back to article GitLab plans to delete dormant projects in free accounts

GitLab plans to automatically delete projects if they've been inactive for a year and are owned by users of its free tier. The Register has learned that such projects account for up to a quarter of GitLab's hosting costs, and that the auto-deletion of projects could save the cloudy coding collaboration service up to $1 million …

  1. sreynolds

    There is no such thing as free....

    You always end up paying - either with your privacy or cash or both.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "absolutely wild"

      Is to believe someone else will pay for you for ever....

      Anyway anybody if free to setup a wholly free - for ever - solution built on open source software, open source hardware, open source buildings, open source power, open source cooling, etc. etc. ....

      1. unisko

        Re: "absolutely wild"

        I stand by the GitLab, the guy who thinks "absolutely wild" never knows that it's not only the code need space to store behind git repository, the commits need a lot of space! And event the mature projects also active.

  2. Scott 26

    something something microsoft

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Nothing to do with Microsoft, they own GitHub instead.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It was probably the meaning of the post - no way to bash Microsoft or Windows for this....

        1. cyberdemon Silver badge

          Well, except for running GitHub at a loss, so that alternatives like GitLab struggle to compete..

          Standard monopolistic practices.. Microsoft basically wrote the book on it.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            There's a reason why those who made GitHub sold it to Microsoft. GitLab can sell itself to Google? After all Google too runs things like GMail "at a loss".

            Also you mean Linux is successful because it is delivered "at a loss", and you can't compete with "free"?

            "Microsoft basically wrote the book on it."

            Oh no, they were already old stuff when Gates used them. There's a reason the Sherman Act was written in the XIX century.,.

            1. The Indomitable Gall

              There's a difference between someone throwing money at something to keep the price down and people working for free.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                "and people working for free"

                Who is working for free? Torvalds? Most of the key people working on the Linux kernel are paid for it - by companies who need to keep the OS price down to avoid to invest much more in developing a whole one themselves or paying licenses to someone else.

                Then there are those who are exploited by those same companies and really work for free to ensure those companies can make boatloads of money using a "free" OS to deliver the services they make money from.

          2. FIA Silver badge

            This concerns users of the free tier. How would they compete? How would MS not owning Github reduce their hosting costs?

            (I suppose the MS induced migration may have some effect).

            Pay for your repository hosting and your problem goes away.

      2. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        Well, that depends on how you look at it. Corporations like Microsoft have armies of creative accountants and offshore structures on tap, which means they have lower tax burden than small and medium business and effectively they can gain competitive advantage by being able to afford hosting free tier accounts.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        > they own GitHub instead

        It made me chuckle anyway. Whether the confusion was intentional or not is part of why it's funny. :)

      4. Scott 26

        Sorry - my bad, I mis-RTFA - read 'github' for 'gitlab'

    2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Maybe github could offer gitlab to transfer them over to github, so that the latter can slurp the code for Copilot

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Software gets written and then it’s done. When you get to a point of perfection, does that make it inactive?"

    'done' ? 'perfection' ?!? Ha ha ha Ha ha!

    1. rfrazier

      Almost every day I use a program which hasn't changed since 2009. It is gnuit (GNU Interactive Tools), a console file manager (plus other goodies). I wouldn't be surprised if there are no more changes to it. Perfect? Probably not. Good thing it isn't hosted on GitLab. (Not that I often download it. Just when installing a new system.)

      Best wishes,


    2. An_Old_Dog Silver badge


      For small projects which don't develop featuritis, yes, perfection (or plenty-good-enough stasis) can happen.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Why change?

      I know a company using code written in 1988 for running much of their accounts system.

      If it ain't broke, why fix it?

      Modern software gets fiddled with way too much. Constantly rearranging a GUI for no reason at all may be fun for a designer but a headache for people getting work done.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Why change?

        I know a company using code written in 1988 for running much of their accounts system.

        Presumably the much of their accounts system is flexible and allows its users to reconfigure it to adapt to changing regulatory and tax etc. A lot of companies don't have users with that product knowledge and rely on support backup from the software vendor.

      2. Sgt_Oddball

        Re: Why change?

