Unhappy about Gitea Ltd


I’m not thrilled by Gitea Ltd.

A few days ago I stumbled into this toot by Gusted:

Gusted leaving gitea as maintainer

The link in the snapshot points to Why I am taking a step back.

As I understand it, it’s a textbook case of:

  • starting a project under the FLOSS flag
  • grow a big community to drive a lot of energies to the project’s success and acquire critical mass brand recognition
  • pull the rug and take the monetization path (expecially thanks to the brand recognition).

Just to disambiguate, I know that in recent times rug pulling refers to theft of crypto money and there’s been no such thing here (neither theft nor crypto scams are involved). I just find that the image of pulling the rug under some people’s feet is a perfect metaphor for what happened here. Or maybe an allegory.

There is an interesting comment in the announcement page that starts with this sarcastic remark:

Good luck with your new Red Hat !

I humbly dissent. Red Hat started their business around providing professional support for a specific Linux distribution, but both Linux and a lot of the tools kept their identity and were included in different distributions as well.

Here we have a stated goal that seems similar, offering professional support, instance hosting… you know, the full package.

The key difference here is that they’re not adopting a different, possibly related name (e.g. The G-team), they’re taking the main brand. It’s like Red Hat decided to call their company Linux Ltd..

So, well… my personal opinion is that the owner of the domain and of the trademark were surely entitled to make this happen. My personal opinion is also that this was a stab in the back of the community that was critical to giving value to the domain and to the trademark.

I’m curious to see how this will affect Codeberg, honestly. I also wonder how many successful FLOSS projects are in the same situation with the same risk of rugpulling any time soon.


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