Open source projects need to migrate their code away from github NOW!

Published on 2021-07-21. Modified on 2021-07-29.

If you're writing any kind of open source code and storing it on GitHub, you need to move it away from the platform NOW!

I have previously written that important open source projects should not use GitHub, but with the launch of GitHub Copilot this has become so much more important.

GitHub Copilot is an AI that is being trained on the publicly available source code and texts in the GitHub repositories. The AI produces code suggestions to programmers in real time. While the FOSS communities generally share code for the benefit of all, Microsoft's Copilot model creates code that is a derivative of FOSS code hosted on GitHub. Some people may argue that training a machine learning model is "fair use", but you cannot simply copy and paste a rather large portion of a file and not call it a derivative work.

It may be that in some countries a derivative work in copyright law means something completely different, and I am sure that the lawyers at Microsoft have made sure that nobody can touch them on any legal grounds, but that is not the issue. FOSS projects originally stored their code on GitHub in order to share code and cooperate with other open source enthusiasts, not in order for Microsoft to develop an AI model based upon this code - regardless of license.

So Microsoft waged a war against FOSS in the 1990's and 2000's, then they changed their business tactics and pretended to be "friendly" and all the young people fell into the trap, and now they have just scrapped all your open source code which they plan to charge people for once they have finished training their Copilot AI.

What's next? GitHub Autopilot - Now you no longer need programmers! At Microsoft we write all your code for you for your next project!

FOSS people, wake up! Let's follow the example with the Freenode takeover and migrate all open source code away from GitHub.

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