        Good for you. I've worked for a company where using an old database became the issue. Nothing wrong (well.... That's debatable) with the rest at the time - it mostly worked. But when it hit a 1GB data limit, things got painful to manage. Even more so when 1GB of transactions occurred within a financial year.

      3. FIA Silver badge

        Re: Why change?

        I know a company using code written in 1988 for running much of their accounts system.

        This is something I try and explain to young developers. It's fine to want to use the latest and greatest all the time, and you should always be aware of these things.

        However, most software development isn't the cool new mobile app, for most of us, it's something business related, either as an internal system or software used by businesses.

        The reality is, unless you fuck up badly the systems most of us work on will (and should) last for many many years. This means by definition even the thing built with the latest and greatest will at some point become old hat, and still require maintenance.

        You simply can't re-write entire systems continuously.

        But, if you design and implement systems considering this, you might write maintainable systems, and that's the key.

        If it ain't broke, why fix it?

        Or, if it's fit for purpose, why re-write it.

        I'm currently working on webifying a piece of software with some code that goes back to the early 90s. It's financial, so requires yearly updates to keep up with the law, it would be unfeasable to re-write it from scratch; however by the time we've finished webifying it and putting it in the cloud there won't be any 90s era code left.

        This process has been going on for 3 years, and I reckon there's another 4-5 years until we can stop supporting the existing codebase. (This work is in parallel with existing feature development and work, as it's still a living product).

        However, at the end we should have a web version of a product that can trace it's lineage back to a DOS era program, and with customers who will have been using it continuously since then.

    4. Sgt_Oddball


      Suddenly - things move on. Dependencies break, change functionality or become unavailable.

      Code that's perfect now, will jot be guaranteed to stay that way. Especially with new operating systems, security patches, browsers etc, etc coming out all the time.

      1. The Indomitable Gall

        Re: Until...

        Perhaps, but it doesn't break once a year, and their time limit here is 12 months.

        Furthermore, if you're working in a relatively high-level language that's abstracted away inside another environment (eg JavaScript, Python) then version compatibility problems are mostly a matter for the maintainers of the environment, not individual projects.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Until...

        Yes, some things change, some do not. Deleting old code is like deleting history that the future can learn from. Just because the code is incompatible doesn't mean the logic and algorithms need to be re-developed over and over again, wasting time and resources.

  4. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "projects disappear before users have the chance to archive code on which they rely"

    And ?

    Maybe that'll finally teach them to have their code on their production servers and not download it on the fly as they continue to do now.

    Bandwidth costs are not an excuse to avoid securing your production server.

  5. Philip Storry

    A year seems a bit too low... Three years maybe?

    On the one hand I see where GitLab is coming from. Inactive projects can be a risk to the general software ecosystem, so this could be seen as a good move.

    But in my experience working for larger companies, there's no agility there. The idea that anything gets updated to a later version more than every few years is laughable. So a one year timeout is useless.

    Even in personal computing, it's only Macs that get yearly software updates. Most Linux distros (rolling ones excepted) ship a new update every two years or so at best. So if I'm using one of these projects and it doesn't work on the latest version of Python, how am I going to know before the project's repo gets pulled? I have literally no chance of finding out and reporting it, which leaves the developer in a very poor position.

    And before someone says "Well, they could always just make a change every year" - really? An unnecessary change just to keep the repo open? Time flies past, a year can feel like the blink of an eye. And if the developer regards the project as complete - or has just moved on to another personal project - a year could easily feel like a month for that project.

    After a few years and a few projects, this will become quite a hassle.

    Frankly, a year feels way too low. Three years feels more reasonable, given the cadence of software development these days.

    (As an aside, I was evaluating GitLab and GitHub for deployment at my work. I'd already picked GitHub, but it was very close and this does nothing to make me think I was wrong.)

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: A year seems a bit too low... Three years maybe?

      Time for a 6 month cron job just the append "bump (c) $date" to a README file and 'git push' ?

      1. omBratteng

        Re: A year seems a bit too low... Three years maybe?

