Public FOSS Repositories

The recent acquisition of open source platform GitHub by the notorious company Microsoft has caused a lot of unrest among the open source community. Fortunately there are alternatives like GitLab and SourceForge, but those could also be acquired by companies with a disputable reputation at some point in the future.

We believe that governments should encourage the use of free and open source software and should provide funding to critical open source projects. A simple and relatively inexpensive method to stimulate FOSS projects, would be for a government to set up its own code repository platform.

The main benefit of this proposal is that since the government has no profit motive, there will be less temptation to sell the platform to the highest bidder. Also it will strengthen the government’s commitment to free and open source software.

One potential concern with a government-owned FOSS platform is unfair competition. However, this could be countered by limiting the scope of such a platform to public repositories only and leave private repositories to commercial businesses.