers for twelve months.
See also: Best Python online courses for 2022
The Register publication reported that GitLab has not yet announced a change in the rules, but the document has already been almost agreed within the company and is at the stage of final discussion. The updated policy is expected to come into effect as early as September this year.
Sources told the media that such inactive free projects account for up to a quarter of GitLab hosting costs, and removing them could save the platform up to $1 million a year, which could have a positive impact on GitLab's financial situation.
Anonymous insiders explained that GitLab is aware of the possibility of "angry opposition" to this plan from developers. Therefore, the platform will warn users several times in a week and a month about this situation before deleting their developments. One comment, commit, or new issue posted to a project within twelve months will be enough to keep the project intact for some time to come.
The developer community is concerned that GitLab's policy could cause projects to disappear before users have a chance to zip 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.
Developer Jeff Huntley, an open source advocate and contributor to the open .Net community, called this GitLab policy "absolutely wild." “The source code doesn't take up much disk space. For someone to remove all this code is to destroy the community. They're going to destroy their brand and reputation," Huntley told Register.
According to Huntley, the 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's 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. Although GitLab could in this case not deal with automatic deletion, but archive such projects and leave them in read-only mode with the possibility of recovery.
The Register edition recalled that GitLab is promoting its free plan as a tool to attract customers and increase loyalty. But in the end, an increasing number of GitLab users, both for personal projects and for corporate use, after a while start buying a GitLab subscription.
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").