        Or just; git commit --allow-empty -m "bump $date"

        And push it

      2. The Indomitable Gall

        Re: A year seems a bit too low... Three years maybe?

        Please supply a link to the GitLab repo for this highly useful project.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          Re: A year seems a bit too low... Three years maybe?

          > Please supply a link to the GitLab repo for this highly useful project.

          It's only a one-liner - just 'host' it here in El Reg's comments. They won't mind!

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A year seems a bit too low... Three years maybe?

        For that automation you need to use an unencrypted key to login to Gitlab. There are disadvantages to that, especially for a key used only one a year.

        Also, you probably should that script at least once a year - which ironically obviates the need for automation.

    2. Warm Braw

      Re: A year seems a bit too low... Three years maybe?

      Inactive projects can be a risk

      Heedless use of random code is a risk regardless of origin or maintenance status.

    3. VoiceOfTruth

      Re: A year seems a bit too low... Three years maybe?

      So what is stopping you creating something like GitLab, reaching into your pocket to absorb the costs for the next three years? It's called putting your money where your mouth is.

      1. Graham Cobb Silver badge

        Re: A year seems a bit too low... Three years maybe?

        What is stopping me is "something like GitLab" needs much more than just the archive. I have no desire to go into competition with GitLab.

        However, I find it hard to believe that even a large number of dormant projects are costing them much money - I don't believe disk space, particularly for highly compressed dormant projects, is likely a significant cost for them.

        I would be happy to reach into my project to contribute to something like to add git support to allow it to archive all the Internet's freely available git repositories.

        1. Graham Cobb Silver badge

          Re: A year seems a bit too low... Three years maybe?

          can't type today, it seems... "...reach into my pocket..."

        2. VoiceOfTruth

          Re: A year seems a bit too low... Three years maybe?

          It doesn't matter whether it costs GitLab £1 or £1,000,000. There is still a cost to it. If you are not paying for it, why do you expect somebody else to?

          1. The Indomitable Gall

            Re: A year seems a bit too low... Three years maybe?

            It was their choice in the first place.

            I always felt freemium was a rug just waiting to be pulled, but that doesn't make it any less problematic when it happens.

            1. VoiceOfTruth

              Re: A year seems a bit too low... Three years maybe?

              I agree that's what they chose to do. And why is it such a big thing if they want to change a service which is offered for free?

              You get what you pay for. If you pay nothing, expect nothing.

          2. Graham Cobb Silver badge

            Re: A year seems a bit too low... Three years maybe?

            I expect them to do so, or to lose users. For modern companies, the network effects of having lots of users are an important part of their business plan, even if many of those users are not paying. If GitLab don't want to be regarded as one of the Internet's main locations for code that is, of course, their choice.

            Basically - if they don't want to offer free accounts that is their choice. If they do want to offer free accounts then they shouldn't whinge.

            1. VoiceOfTruth

              Re: A year seems a bit too low... Three years maybe?

              -> I expect them to do so, or to lose users.

              In business, losing non-paying customers is a good thing. Before you just write "free accounts" remember these are dormant free accounts. They are just sitting there.

              1. Richard 12 Silver badge

                Re: A year seems a bit too low... Three years maybe?

                No, they're projects, not accounts.

                And they're not dormant. There are several libraries and utilities we use commercially that have not changed for several years - because they don't need to.

                Obviously we have our own mirrors, but there will be plenty of open-source (free!) projects that also rely on libraries or utilities that only need changes every two or three years. Or longer.

                And they will break if those dependencies vanish.

                For example, the "official" Python "artifactory" library on pypi was last updated in 2018, and the last issue or PR was in April 2021.

                There are alternatives, perhaps even better ones, but it works and plenty of projects rely on that bit of Python code.

                If it was hosted on Gitlab, they'd be about to kill it.

    4. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: A year seems a bit too low... Three years maybe?

      Other than increasing the time, maybe a better metric:

      * Project owner (and collaborative minions with admin level) have not committed anything to anything (including issues) during the same time period - so THEY are inactive, too.

      * Project has not been cloned nor downloaded in addition to that (maybe for a shorter period of time)

      * Project is not listed as a dependency for anything else that is 'still active'

      and maybe some provision for archiving it as a dependency within the projects that depend on it., as applicable (so they do not break).

