Would anyone else want to start a U.S. based (or at least USD based) software forge co-op? I was thinking about starting up a Gitea instance and just opening it up to anyone who wanted to pay a nominal fee, then operating it co-operatively. It would be good to know if anyone else would actually use it or want to have voting rights from the start though.

I've really wanted to use Codeberg for more stuff, but the lack of CI (I know it's coming, but for now that doesn't help me) and the difficulty in joining if you're not in the Eurozone (you have to email them if you want some payment method other than IBAN transfer) makes it difficult to transition. Once federation is implemented having more distributed Git hosting seems good too, so I think there's room for a non-EU Codeberg alternative.

If anyone does want to help me throw up a Gitea instance or something and operate it co-operatively, here is a mailing list I created to facilitate communication and decision making:

@sam I am tentatively interested in using one. I don't currently have a great need for a publicly accessible code forge, but I would like to support the building of a cooperative one. However, beyond chipping in with money, my ability to contribute in other ways is likely minimal. :/

@cstanhope @sam probably not what you want, but I was toying with an idea to have a for-fee software forge with free software; source code and patches are free; issue reports are not

@saper @cstanhope I'd be curious to know the reasoning behind that? I feel like that would discourage bug reports though, which seems like it would result in worse software. Alternate funding models are always fun to think about!

@sam @cstanhope we are not in the 1990s. Issue trackers on Github become useless if the package reaches some audience. From my experience as a co-maintainer of one popular npm package: 99.99% are duplicates, well documented installation errors, folk reporting irrelevant vulnerabilities in the dependencies. 0.01% is a guy playing with ASAN and reporting stack smash or something vaguely useful. And you have big websites that try to put a some kind of pressure.

@sam @cstanhope Patches can be submitted for free. If you report a small one thing, a 2-15 euro fee should be fine. If you have it as a dependency buy a yearly subscription. In between some model to pay less but see only own reports. I have no idea where this idea "free software comes with free support" comes from.

@saper @cstanhope I get that, and I do not advocate free support, but I think that's orthogonal to the problem I was describing. By putting a barrier in the way to filing issues you'll definitely stop most of the drive-by unresearched ones, but the question becomes "how many important and useful issues do you also stop?" there is some percentage of issues that will go unreported. How many critical security issues equal the time saved from not getting all the useless cruft issues?

@sam @cstanhope That's clearly a choice between this and that. What I would like to do is to try the paywalled variant and see how it works or (likely) doesn't. My favourite way is a drive-by contribution to something I have just started using. On the other hand if the model would have catched on and most projects go like this, do I want closed issue trackers, like in the past? Probably not. But it seems that doc effort gets replaced with Stack Overflow anyway

@cstanhope Thanks! I've created a mailing list we can all use to better communicate if you're interested:

Alternate communication suggestions also welcome, of course, but it will be easier to discuss if we just quickly get everyone in one place first

@cstanhope Great! That makes two of us. I've sent out the list to a few other channels that might be interested too, so fingers crossed. I started writing up a rough price thing and it should be relatively cheap (with 4 or 5 of us) to get something thrown up initially that can be scaled later. Thinking of a name will be the hardest part, as usal; we can shave that yak on list later though :)

@sam I'd be tentatively interested, but there's not really an equivalent of an e.V in the US (essentially a registered club). But I generally like the idea of coops in software, bonus points for non-profit organization with equitably paid maintainers/operators.

That said, there is that isn't terribly expensive for personal projects, but it isn't coop (or Codeberg) or even much of a community as far as I can use.

@edd There are a few options in the U.S. actually! A 501(c)(7) is any social club, or a 501(c)(8)/(10) is a fraternal organization (if we wanted to be a co-op of member forges, for example). I don't know what e.V.'s entail, so I don't know if it's directly analogous, but there are options! I generally think it's best to just start a corporation, write into the bylaws that we're a co-op, and then apply for 501(c)(3) status if we decide to go that route later

@sam Well I have some homework to do. An e. V. probably most closely resembles a 501(c)(7) since it just means "registered club", but I'm sure there's differences in the requirements to qualify and rules to be followed.

@edd If you're interested though, I made a mailnig list to get us all in one place to discuss it easier; please join!

@sam I'm interested. I've been low-key wanting a co-op alternative to github/etc for a while but haven't had the energy to make one myself. Co-op sounds like a good way to share the load. I'll join the group when I'm at my computer this morning.

@epilanthanomai @sam yeah, @codeberg is pretty much that (but in Germany)

but i think it makes to have that all around the world!

@meena @epilanthanomai @codeberg Agreed! Codeberg is at risk of becoming the de-facto centralized alternative to GitHub (which is still better than a defacto centralized only-GitHub, but not great). Having something that U.S. based folks know they can legally join and participate in will be a nice benefit if you're on this side of the pond. Also Codeberg has no CI (I know they're working on it), which makes it unusable IMO (though of course your mileage may vary)

@sam @meena @epilanthanomai federation support is a long-standing issue, core maintainers looking at it too ;)
Either way: volunteers and contributors welcome to speed this up!

Regarding CI: invite-only alpha has launched. If you maintain a use case that should be tested early: please contact us via email to sign up!

If alpha testing is not your thing: client-side CI as described in docs is reliable and stable for long time ;)

@codeberg I don't know if our use case would be useful to you as far as your testing goes, but I've got a freelancing co-op using CI to publish websites to Netlify and a co-op that maintains software using it to run integration tests that spin up and shut down a lot of infrastructure, I'm sure either would be happy to find a non-GitHub alternative that actually had CI. Client side CI is a definite "no" though, that would be a lot of time and energy taken away from their core mission

@sam hey, this isn't quite the same thing, but if you weren't aware, has a bunch of similar infrastructure set up.

We're volunteer run, explicitly free, and not a capitalist entity really, but if you're looking for folks to buddy up with, you might be looking for us.

@starless I've never heard of this, thanks for the link!

@sam This is good timing. 🙂 The current project I volunteer with is going to spin down at the end of this year, and I’ve been wanting to learn about coops.

I can help on the tech side. Systems and light development.

@jollyrogue That sounds great! Definitely sign up for the mailing list ( and hopefully we'll set up a first meeting sometime soon to get on the same page and figure out what we're doing!

Sign in to participate in the conversation

The social network of the future: No ads, no corporate surveillance, ethical design, and decentralization! Own your data with Mastodon!