Why use Github, why not use Savannah, others, or self-host?

Other than momentum or dislike of change, why are so many “free software” apps still developed on Github, ~2.5 years after it was owned by microsoft? Why not on (less than impartial) “A” grade Git hosting like Savannah, or on self-hosted arguably more “free” systems like redmine and git, as Privacy Browser (and Replicant) do, or Gitlab, or Codeberg, or anything else?

Why isn’t “developed on non-free systems” an anti-feature?

Because of this, I’ve already decided to uninstall Flym in favor of Feeder, and disable or uninstall a few others - Phyphox, Planisphere, QR Scanner, Simple Draw, Survival Manual, Vanilla Music, and Wifi Analyzer. There are several more on my chopping block, sadly - AntennaPod, Conversations, DejaVu, Editor by BilltheFarmer, Etar, OsmAnd, Orbot, Simple Gallery (OMG!).

Thanks in advance for any explanations.


why are so many “free software” apps still developed on Github

Primary reason to use GitHub is friction.
Lots of people have GitHub accounts making it a very low barrier for contributors.

Many of the projects you list are mirrored onto other services, such as GitLab.

Self-hosting a Git service is a job of its own and many of us making free software don’t have the time/patience to maintain yet another thing.
Things like keeping the server up-to-date and spam prevention.
You either have to manually approve accounts (preventing people from contributing) or you have to deal with toxic waste when people start uploading not nice things.
Not to mention cost of the machine itself.

For the other smaller hosts, you might not want to depend on them because eg. they might disappear at any moment. Granted, at the same time GitHub/GitLab can ban you at any moment too. :upside_down_face:

Because of this, I’ve already decided to uninstall

That is a very slippery slope.
I personally think that doing so is quite silly. :stuck_out_tongue:


That’s not what you’d like to hear when you mention using F-Droid to someone, right?



Fair point.

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I agree that using centralized or proprietary services for development/code hosting is a concern, but it is a concern only for those developing or contributing to the software. F-Droid uses git, which is libre/open, to pull the source code from the provider, and the user of the software is completely detached from which services the developers choose to host the code on.


For the resulting application, it does not really matter where the source code is hosted. The apps are still open-source. Because of the way git works (think “blockchain”), GitHub can not mess with the code.

Following your reasoning about the git hosting provider, you would also need to uninstall apps when the developers use Windows on their machines…


Thanks for the answers. There are always others who are even more strict or pure, such as by disliking gitlab, or even not wanting to use F-droid because of some degree of lack of respect for FSF guidelines. Everyone draws their own lines.


Many of the projects you list are mirrored onto other services, such as GitLab.

That is somewhat helpful to observe, thanks. I looked at F-droid links to Issues and Sources for each app. Even kernel sources are mirrored to github, but that is not where the work is done, IIUC.


it does not really matter where the source code is hosted.
you would also need to uninstall apps when the developers use Windows on their machines…


the user of the software is completely detached from which services the developers choose to host the code on.

At risk of being accused of trolling again, I disagree. To some people the details matter. Users support projects and apps and their infrastructure by voting with their precious gold donations, or bug reports, or PRs, or personal tracking information when interacting with “free only as in free beer” sites, like github. Personally, I feel sick on rare times I create accounts or login to github, or gitlab. YMMV.

If I knew a developer preferred windows, or supported google, or also developed proprietary apps, for examples, they would be much less likely to get my gold, time or respect, FWIW. Their personal use of windows, however, would have no direct impact on app users, even when filing bug reports, etc.

I’m still curious - does anyone know why there are so few android apps on Savannah?

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does anyone know why there are so few android apps on Savannah?


Hi, I’m an Android app, and I’ll explain why I used GitHub. It is exactly what @SkewedZeppelin said: friction.

I have tried before to host stuff on both GitHub and NotABug for example. But I never got contributors on NotABug. Always only on GitHub. And writing apps, even though it’s a hobby, can be hard work. I don’t want to deal with having to do more of the hard parts all by myself because people are on another platform. And hosting it on two places just makes life harder because now I no longer have one overview of all the issues but they’re scattered on two different places. It makes development harder.

I’ll never force anyone to use GitHub though, I’ve accepted patches sent to my through e-mail before for example.


another reason is that savannah has a terrible user experience.

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slippery slope

Destination, non-Android phones, with fewer non-free binaries. :smiley:

So the Savannah requirements say,

"Regarding Android phones

“Projects running on Replicant may be hosted on Savannah. Projects having dependencies on nonfree software, such as proprietary software drivers or AndroidOS, are not permissible.”

Or, Runs on Replicant.

So, nothing using GPS. Few using Camera. Nothing using WiFi. Few using Bluetooth. Yes, this does reduce the number of eligible apps, without even considering site user experience.


It makes development harder.

It almost seems like that’s a purpose of F/LOSS.

The purpose of free software (I don’t care about “open source,” “FOSS,” or “FLOSS”) is to enable users to have control over their computing.


Literally no app on F-Droid has a direct dependency on specific proprietary device drivers (as opposed to general device functionality like “camera” or “wifi”) so that provision does not apply. In fact I would imagine the majority of apps on F-Droid would be welcome on Savannah and also meet the GNU FSDG (which Replicant abides by), with the exception of specific apps like Aurora Store.

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Try convincing a non-fanatic that disabling camera, GPS, wifi and Bluetooth on their old smartphone, by installing Replicant, gives them more control or freedom.

From experience, it’s not easy, but battery life is much improved, and you almost forget how bad the pictures were with that old camera. Android 6 wasn’t really too bad either.

Then tell them it’s OK for developers to use proprietary tools, because it makes their life easier…

Sounds inconsistent, but thanks for the handcuffs freedom. :smiley:

There’s one way to find out if Savannah would take F-droid apps, but if so, it would require developers being more… in control and free. :smiley:

With f-droid being the (so far) easiest way for me to even begin to “de-Google” myself (yuck, spit, that “G” word, lol) and gain easy access to free GNU software is just amazing.

I don’t see f-droid having the funds to self host although if I was a billionaire by chancr, it sure would be :money_mouth_face::grin::grin:

But GitHub isn’t as pure as self-hosting would be but some great FOSS software is available thanks to its design by Linus Torvaldis of which we mostly use the kernel from??

Is Savannah totally “clean”? Im new so not sure!

Anyway, my first post as I just joined less than an hour ago, greetings and best wishes to all, thanks for having me :wink::nerd_face::+1:

Linus Torvalds uses git hosted at kernel dot org, although it gets mirrored elsewhere, IIUC.

I would suggest Gitea as it really don’t need much ressources. It is totally community-driven without google, etc.

Codebetg.org is a non-pofit org that host a public gitea. Many users already found it as a alternative plaform for their projects.

Sorry for correcting, but @fossdd means https://codeberg.org/. :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

I guess the only things preventing F-Droid from moving to Codeberg are

  • No CI/CD and
  • Fewer users than GitLab.

Oh yeah of course. You’re right, the missing CI is the biggest issue. the GitLab CI does so much for us, rewriting this would require time. Plus write a CI. Also does GitLab offer to host “to-HTML-builded” files which will builded insidea CI job.

But maybe is the work worth. Codeberg and the community offer so muh more, also cause it is simply a non-profit.

23/03/2021, 17:10 por forum@f-droid.org:

You are one of the most principled men that I think that I have ever met on a forum “justsomeguy.” I, too, get sick when logging on to that ole grubby, money-loving github, as I often find myself dashing to the little white thrown and have one heck of a good blow out. Peew weee.

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