      Then, only a project that is TRULY dead would fall off of the cliff and disappear, after a sufficiently long time, without doing any damage. Or, that's the theory. My guess is that this would be way less than 25%, though, and would not have the same financial bottom line effect of giving it "the chop" as the previous announcement might.

      (Sort of a compromise when nobody likes the outcome, but it is the only sensible solution)

    5. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

      Re: A year seems a bit too low... Three years maybe?

      I completely agree with Philip's core point, but for me a better approach would be to create a new "dormant" state, where the only options are to download the whole thing (possibly not instantaneously; perhaps you get a tarball of the repository within 24 hours or so)_or_ transfer it to a paid account!

      Have projects become dormant after 12 months, and then purge them after another year or two.

    6. FIA Silver badge

      Re: A year seems a bit too low... Three years maybe?

      If you're working with third party libraries in your product then you should have copies of those libraries locally; your build system should not be pulling from systems that aren't under your control.

      If you're working with third party open source software it's probably a good idea to grab the source code too.

      If you're not doing either of these things let this article be a wake up call. ;)

      (Finding you need to issue a hotfix and you can't build your production codebase is not a fun place to be in).

  6. wolfetone Silver badge

    I can see GitLab's point of view, because it's free it's seen as expendable. There's no jeopardy in creating a new repo and leaving it there for 3 years doing nothing to it. But like others have said, some code doesn't get chance to be updated every year.

    I suppose the only way around this is to spin your own GitLab on a VPS and have done with it. That's what I intend to do.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What's the VPS costs vs Gitlab sub cost?

    2. kafkaIncarnate

      I don't know, I would rather use a simpler and different git manager now. I don't trust the company to not go half under and the code to become unmaintained and deleted by the skeleton staff for not being active. /s That or everyone to not care and migrate to something else.

      This is why I'm glad I use local git first before hitting any of these services. I'm 100% done with all of them after migrating off GitHub to GitLab. I'll go back to standard gitweb.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Some things can be unchanging

    Years I did some XSL transforms for processing some XML based climate data.

    These (with a few tweaks added by others) became widely used and are essentially "complete".

    They will only need changing if the format of the XML data to be processed ever changes

    There is plenty of code that will only ever need changing if input data changes in some way (or, if the code is responsible for data output then if the required output format change, or data transfer method changes (as most things are a "file" in OS I mainly use then this data transfer method changes not typically a problem for underlying code but scripts that glue things together)

  8. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Desperate measures

    It's difficult to believe that dormant projects are responsible for 25% of hosting costs. The disk space is already paid for and, if nothing much is happening traffic costs should be negligible so potential savings we be low. The annoucement does suggest that they've got their sums wrong and have either overallocated for free accounts, or more likely, aren't getting enough paid accounts, in which case it's a bit like one of the appeals to use the photocopier less to save money, and the lights get switched off permanently a few months later.

    If resource allocation is wrong, the adjust it: reduce the number and size of repos per user.

    1. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: Desperate measures

      "The disk space is already paid for"

      So the disks are ROM now? What about all the back up space? The power to support the disks.

      As we don't have the info, the space required couple be hundreds of racks, just sitting there doing nothing.

    2. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

      Re: Desperate measures

      It's difficult to believe that dormant projects are responsible for 25% of hosting costs.

      That. I can understand everything has cost but that much? And even if it did I'd be inclined to say so what, suck it up.

      The worst part is "dormant" seems to only be defined in terms of being updated, not in terms of its usefulness to others, how often it is accessed.

      Let's hope our local libraries don't decide they can save a fortune by burning all the books which haven't seen updates in years.

      1. VoiceOfTruth

        Re: Desperate measures

        -> That. I can understand everything has cost but that much? And even if it did I'd be inclined to say so what, suck it up.

        That's really your opinion? Suck it up? I guess you have never run a business where 25% of "customers" don't pay and expect something for nothing. Try going to your local coffee shop and give them your brainwave: let every 1 in 4 customers get their coffee for free.

