GitLab rollback: will not delete inactive repositories on free accounts

GitLab I had plans to automatically delete repositories that have been inactive for more than a year and belonged to free accounts. The Register, through various internal sources, confirmed this, and users of GitLab and rival services did not take it too well. They have protested so much about it, that at GitLab have decided to backtrack and not remove them.

According to the company’s plans, its management intended to implement the measure from the end of next September to save costs (one million dollars per year) and move towards a sustainable SaaS business model. But they won’t anymore. Of course, they have warned that this type of inactive project will have certain disadvantages since then. Among them, that will be archived on slower storage systems. Therefore, it will take a little longer to access them, but anyone who wants to can still access them. This has been confirmed by a tweet:

From The Register they point out that the tweet does not reflect exactly what happened, since they have been able to access documents that reflect the programming of an internal meeting for August 9, whose agenda included the plan to eliminate the repositories of sleeping code, which is described as follows: «from September 22, 2022 we will implement the Data Retention Policy for free users. This applet will place limits on the number of months a free project can be inactive before we delete it, along with its data.«.

Other internal documents seem to mention the possible use of object storage to archive projects, but they mention concerns that doing so will increase costs for GitLab due to the need to create multiple redundant backups. In the newsroom they have also seen several discussions that confirm the existence of code developed to delete inactive projects, ready since the end of July and ready for deployment, after months of discussion and development work.

According to a source, the change in this decision was due to the pressure received online, both on Reddit and on Twitter. But the tweet in which GitLab confirms that it will not remove the repositories has caused several questions, for which GitLab has yet to offer either an answer or more details.

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