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Trade Study Github vs. Gitlab

title: Trade Study: Github vs. Gitlab pageid: 50463027


The Asterisk project moved to GitHub on April 29th 2023.

The current Asterisk code base, and community services have been mostly self hosted and managed using various tool sets (Gerrit, Jenkins, Atlassian, etc...). While this has been fine we're always looking for ways to improve the project, and its workflows. As such the Asterisk project, and a number of its services will be moving to an internet hosted software development platform (e.g. Github or Gitlab). Doing so offers several advantages:

  • Consolidates the code base and most services beneath one management application, which will make automation of processes between services much easier.
  • Cloud hosts version control and other services removing the huge burden of having to self manage such things.
  • Utilize an interface that is broadly used and hopefully more familiar to developers and other members of the community.

Moving will not be without effort though, and it's import to assess eligible products to ensure they can support the Asterisk project now, and in the future. Both Github and Gitlab offer similar services, and functionality1 ,2 (by tier1,2) that should suffice for what's needed. The following is a list of items that may be relevant to the hosting of the Asterisk project at one of the sites:

Github Gitlab
Deployment options Cloud Cloud and locally hosted
Open source No Yes
API Yes Yes
Easy to understand documentation Yes Yes
Public project benefits Yes, public projects gain some extra benefits that are usually associated with paid tiers for private repos Yes, being an open source project Asterisk should get full benefits of their ultimate tier, but need to qualify annually
General limits Actions, LFS Various
Public/Private Unlimited (limited feature set for private) Unlimited
Collaborators Unlimited Unlimited
Max size < 5GB is recommended 10GB
Max file size 100MB, however larger files can be tracked via their Large File Storage facility. 5GB per push
Permissions Read, write, other roles (see also organizational roles) Role based
Statistics Yes Yes
Max allowed Unlimited Unlimited
Auth SSH, 2FA, OAuth, SSO, and other integrations SSH, 2FA, OAuth, SSO, and other integrations
Crowd account preservation No, a Github account will need to be created No, a Gitlab account will need to be created
CLA Possibly, but will probably have to set something up using a Github workflow No, will have to set something up with their automation tools (interesting post about why Gitlab moved away from CLAs)
Description templates Yes Yes
Custom forms Yes, in beta but available to public projects No
Confidential/Private No, all issues are public Yes
Close via commit Yes Yes
Canned responses Yes No
Fixed version Use milestones Use milestones
Other tags/labels Yes Yes, and also has scoped labels
Review Pull requests Merge requests
Require approval Yes Yes
Require checks Yes Yes
Cherry-pick via UI No Yes
Private Repos/Forks Yes, and forks for resolving security issues. Yes, and should be used for confidential issues
Issue No private issues Confidential issues
Advisory Yes Reports, but there doesn't seem to be a way to edit it
CVE integration Yes Yes
Patch Temporary private fork, or can use a private repo Use private repo
Continuous Integration
Minutes Seemingly unlimited for public repos, 2000 per month for private 50,000 per month
Storage Seemingly unlimited for public repos (might be limited by max repo file storage), 500MB per month for private 10GB
Self hosting Yes Yes
Triggers Various builtin API or webhook
Parallel Yes Yes
Workflow limits 6 hours job execution time, 35 day workflow run, 1000 API requests an hour, 20 concurrent jobs, 500 runs queued a second, etc... 1GB artifact size, 1000 per group/1000 per project runners, unlimited concurrent jobs, 25000 pipeline triggers, etc...
Release Management
Create Yes Yes
Link to issues Yes Not yet
Release notes Automatic Nothing automatic yet. Use the issue API and get issues assigned to a milestone
Additional files Yes can attach Links available through UI, and API.
Pre-release option Yes Naming only
Forms Yes Yes
Automation Yes through actions, custom scripts or 3rd party tools Yes through dev ops, custom scripts or 3rd party tools
Wiki Yes Yes
Pages Yes Yes

One can see from the above that both platforms have the basic services and tools Asterisk needs to function as a successful open source project. They really only differ in a few minor areas. However, a decision has to be made and the Asterisk project has decided on:

Winner: Github

There are a few reasons why Github was chosen over Gitlab. One minor difference is that currently Github actions and workflows appear to be able to trigger off a greater number of built-in events vs. Gitlab automations. The latter seeming to require more custom tooling, and writing and maintaining our own scripts in order to achieve similar functionality.

There are probably a few other minor distinctions that swayed the decision, but there is at least one notable complication with Gitlab that made the choice easier. In order to use Gitlab's Ultimate tier the Asterisk project would need to qualify annually as an open source project. Note, the values listed in the table above assume such qualification. Otherwise we'd fall under their free tier, which only allows 5 users per namespace. In Gitlab a "User means each individual end-user (person or machine) of Customer and/or its Affiliates (including, without limitation, employees, agents, and consultants thereof) with access to the Licensed Materials hereunder" (see FAQ). Based on the current requirements it's "iffy" if Asterisk would qualify. Even if it did it's very possible Asterisk may not next time. The project just can't take the risk.