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge
          Thumb Down

          Re: Desperate measures

          GitLab offered free hosting and has already bought the equipment (mainly disk space) on which the project are held.

          1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

            Re: disk space

            Sadly hard drives don't last forever. There's been a few good articles on this topic recently on TheReg.

            Hosting costs too, plus there's labour costs in reviewing security and applying patches, plus electricity.

            Not defending GitLab, they should have realised from the get go that some of the stuff they host will be untouched for year's on end, yet the whole of the internet might be dependent on some of that code through ancestral linkages.

        2. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

          Re: Desperate measures

          That's really your opinion? Suck it up? I guess you have never run a business where 25% of "customers" don't pay and expect something for nothing.

          I do indeed run such a business and it's far more than 25% I host for free. But I wouldn't class my customers as expecting something for nothing; just taking advantage of what I am offering them for free.

          Most of what I host for users can be considered 'bit rot', sunk cost, but it serves a purpose, has value, is useful to the community I wish to attract - and, yes, make money from.

          To me that's an acceptable balance between philanthropy and sound business sense. "Free" is a part of my model and getting rid of the 'dead wood', as GitLab seems to perceive it to be, would actually harm my business.

          I don't see hosting for free as '"throwing money away" but securing the viability of my business while helping the community. I don't have maximising my profit as my goal. It's not all me, me, me.

      2. keithpeter Silver badge

        Re: Desperate measures

        "Let's hope our local libraries don't decide they can save a fortune by burning all the books which haven't seen updates in years."

        There is no cultural critic more ruthless than a librarian, or more populist. The librarian applies a brutally simple criterion: has this book been borrowed in the last year or two? No? Discard. Talis and Heritage both produce reports showing the long tail...

        So if you want to keep a repository available, I suppose you will have to open an issue saying simply 'this is useful' once a year. Cron job?

    3. Freddellmeister

      Re: Desperate measures

      Maybe the GitLab can agree with Web Archive/Wayback Machine to donate a frontend to off-load dormant code over there?


      I also fail to understand why "dormant" source code data would be expensive to maintan for GitLab. How do you attract project when there is a doubt about the longevity.

  9. cookieMonster Silver badge

    For personal projects

    I use ->

    Hosted on an old PC at home, works great.

    1. RedeemRed

      Re: For personal projects

      You can also get it to pull/sync your repos from elsewhere, which could certainly be useful in this case.

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: For personal projects

      Works great until github decide to clearout "inactive" user accounts - with only one transaction in the last year...

      1. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: For personal projects

        And then someone else creates a new project with the same name and uploads a malware-infected version of the software to it.

  10. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "Happy loyal free users become advocates of GitLab, which brings more users and strengthens our brand,

    And unhappy loyal free users?

  11. iron Silver badge

    License considerations

    Most open source licences require that the code be made available. If GitLab delete said code the original authors will be in violation of their own license.

    I wonder if there's a case to sue GitLab for aiding and abbetting license infringement?

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: License considerations

      Most open source licences require that the code be made available.

      That's only GPL and in such situations the source must be provided with the software: the requirement predates publically accessible repositories. Yes, even CVS.

      1. Ben Tasker

        Re: License considerations

        > That's only GPL and in such situations the source must be provided with the software: the requirement predates publically accessible repositories. Yes, even CVS.

        That's incorrect.

        GPL only requires that an offer of the source accompany the software

        > accompanied by a written offer, valid for at least three years and valid for as long as you offer spare parts or customer support for that product model, to give anyone who possesses the object code either (1) a copy of the Corresponding Source for all the software in the product that is covered by this License, on a durable physical medium customarily used for software interchange, for a price no more than your reasonable cost of physically performing this conveying of source, or (2) access to copy the Corresponding Source from a network server at no charge.

        So you absolutely can ship someone binaries and say "source is available at https//github/foo", or indeed "to request a copy of the source, contact foo"

        But, of course, this also means they wouldn't be in breach just because the repo got deleted (so long as they had a copy and could satisfy subsequent requests)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: License considerations

      1) Only GPL.

