8.2 Dark Side of Current Software Development

The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.
ol me once, shame on you… fool me twice, shame on me.
(My mothers two favorite sayings)

In order to better understand why we need to change the software development tools we use, we will begin by explaining how software development currently occurs. As noted in our previous article, we are facing the most extreme concentration of wealth and power in human history. Just look at the S & P 500. You will see that the 4 largest corporations in history are all technology stocks. As of June 2023, the combined market capitalization of Microsoft, Google (Alphabet), Apple and Amazon is more than $6.6 trillion dollars – making these four tech corporations the richest corporations in human history.


There is a simple reason why the richest corporations in human history are all tech corporations. The reason is that tech corporations have almost no overhead. Their products, aka software programs, cost nothing to copy and a server farm such as AWS or Azure can generates billions in profit while being run by a small Tech team.

It is ironic that the profits of all four of these mega corporations come predominately from running open software Linux programs. Yet almost none of the profit goes back to the open software community. Instead, the profit is used to bribe politicians, rig elections, control the media and censor anyone who has the courage to challenge them.

In 2013, I published a book called Free Yourself from Microsoft and the NSA. In this 400 page book I outlined 30 years of crimes committed by Bill Gates and Microsoft. Much of this information I obtained by spending 20 years teaching courses at the nearest college to Microsoft – and having had more than 1000 Microsoft employees in my courses. You can download a free copy of this book at the following link: https://freeyourselffrommicrosoftandthensa.org/

In that book, we looked at serious problems with the Microsoft Windows operating system and a draconian startup program called UEFI. In this article, we will take a look at the current state of GIT Repository Hosts – which is where most software development currently occurs – in order to explain why you should not trust your Open Software project with any of the major GIT Repository Hosts.

GIT Repository Mine Field
Given Microsoft’s past record in destroying Open Software projects, it is amazing that any proponent of Open Software would trust their project development to a Windows computer or to Windows programs or to the Microsoft Azure Cloud. But what amazes me the most is that the vast majority of Open Software projects trust their project development to GitHub – which is Microsoft’s GIT server.

For those who are new to software development, most software projects are developed online by teams of developers who may live anywhere on the planet. The code is updated using a free open source program called GIT which was developed by Linus Torvalds in 2005. In a future article, we will go into more detail about how to set up your own simple GIT system using a program called Git Cola.

For now, the main thing to know is that GIT code is handled locally on each developers computer and then transmitted to a central repository which is shared by all of the developers. The central repository is located on a remote GIT server.

Below is a table of the top 3 GIT remote repository hosts and their market share according to Wikipedia:



Note: I have excluded Launchpad which is a Ubuntu project – and thus is soon likely to be owned by Microsoft. It is used to built Ubuntu PPA packages and uses Bazaar rather than GIT for version control. I have also excluded SourceForge due to its history of adding malware to project downloads. SourceForge uses ad revenue to generate income. Sadly, this has led to malware being bundled and downloaded with software hosted on SourceForge.

This leaves only three GIT hosts which together control over 99 percent of the GIT repository hosting market. Of these three, GitHub which is owned by Microsoft, controls about 71% of the market.

Note that while all three corporations claim to have millions of users, research by a Forbes analyst (as well as my own research) indicates that only one percent of users on these repository sites are actually active users. Thus, instead of there being 130 million developers, I estimate there are only 1.4 million developers using these three GIT repository hosting services.

Why Open Software Development needs a repository host
If you want a team of developers to collaborate effectively, you need a suitable place to host your code. Choosing a repository host might not seem like a big deal. But the repo host you choose can have serious consequences for your projects future.

BitBucket has stated that their average team size for the projects they host is 15 active developers. My analysis of GitHub and GitLab is that their average project team size is also between 10 to 20 active developers.

All three corporations offer “free” accounts to individuals. But all three limit the number of developers per project to five developers. Thus, the real purpose of giving you a free account is to lock you into their service – knowing full well that if you have a successful project, you will need to upgrade to a paid account. Below is an estimate of the annual cost of a 10 to 20 active developer account at each of these GIT hosts.


Note: You have to be careful that other team members are not added to individual repos, which are count against your team size.

Drawbacks of BitBucket
In our previous article, we reviewed some of the drawbacks of GitHub in terms of spying on you and stealing your Open Source code for Microsoft commercial programs. And below, we will cover the even more serious drawbacks of GitLab, but what about BitBucket?

BitBucket appears to be the cheapest of the three options shown above. However, since they charge $10 to $20 extra per month for data transfer, you need to add $120 to $240 to get a more accurate estimate of their true annual cost. When you do this, they are slightly more expensive than GitHub.

The owners of BitBucket have made several decisions over the years that have angered their users. One was to change the Continuous Integration tool. Another was to end support for HTTPS based authentication. This forces all users to use SSH – adding yet another hurdle for beginners to overcome.

But the real problem with BitBucket is that they use a host of commercial tools all intended to work together. These not only add hidden costs but they result in vendor lock in. If you have a really successful Open Software Project with 100 developers, you could be looking at spending $10,000 per year to use BitBucket!

GitLab Financial Problems
GitLab pricing is dramatically higher than either GitHub or BitBucket. But the problems with GitLab are much worse than merely a high cost per user. For the past several years, GitLab has been losing about $200 million per year. This huge annual financial loss has required several rounds of private investors. In 2021, GitLab made its first public offering. An independent Forbes analyst issued an extremely negative review of the public offering and the claims made by GitLab. https://www.forbes.com/sites/greatspeculations/2021/10/12/gitlab-another-overpriced-tech-company/?sh=23e63c045286

The first problem is that those buying the stock, called class A, would have almost no actual control over GitLab as “each share of class A stock will be entitled to one vote while each share of class B stock will be entitled to 10 votes. Thus, holders of class B shares will hold 99% of the voting power, with directors, executive officers, and beneficial owners holding 62% of the voting power.”

