While polling other contributors (I proposed moving to gitlab.com), someone suggested moving to Sourcehut, a newish git hosting platform written and maintained by Drew DeVault. I've been following Drew's work for a while now and although I had read a few blog posts on Sourcehut's development, I had never really considered giving it a try. So I did!
Sourcehut is still in alpha and I'm expecting a lot of things to change in the future, but here's my quick review.
Things I like
Sourcehut is 100% Free Software. Github is proprietary and I dislike Gitlab's Open Core business model.
Sourcehut's business model also seems sustainable to me, as it relies on people paying a monthly fee for the service. You'll need to pay if you want your code hosted on https://sr.ht once Sourcehut moves into beta. As I've written previously, I like that a lot.
In comparison, Gitlab is mainly funded by venture capital and I'm afraid of the long term repercussions this choice will have.
Continuous Integration is very important to me and I'm happy to say Sourcehut's CI is pretty good! Like Travis and Gitlab CI, you declare what needs to happen in a YAML file. The CI uses real virtual machines backed by QEMU, so you can run many different distros and CPU archs!
Even nicer, you can actually SSH into a failed CI job to debug things. In comparison, Gitlab CI's Interactive Web Terminal is ... web based and thus not as nice. Worse, it seems it's still somewhat buggy as Gitlab still hasn't enabled it on their gitlab.com instance.
Here's what the instructions to SSH into the CI look like when a job fails:
This build job failed. You may log into the failed build environment within 10 minutes to examine the results with the following command: ssh -t firstname.lastname@example.org connect NUMBER
Sourcehut's CI is not as feature-rich or as flexible as Gitlab CI, but I feel it is more powerful then Gitlab CI's default docker executor. Folks that run integration tests or more complicated setups where Docker fails should definitely give it a try.
From the few tests I did, Sourcehut's CI is also pretty quick (it's definitely faster than Travis or Gitlab CI).
Things I dislike
I'm not sure I like the way features (the issue tracker, the CI builds, the git repository, the wikis, etc.) are subdivided in different subdomains.
For example, when you create a git repository on
git.sr.ht, you only get a git
repository. If you want an issue tracker for that git repository, you have to
create one at
todo.sr.ht with the same name. That issue tracker isn't visible
from the git repository web interface.
That's the same for all the features. For example, you don't see the build status of a merged commit when you look at it. This design choice makes you feel like the different features aren't integrated to one another.
In comparison, Gitlab and Github use a more "centralised" approach: everything is centered around a central interface (your git repository) and it feels more natural to me.
I haven't seen a way to search
sr.ht for things hosted there. That makes it
hard to find repositories, issues or even the Sourcehut source code!
Merge Request workflow
I'm a sucker for the Merge Request workflow. I really like to have a big green
button I can click on to merge things. I know some people prefer a more manual
workflow that uses
git merge and stuff, but I find that tiresome.
Sourcehut chose a workflow based on sending patches by email. It's neat since you can submit code without having an account. Sourcehut also provides mailing lists for projects, so people can send patches to a central place.
I find that workflow harder to work with, since to me it makes it more difficult to see what patches have been submitted. It also makes the review process more tedious, since the CI isn't ran automatically on email patches.
All in all, I don't think I'll be moving ISBG to Sourcehut (yet?). At the moment it doesn't quite feel as ready as I'd want it to be, and that's OK. Most of the things I disliked about the service can be fixed by some UI work and I'm sure people are already working on it.
Github was bought by MS for 7.5 billion USD and Gitlab is currently valued at 2.7 billion USD. It's not really fair to ask Sourcehut to fully compete just yet :)
With Sourcehut, Drew DeVault is fighting the good fight and I wish him the most resounding success. Who knows, maybe I'll really migrate to it in a few years!