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As has recently been widely discussed around the web, any company that does business in the USA has to comply with sanctions which require not providing most services to several regions around the world. It has come to light recently because GitHub has begun to restrict what users in these regions can do on github.com. These regions (Syria, Crimea, North Korea, etc.) are probably some of the places where qaul.net would be most useful, and yet US sanctions could make it difficult or impossible for these people to contribute to qaul. At the moment, GitHub users in these places can still interact with public repositories, but there's nothing stopping some other decision being made in future by GitHub, Microsoft, or the US government that further restricts access. I think it's important that, given the goals of the project, using or contributing to qaul.net does not discriminate against people based on where they are located, and so I'd like to suggest that qual.net stops relying on infrastructure from companies that do business in the US and have to comply with these sanctions. In my opinion, the best way forward would be for qaul to self-host its essential services to the greatest extent possible. That way, even if another country decides to impose similar sanctions, qaul.net could adapt rather than be forced to deny participation. These should be the primary means of interacting with qaul, if not the only. Any conversation that happens on GitHub is a conversation that puts contributors in sanctioned regions at a disadvantage, and so even having an option to contribute on GitHub would be unfair, since these conversations would arise. What replaces GitHub matters much less, as long as it can be self-hosted, but I think it's important to consider that the more decentralised it is, the more difficult it would be for the developers to be forced to deny access to people. For example, it seems to me that sourcehut's email-driven workflow would be much more difficult to deny access to than GitLab's, which requires people to make accounts and interact with a central web service. It's easy to worry that potential contributors will be put off by not being able to contribute on GitHub, but this way, at least everybody would have the same opportunity to contribute, not to mention the benefits of restricting the centralized GitHub hegemony, which is the only reason US sanctions can be such a big problem to free software development in the first place.
Just wanting to document progress that's been going on regarding qaul.net infrastructure On 19-08-01 06:35, Alyssa Ross wrote: > As has recently been widely discussed around the web, any company that > does business in the USA has to comply with sanctions which require not > providing most services to several regions around the world. It has come > to light recently because GitHub has begun to restrict what users in > these regions can do on github.com. We're currently in the process of migrating to our own gitlab  (which is actually for a related project and can be used by more people than just qaul.net devs). It allows for OAuth signup via gitlab.com and github.com, but also easy account registration. So far stuff works and mirroring is setup. We still need to update documentation and all links that might still be pointing to github. And of course submitting patches on this mailing list is still possible. o/, spacekookie : https://git.open-communication.net/qaul/qaul.net