      2) If it's their OWN software, they can do what they want, unless it contains dependencies on other GPL stuff.

      3) The requirement is to make the source available "on request" - only if someone continues to distribute binaries and refuses to also release the source code would they be in breach.

      4) And specific to this case, or even in general: No! A third party is NEVER liable for someone elses responsibilities!

  12. Chris Evans

    Author not around to do changes!

    What about software that is usable by others but the author doesn't need to update, doesn't have the inclination any more or is isn't able to (Some authors will be ill or have died). If no changes AND no downloads for say three years then it might be appropriate. If you see no updates or comments for say six months when downloading something may be we should make a comment of Thanks.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Author not around to do changes!

      If software is that important to you, take a copy!

      You don't blindly depend on third party code that could be changed at any time, do you?

      1. Chris Evans

        Re: Author not around to do changes!

        There must be many people who use software from gitlab etc. who aren't programmers, just users, who wouldn't know what to download, how to do it or what to do with it if they did download it.

    2. Ben Tasker

      Re: Author not around to do changes!

      You can just create an issue titled "preventing deletion" - the creation of an issue is listed as one of the things that'll stop a project being marked dormant.

  13. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    What are the chances...

    What are the chances that embedded deep within GitLab's own systems is an essential piece of code that is hosted on their system on a free account?

    I suppose by the time they realise this might be years down the line.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What are the chances...

      Not a chance. No serious software blindly pulls in binary dependencies without keeping source copies around.

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: What are the chances...

        I find your faith in commercial development highly amusing.

        It's absolutely certain that there are bootstrap scripts with such dependencies, that are only run once in a blue baboon to bring up new systems.

        Thus everything works "just fine" until the A/C fails and they desperately need it to work... and it doesn't.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: What are the chances...

          .. then I'd argue that it's not serious!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What are the chances...

        Haha! Good one!

  14. werdsmith Silver badge

    I have an account with a hosting/online dev provider which is free and I have a half written project in there. I'm very proud of the project and I fully believe it will be worth finishing, and I will finish it. But not right now, because another project is in the way.

    That provider just requires that I log in and access my project once every three months to avoid their sweeper up process. I think that's fair enough, if people want to keep gitlab projects alive then use them.

  15. Howard Sway Silver badge

    Code hosting company believes code is worth less than disk space

    Gotta pull this out of date printf function - it's not been updated in years, so how can it be of any use to anybody?

    This darn networking stack code is taking up room that several useless calendar apps could be using!

  16. that one in the corner Silver badge

    Purely incidental that GitLab's stats will improve

    Just after the deadline clicks over, new ads for GitLab start to appear:

    "Every single GitLab hosted project shows activity! We only attract the most active and alert coders, not like the slackers you get infesting <name of competitor>. Come and join our fast-paced community."

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The problem is people equate "free" with

    "has no value".

    As a canny salesman explained to me once.

    If you give a client "free" training, then you have no leverage. If you give a client £1,000 training with -£1,000 discount applied, then you are in a much stringer bargaining position.

  18. Peter Mount

    Always keep a backup, cloud/remote sites can vanish

    Although unlikely Github would do the same thing I've been using gitea locally to keep a backup of all of my public repositories as it has a handy mirror mode which can keep itself in sync with anything pushed to the remote.

    It's also handy for local stuff I don't want public (like personal ansible scripts etc) or stuff not yet ready to be made public.

    I remember a similar issue when Sun's code hosting Kenai went offline after Oracle bought them.

  19. VoiceOfTruth

    Lack of brains?

    -> some in the wider GitLab community worry that the policy could see projects disappear before users have the chance to archive code on which they rely.

    You can download it. What is stopping you, except connecting your brain with your keyboard?

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: Lack of brains?

      But which?

      Sure, I can (and have) mirrored everything I use directly.

      But that's my direct dependencies. I can't see the dependencies my upstream has for their development, only the code so produced. If they - or something they rely on - loses a tool they rely on for development, then what?

  20. adam 40 Silver badge


    "A single comment, commit, or new issue posted to a project during a 12-month period will be sufficient to keep the project alive."

    Add in code pulls, and any project accesses. That would seem more reasonable.

