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I've noticed that one rather well-known open source project (which I won't name so that noone focuses too much on that specific project) offers sources for download as a .zip via FTP instead of having them on GitHub.

To me looks like GitHub would be more convenient.

  1. It's free for open source projects
  2. It has change history and many other perks of a version control system
  3. If I want to change something I can just fork-change and then make a pull request instead of writing a long email explaining what to change in which file

That's just what I could think of in one minute.

Now what problems are there with Github that would make me prefer shipping sources as an archive via FTP?

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closed as not constructive by Graham Lee, Martijn Pieters, Walter, Glenn Nelson, Eric King Feb 4 '13 at 15:48

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Are you sure they offer ONLY zip downloads? It is not unheard of to offer version controlled code for developers and stable release zips for users to compile. –  Karthik T Feb 4 '13 at 10:15
@KarthikT: No idea, but I can't see any reasons to conseal the currently developed code. –  sharptooth Feb 4 '13 at 10:23
@sharptooth: 1) you do not want people to see how much time it took you to do something; 2) you do not want people to see how embarrassing your code used to be; 3) you do not want people to see your commit comment full of profanities that you wrote when you were particularly frustrated. I guess it all depends on your preferred level of "exhibitionism". –  Den Feb 4 '13 at 10:28
so you don't share your derps –  ratchet freak Feb 4 '13 at 10:33
A lot of people really, really don't like using git. –  Carson63000 Feb 4 '13 at 10:56

2 Answers 2

What about the opposite question? Why should I host the source code on Github? (or Bitbucket, sourceforge, or ...)

If you are working on an open-source project, and you would like everybody around the world to contribute to the project, a platform such as Github as awesome.

But maybe the reason for keeping the product open source is not so much that you want others to contribute. It could simply be a product that you have created yourself, but you are just making the source code available for those interested. And if that was the case, why should you host it on Github?

Licensing issues could also be a hindrance for receiving contributions from others. Perhaps the product is licensed under a strict license, and when getting contributions, you see it as a hassle in making sure that those contributions are compatible with the license. AFAIK, this a problem with applications being submitted to the Mac AppStore.

Also, as @linkerro points out in his comment, the developers may simply not be familiar with, or comfortable with Github, or DVCS in general. It is after all a relatively new technology.

You are talking about Github as it is the natural place to place an open-source project. But it is merely one option. It is a tool. And you should pick tools to solve problems. Not adjust problems to fit tools.

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There's also the fact that GitHub is relatively new for some old-school OSS developers. Just sayin'. –  linkerro Feb 4 '13 at 11:12
+1 "But it is merely one option. It is a tool. And you should pick tools to solve problems." –  Michael Shaw Feb 4 '13 at 14:40
@linkerro, excelent point, I added that to the answer. –  Pete Feb 4 '13 at 15:15

Unrelated to Github

  • Open sources does not mean open history


  • Github isn't single Git-hosting in Net (and not best Git-hosting, BTW)
  • Author may have sources in unsupported by Github SCM (there are different alternatives to Git in the world)
  • Github's additional tools are rather weak
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what are the other, perhaps better, alternatives to Github? –  Sundeep Feb 4 '13 at 15:50
@Sundeep - from my POV they can be: BitBucket (support for Git and Mercurial, private-repo policy) or Assembla (Assembla Portfolio, tools set, size of user-space) –  Lazy Badger Feb 4 '13 at 21:52
Thanks! I use Github, I will give BitBucket and Assembla a try –  Sundeep Feb 5 '13 at 10:35

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