Why I will be moving my private source code repositories away from GitHub

In case you’ve been living under a rock, it was announced on Monday that Microsoft as acquired GitHub for $7.5 billion. For various reasons, this has upset open source developers around the world.

Since then there has been a lot of discussion online about the pros and cons of this event. While I do feel that a lot of the complaints are probably coming from a vocal minority who are decidedly anti Microsoft (no doubt angrily typing their responses on Apple products, the irony) I also agree that this is perhaps not the best news for the open source movement in general.

Personally I will be moving my private (and possibly later public) git repositories over to GitLab and I thought it might be interesting to share my reasons why, if for no other reason than they were referred to as ‘a far sight more measured than most of the opinions about this that I’ve seen so far!‘. I feel like the world could use more measured opinions about popular or unpopular topics in general, so here goes:

  1. GitLab is open source, nuff said!
  2. While I don’t disagree that Microsoft has, under the leadership of it’s current CEO Staya Nadella, done a lot to prove that it now supports open source, something that the company was vehemently against in previous years, I feel it’s important to note that this change has only happened since Nadella took over as CEO 2014. This means that the company shift is directly as a result of the mindset of it’s CEO and that CEO will not be in place forever. The next leader of the company may not share Nadella’s love of open source.
  3. Personally, I don’t like the fact that any large company is in control of the world’s largest open source, code hosting platform. Did Microsoft really have to acquire GitHub to help it grow and improve? I would have been more impressed if Nadella had simply become a member of the GitHub board of directors and helped raise capital in order to support and grow GitHub, instead of outright buying it. Interestingly, this is a path that Matt Mullenweg took with GitLab about a year ago.
  4. GitLab has some cool features that GitHub doesn’t built right in, like Continuous Integration & Deployment on the free plan right up to Epics, Roadmaps and License Management on the top pricing tiers. They really seem to be building a seamless, integrated product for modern software developers and I want to support them in this cause.

I was already paying GitHub $7 a month to host my private repositories, so switching to GitLab’s $4 a month pricing plan will be a nice little saving each month. Not that I have to, as GitLab, like BitBucket, supports private repositories on the free tier.

And yes, I do know that if you were a GitLab user when a member of their staff managed to delete a database by accident you probably weren’t happy with them and moved on. I’m willing to give them a second chance.

 

Are you doing what you want to be doing?

The Journey

I knew today was going to be a hard day.

This morning I made the official announcement that one of my passion projects, a Gracie Jiu Jitsu club I opened in 2014, would be closing down. I sent out an email to all members and parents informing them of the news, and then made that post public. I knew I would be letting some folks down and that I would find it hard to do so. What I didn’t expect was how it would affect me personally.

As I read the article which was the inspiration for the opening quote of that post, I found the emotions become too much for me to handle. As I wrote the post it happened again and each time I’ve read it I find my self feeling sad. It’s been a struggle to focus on work or anything else other than a few small tasks I’ll complete today.

The upside is that each time I see the quote, mostly commenting on the associated Facebook post, I am less sad about the choice I made. I am less sad because it was the right choice to make for me and my personal situation. Often the right choices are the hardest.

So why blog about it here? Well I’ve often in the past blogged about what’s happening in my personal life, mainly as a form of catharsis but also as a way to share the news with anyone who cares. I’m not someone who lives his life in the public space, but from the 1st of May I’ll no longer attach the title ‘Gracie Jiu Jitsu instructor’ and some might wonder why.

Mostly it’s about sharing the news on a platform I manage where I can put it out on social media for folks to find out and avoid any future ‘are you still running your club’ questions.

But I’ve also realised it has something to do with choices we make in life and in business, how this has really helped me understand that the right move at the wrong time, is the wrong move, and how this effects the path we follow when it comes to work and personal life.

If you’re sitting on the fence about a hard decision in your life, be it in your personal or business life, I speak from experience that to keep doing something well after your interest or passion for it has waned, just because you don’t want to let others down, is going to end up eating away at your soul. If you find yourself hating something, often it’s better to figure out how to remove yourself from that situation than to worry about how others may perceive your so-called ‘failure’.

Being able to get up every morning and know that whatever is ahead of you for that day is what you WANT to be doing, not what you HAVE to be doing, is worth all the money or fame in the world.

 

 

WP Hacker Cast – the official launch post.