  21. robinsonb5

    Not entirely unreasonable provided...

    ...the definition of "inactive" changes from "not updated" to "not checked out" - in other words, measure activity from a user- rather than developer-perspective.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And a quick look at Cruchbase shows..over $400M raised so far...Dot Com Alert..

    Which explains everything.

    Just another dot com scam company.

    Why exactly you need $400M plus for a glorified file hosting company when back in the good old days (pre dot com VC scams) you could build out a half billion dollar revenue company with 15% plus net profit margin in 5 years for a total VC investment of less that $30M.. You know, legitimate tech companies that actually made money by producing products that customer bought.

    But no surprises here as companies like Gitlabs were never anything more than financial engineering exercises designed to make their annual 2% of the 2/20 business model for the VC's. Because the 20 never ever happens, 98% plus of the time.

    A nice little earner for doing nothing productive.

  23. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge


    Savings of up to $1 million a year, which most likely will be claimed by some exec bragging that he saved the company a bundle.

    The net effect will be a world of hurt, where some crucial open-source project is accidentally deleted and people have to scramble to recreate the source code from bits and pieces lying around.

    All this simply isn't worth it!!!

  24. Ben 56

    Hold my beer

    ...while I set up a gitlab project to commit whitespace to project, then delete the commit, periodically, and perhaps even link it into the gitlabci of my in-progress projects...

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: Hold my beer

      Better to commit some entropy.

      1. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge

        Re: Hold my beer

        That too isn't worth the paper it's written on. So now thousands of developers have to spend hours figuring out how to circumvent these measures so one company can save a $1 million?

  25. Anonymous Coward

    I shudder to think

    That the only viable solution might be for Microsoft to create a GitOld repository for inactive projects.

  26. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

    fork it

    I predict net negative savings when $HIGHLY_USEFUL_PROJECT at 364 days of inactivity gets cloned and relinked by _every_ project that links to it.

  27. tekHedd

    Another Chore

    I'd expect more Reg readers to actually be the owners of free-tier gitlab repos. Sure I can move them elsewhere and/or set up a gitea mirror clone etc but who has time?

    Who has time?

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    as I see it, devs have uploaded their work onto machines bought and paid for by someone else, and then hosted for free.

    And they are now pissed off because they have been given a year to do something with it or it will be deleted?

    So they have danced to the music and now have to pay to the piper.

    Why not just pay for the service, or download it or move it somewhere else?


  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I had been wondering…

    …in which ways GitLab was going to suck when it went public.

    I paid a personal subscription for a while even though I never used any of the extra stuff. Then they got rid of the $5 tier and suddenly I thought $20 or whatever it is that they charge was a bit excessive.

    They should reconsider the $5 tier.

  30. Snowy Silver badge

    Rome meet fire and Violin.

    In the last twelve months Gross Revenue was 256,7M, Operating Expense 402.5M making a Operating Income of -145.8M.

    Taking 1Million off costs is going to do about nothing at all.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Rome meet fire and Violin.

      I presume they're hoping that a decent number of users will re-evaluate their usage and switch to a paid account. The number that do switch will tell them if there is any hope of making the business viable or not.

    2. Mnot Paranoid

      Re: Rome meet fire and Violin.

      I literally came here directly to post

      Github deleted whilst Rome burned.

  31. Blackjack Silver badge

    There goes a bunch of free stuff I found useful.

  32. beekir

    Such A Weird Move

    Given the opportunity to present themselves as the truly open platform that could be THE place to host and share open source software, they somehow come off greasier than the popular closed source Microsoft owned alternative.

    Sometimes you look at these situations and find nobody to cheer for.

  33. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    Some MBA moron most likely decided this.

  34. Missing Semicolon Silver badge


    When that died, there were a myriad of tiny sites with information on old stuff. Ok, not massively useful, but a lot of meticulously-created information vanished.

    I am sure that some of these repos are simply "places where information lives".

  35. roeltz

    I remember they were super happy of welcoming those paranoid users from GitHub that wanted to flee the platform after the Microsoft acquisition. Now they complain about server costs?

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