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After Backlash, GitLab U-Turns on Deleting Dormant Projects

Saturday August 6, 2022. 04:34 PM , from Slashdot
After Backlash, GitLab U-Turns on Deleting Dormant Projects
'GitLab has reversed its decision to automatically delete projects that are inactive for more than a year and belong to its free-tier users,' reports the Register. Thursday GitLab tweeted:

'We discussed internally what to do with inactive repositories. We reached a decision to move unused repos to object storage. Once implemented, they will still be accessible but take a bit longer to access after a long period of inactivity.'

But the Register says they've seen internal documents from 'well-placed sources' showing that GitLab had originally 'hoped the move would save it up to $1 million a year and help make its SaaS business sustainable.' And the company had spent a long time preparing for such a move:

Documents we have seen gave staff notice of an internal meeting scheduled for August 9. The agenda for the meeting lays out the plan to delete dormant code repositories... Other internal documents seen by The Register mention the possible use of object storage to archive projects but express concerns that doing so would increase GitLab's costs by creating a need for multiple redundant backups.

We have also seen internal discussions confirming the automation code to delete inactive projects was completed by the end of July, and was ready to roll out after months of debate and development work.

One of our sources told us [Thursday] that it was online pressure, led by The Register's reporting, that forced a dramatic rethink at the GitHub rival. Word of the deletion policy as a money-saving exercise sparked fury on Twitter and Reddit.

On GitLab's Twitter feed Thursday, someone raised an interesting point about GitLab's new promise to move inactive repos into object storage. 'Wait, does 'inactive' mean repositories that have no new commits? Or only those without new commits AND without read access by cloning / fetching?'

And GitLab's CEO/co-founder Sid Sijbrandij replied, 'We're not sure yet. Probably all write operations would keep a project active, creating an issue, a merge request, pushing changes to a branch, etc. We might also keep it active as long as people are doing read operations such as cloning, forking, etc.'

Friday Sijbrandij tweeted this status update:

'Archived projects is a user activated state that signals intent. We're not sure yet but very likely the storage type used is orthogonal to that. Our current plan for object storage would keep the repos visible to everyone.'

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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