About a year ago (literally, I got the domain renewal notification two days ago) I came up with a podcast idea.  I had just finished reading “Milestones – The Story of WordPress” and I thought how awesome it would be to interview every single one of the core release leads, from Matt all the way up to Helen, and dive deep into the ins and outs of leading a WordPress release. I started by reaching out to two of the release leads, Drew Jaynes and Helen Hou-Sandi. Helen because she had just lead the 4.7 release and Drew because I’ve actually met him in person. Both were keen but had other things going on at the time. So I put it on hold until they were available. A few months later the idea resurfaced in my head, mostly because I had just helped Craig Hewitt launch the Seriously Simple Hosting extension for the Seriously Simple Podcasting plugin. I thought about all the WordPress developers I already know, both locally and internationally, who weren’t necessarily WordPress release leads but whose stories I would love to hear. So I decided to retool the podcast to focus on those folks I refer to as ‘WP Hackers’, people who use WordPress and write code with/for it every day. I’ve since recorded my first four episodes (3 of which are publicly available on the WP Hacker Cast website) and I’ve had good responses so far. I’m slowly learning about the extra things needed for a podcast, like a subscription option as well as submission to things like iTunes. It’s all a great learning process. I’m happy to anncounce that you can now subscribe to new podcast episodes via email, directly from the site. Use the ‘Subscribe to the WP Hacker Cast’ form in the sidebar to receive fresh podcast notifications in your inbox. The podcast is also now listed on iTunes and Stitcher, so you can consume the episodes using your favourite podcast player. Please feel free to comment on the episodes, or contact me directly with feedback, comments and suggestions. I’m always looking for WP Hackers to talk to or interesting topics to discuss.

Taking back ownership of the word ‘freelancer’

PHPSouthAfrica

Based on some prompting by Hugh I applied as a speaker at PHPSouthAfrica this year. Apparently they still don’t know how little I actually know as they accepted my talk submission 😉

I’ll be talking just after afternoon tea about a topic that has been on my mind since 2010, that of the common perception of the freelancer, specifically when it comes to developers.

A freelancer or freelance worker is defined as a person who is self-employed and is not necessarily committed to a particular employer long-term. Since becoming a freelance developer in 2010 I’ve discovered that there is a stigma attached to the word. I don’t know if it is developer specific, but every time I meet or take on a new client the fact that I am ‘freelance’ tends to inspire visions of horror, usually of poor deliverables, bad client support and just a general lack of responsibility. In my talk, I would like to unpack this problem and provide some solutions to it.

Here are the slides for this talk.

2017 24 Hour Roll-a-thon fund raiser

This coming weekend I will be taking part in the 24 hour roll-a-thon at Gracie Jiu Jitu Cape Town, raising funds for cancer sufferers/survivors and a local hospice. If I’m honest though, the main reason I am doing this is my jiu jitsu buddy, Juan Poerstamper.

Juan has been dealing with Cancer since around 2012. He’s had a rough time of it over the past five years, finally being declared clear (again) earlier this year.

What amazes me about him is how friendly and positive he has been through this all. He is an amazing young man and I am happy to do anything to assist him.

In part, the roll-a-thon this weekend is raising funds to help him pay for his increasing medical expenses. As I am fortunate enough to have a slightly international reach, I would ask that anyone who follows my blog please consider donating, even $5, towards this cause.

When you make the donation, please ensure to add your name so that I can make sure to credit you in the follow up post on Monday.

Thank you.

 

 

 

Gutenberg day ??? – well that was hard!

I remember the first time I read about Jerry Seinfeld’s productivity secret. At the time it seemed trivial, but after trying to write a blog post per day for the month of September using Gutenberg, and then failing miserably at it, I can admit to the fact that planning to write something every day and actually doing it, are two very different beasts. Then I woke up this morning and saw that it has been decided that Gutenberg will no longer be using React. That’s a pretty big deal if you ask me. It also makes me realise that even one of the biggest open source projects in the world can make drastic changes to how it’s original goal was envisioned. So instead of trying to blog every day I’m just going to try and blog more, maybe once a week, with a better ‘check’ against myself to ensure it gets done. With Gutenberg still a long way from being merged into core it’s on me and everyone else who makes a living from WordPress to ensure that when it is officially released, it’s awesome, not just good.

Gutenberg day 8 – Contributing to Core

I’m attempting my first shot at contributing to WordPress core with ticket that was opened 8 years ago!

I feel like it’s small enough that I can get something done by the time the next release rolls around but useful enough that it will make peoples lives easier.

Feel free to follow the ticket to see how it pans out.

In other news, using Gutenberg today was a bit of a pain. Because I use Jetpack’s publicise functionality to share my content socially and Jetpack does not yet support Gutenberg (for obvious reasons) I have to write up the post in Gutenberg but not publish it and then edit the Post in the usual way and publish it. Today this lead to me loosing all my content and merely switching to the regular post editor. Fun times.

Gutenberg day 7 – New things

WP HackerCast
Today I'm especially excited to blog as I have a little news to share. The first episode of my new podcast has officially been published.
WP HackerCast – Episode 1 – Seagyn Davis
WP Hacker Cast is my way of talking to and learning from all the great WordPress developers I know and communicate with. I've got some great interviews coming up, but the first is always the most special. I hope you enjoy it.