The Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC), a non-profit community of open source advocates code, today announced its withdrawal from GitHub in a scathing post urging its members and supporters to punish the platform once and for all.
In a nutshell:
The SFC's issue with GitHub stems from allegations that Microsoft and OpenAI trained an artificial intelligence system called Copilot on data released under an open source license.
But open source code is not a box that you can just take whatever you want and use it however you want.
It's more like photo. If a photographer doesn't charge you to use one of their images, you are morally and legally obligated to give credit where credit is due.
According to one post on the SFC website, Copilot does not do this although it uses code snippets from others:
This points to long-term problems with GitHub and the central reason why we should abandon the service all together. What we see with Copilot, on GitHub's core hosting service, GitHub's behavior is much worse than its peers. We don't believe that Amazon, Atlassian, GitLab, or any other hosting service is perfect. However, a comparison of GitHub's behavior with that of its peers shows that GitHub's behavior is much worse.
For the story:
GitHub is a defacto open source repository. It's like a combination of YouTube, Twitter and Reddit, but for developers and the code they produce.
Of course, there are other options. But switching from one code storage service to another isn't the same as going from Instagram to TikTok.
Since then, the company has leveraged its position as OpenAI's main benefactor in a joint effort to build Copilot.
Please note that the only way to access Copilot is through a special invitation from Microsoft or with a paid subscription.
There is a solution;
Rather. The easy one is to shout until we kill the Copilot.
Alternatively, Microsoft and OpenAI should start indicating where they got every bit of code in base data from Copilot, so that a second model can be built that implements the ethical principles of open source.
Bringing code snippets back line by line into a database is a lot of work, and someone has to do it. Just because you can take a photo of the sunset with your iPhone doesn't mean you can steal someone else's sunset photo, call it yours, and sell it to others.
Copilot is a very successful project. The developer community seems to love it. He has received many positives from the Media but the best part is that you have no choice. There is no opt-in or opt-out option.
Microsoft and OpenAI have our data and nothing can stop them from doing whatever they want with it.
Is resistance futile?
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