To make matters worse, of the $200 million in annual losses, about $100 million was funds being diverted to the original owners. Here is a quote from the Forbes report: “GitLab’s fiscal 2021 non-GAAP operating loss removes $111 million in stock-based compensation expense. After removing this, GitLab reports a non-GAAP operating loss of -$102 million in 2021, compared to a real loss of -$214 million.

In addition, GitLab owes its employees “$540 million in outstanding employee stock option liability.”

Here is another quote from the Forbes report:

“GitLab’s model for growing revenue is based on the freemium model: gain users with a free version of its software and convert those users to paying members. As of June 2021, GitLab had 30 million free users with just 15,356 paying users. GitLab has converted less than 1% of its user base. Most of these converted users are also on lower priced, less profitable plans.”

Current GitLab financial information comes from this web page:


After going public, GitLab now has 400 million in cash but is losing 200 million per year. Thus, in less than two years, they will either need another stock sale or they will go broke. Again, this includes about $100 million per year being funneled off to the original owners who are now worth more than one billion dollars.

The Initial Public Offering was in October 2021. The Stock price started at $130 per share but is currently at $50 per share in June 2023 with a low of $35… meaning that folks who bet $100,000 of their retirement funds on GitLab in October 2021 have currently lost about $66,000 – and will likely lose the rest in the next two years. I agree with the Forbes analyst that GitLab is facing major problems that may lead to bankruptcy in the next few years. Below is a chart of their stock price fall from October 2021 to December 2022. In just one year, the stock lost about $100 in value.

Note the downward blue line. If this trend continues, GitLab could be bankrupt (or need additional capitalization) in less than two years.


GitLab was incorporated as an LLC in SF, CA in 2014. The two founders were Dmitriy Zaporozhets and Sytse Sijbrandij. The rags to riches story of GitLab started back in 2011, when Zaporozhets worked as a web developer at Ukrainian IT company Sphere Software. He used to program using what is now Microsoft’s GitHub. But he felt he could make something better. So he started an Open Source project that many others contributed code to. A year later, he was approached by Sytse Sijbrandij whose background was business rather than coding. Sytse got the domain name GitLab.com and proposed that they started a business based on privatizing this open source code.

Sid Sijbrandij is the Co-founder, Chief Executive Officer and Board Chair of GitLab Inc. Sid background included spending four years building recreational submarines for U-Boat Worx and while at Ministerie van Justitie en Veiligheid he worked on the Legis project, which developed several web applications. Sid is from the Netherlands while Dmitriy lives in Kharkiv in Ukraine. Here is a picture of the two founders the day they struck it rich with their Initial Public Stock offering:


Dimitriy quit in November 2021 one month after GitLab went public. To me, GitLab appears to be little more than a Ponzi scheme. Why would anyone pay six times as much to host their project on GitLab than on BitBucket – knowing their project is tied to a very shaky LLC?

If and /or when GitLab goes under, more than a million Open Source projects will be looking for a new home. They could choose GitHub or BitBucket. But then they would be at the mercy of a for profit corporation which could raise prices on them at any time.

More Drawbacks of GitHub
Even if you do not care about GitHub spying on your code development and stealing your open source code for their closed source programs, you should think twice about using GitHub.

In 2012, Linus Torvalds stated: "I don't do GitHub pull requests. GitHub throws away all the relevant information, like having even a valid email address for the person asking me to pull."

In 2021, Torvalds added: “GitHub creates absolutely useless garbage merges, and you should never ever use the GitHub interfaces to merge anything… Linux kernel merges need to be done properly... That means proper commit messages with information about what is being merged and *why* you merge something. But it also means proper authorship and committer information. All of which GitHub entirely screws up."

GitHub likely loses more than $100 million per year
Since purchasing GitHub in 2018 for $7.5 billion, Microsoft has not reported any revenue numbers for GitHub in its quarterly and yearly filings. The last reported GitHub balance statement was leaked in 2016 - when GitHub was losing about $100 million per year. Microsoft essentially uses GitHub as a Loss Leader to attract users to their Azure Cloud – which makes billions of dollars every year. So GitLab victims could choose GitHub or BitBucket… or they could choose to learn from their mistake and go with Codeberg. Did I mention that Codeberg GIT hosting is free and you can have an unlimited number of developers helping with your project.

You may wonder how can Codeberg be free?
The answer is that the actual cost of hosting a repository is less than a dollar per month. Keep in mind that Linux Debian and LibreOffice are also both free. Many donate to all three of these projects. However, if your project is on a limited budget, Codeberg views itself as being like a public library. Codeberg allows you to focus on the code rather than on how to raise funds to pay for GIT hosting.

Trust is an important issue. Who can you trust with your Open Software Development? We have shown that none of the three corporations that dominate the GIT repository hosting market can be trusted. All three corporate run GIT hosts use the same model. They sucker software developers in with a “free plan” which is limited to five users and is really a vendor Lock In plan. As the project grows, projects are forced into paid plans costing thousands of dollars. Even worse, your project is at the mercy of a corporation that either steals your code – or runs such a shady business that may soon close entirely! It is therefore time for Open Software developers to take the matter into their own hands by seeking out and using non-profit organizations like Codeberg to host their code development.

What’s Next?
In the next article, we will review