Developers recently came together to write an open letter to GitHub, expressing some of their problems with the repository. GitLab, the company behind the GitLab open-source project, wrote a response to these open-source maintainers to talk about how GitLab—which is not affiliated with Git or GitHub—is dealing with those issues.
In its response, GitLab acknowledged that the open-source community was addressing GitHub. GitLab still took this as an opportunity to show the community that it values large open-source projects and that it too wants to address the problems developers are facing.
Some major frustrations GitLab wants to address pertain to a lack of crucial information like reproduction steps or version tested. Job van der Voort, vice president of product at GitLab, wrote that it would be “great if we had issue templates that you could toggle in GitLab.” He said that templates would help those at GitLab manage large issue trackers and that templates help set a good standard for reporting and requesting.
“We’d like issues to gain custom fields, along with a mechanism (such as a mandatory issue template, perhaps powered by a newissue.md in root as a likely-simple solution) for ensuring they are filled out in every issue,” he wrote in a blog post.
GitLab is also planning to add multiple templates, which contributors can use depending on the reason for making an issue.
Another frustration that was frequently mentioned in the letter to GitHub included the inability to create merge commits. GitLab said it already has this ability, and contributors can use fast-forward merge as an alternative to merge commits.
GitLab said it is also addressing some other complaints raised by GitHub users, such as:
• Excessive comment noise due to +1s and other “nonsense” interactions: Solved by GitLab’s voting system.
• Issue management and notifications do not scale for larger projects: GitLab uses its own issue tracker for all development and feedback.
• Existing pull request workflow and green “Merge” button encourage merge commits, which many larger projects do not allow: GitLab supports rebase and fast-forward merges.