Apache hooks up with GitHub

The Apache Software Foundation has completed its Infrastructure support expansion by migrating its Git service to GitHub.

How GitHub became the de facto automated supply chain for software GitHub is an example of a web service that absorbs the function of an entire industry's supply chain, but it took a few versions for it to become the software we now know and use.

The Apache Software Foundation (ASF), one of the granddaddies of open-source software, is joining forces with GitHub, one of the newer, arguably most important source-code repository hosting services. The ASF's 200M+ lines of code are now alive and well on GitHub.

Historically, Apache projects had two version control services: Apache Subversion and Git. Over the years, more and more developers wanted to see their source code available on GitHub. Why? For the same reason millions of other programmers have embraced GitHub: GitHub makes it easier for developers to work together on hosting and reviewing code; managing projects, and build software.

"In 2016," explained Greg Stein, ASF infrastructure administrator, "the Foundation started integrating GitHub's repository and tooling with our own services. This enabled selected projects to use GitHub's excellent tools. Over time, we improved, debugged, and solidified this integration. In late 2018, we asked all projects to move away from our internal git service, to that provided by GitHub. This shift brought all of their tooling to our projects, while we maintain a backup mirror on our infrastructure."

In February 2019, the GitHub migration was done, and ASF's own git service was decommissioned. The work isn't done yet, "We continue to experiment and expand the set of services that GitHub can provide to our communities, given our own needs and requirements," Stein added. "The Foundation has started working closely with GitHub management to explore ways to make this happen, and what will be possible in the future."


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On GitHub's side, Bryan Clark, GitHub's director of product, blogged: "We've been working with Apache to meet their needs and better support open source projects doing important work. We're grateful to have such an impactful foundation migrate and grow directly on GitHub. With this transition completed, Apache can focus on building software and their community."

While Apache "officially supports the use of Github," added Jim Jagielski in an online conversation, "That does not mean it is our 'official' repo."

Not everyone is charmed by this move. Over on Ycombinator, one critic sniped, "It confuses me why so many traditionally pro-FOSS projects move to a not-free-nor-open tool like GitHub." While GitHub is free to use and hosts many open-source programs. Some people still aren't happy that Microsoft now owns GitHub.

Another more pragmatic developer replied, "Personally I would be hard pressed to bother contributing to a project not on GitHub at this point. There is a certain workflow and interaction model that GitHub projects use that non-GitHub ones do not and it is simply not worth the time investment to learn those other projects."

I can see both viewpoints -- and I confess a few years ago I never would have dreamed of seeing Apache creating software on a platform owned by Microsoft. That said, ASF clearly no longer sees Microsoft as The Evil Empire.