A public Heptapod for Free and Open Source Software

Posted on Tue 28 January 2020 in announcements

We have exciting news to share with the Mercurial community today.

Thanks to the partnership between Octobus and Clever Cloud, we are bringing up a public Heptapod service for Free and Open Source Software (FOSS).

This new service is available from January 27th, 2020, and will be ready to gradually onbard FOSS projects soon after.

This is just a first step, we are also working on a commercial service that we hope to launch in February.

Eligibility for hosting on foss.heptapod.net

This free service is set up and sponsored by Clever Cloud and Octobus. Since neither of these two companies has a business model based on mining user data nor the prospect of being bought of by a big multinational, we can't commit to give away unlimited resources. We'd be lying anyway if we did.

Therefore we require that projects to be hosted

  • are really Free and Open Source (OSI approved license), not just public.
  • acknowledge the help on their official web page by inserting links and logos to Clever Cloud and Octobus at the appropriate place, e.g, on the page that provides the development instructions.
  • put only really relevant repositories on foss.heptapod.net, the reason being that we can't afford to host thousands of repositories whose usefulness would be doubtful.

These rules are subject to interpretation and will be enforced by human beings (see next section).

In the context of Bitbucket dropping support for Mercurial, we'll also give priority to projects that are currently hosted at Bitbucket – they need a new home as soon as possible.

Generally speaking, to maximize the positive impact of this public service, we'll give priority to mature projects with a significant user base, producing releases on official channels.

Finally, we encourage project maintainers to reach out to us if they feel the rules are not applicable in their case, but that their project should morally be on foss.heptapod.net. Perhaps we can come up with solutions, but remember: Heptapod is itself FOSS, anybody can install it already. The upcoming commercial service may well turn out to be the most efficient solution in some cases.

How to apply

A community managed service

Our intent is to provide a service for the community, managed by the community.

We are currently setting up a team for administration of foss.heptapod.net, that will include from the onset people that are neither Octobus nor Clever Cloud employees.

This team will in particular be in charge of accepting new projects and facilitate their on-boarding.

The full policy isn't written yet, but we plan to have a path for gradual cooptation of new administrators and evolution of the policy. All of this should happen as much as possible in the open, perhaps just by discussion of Merge Requests.

What has happened with dev.heptapod.net?

Short answer: it has become foss.heptapod.net.

Heptapod was hosting itself and some Mercurial related projects at dev.heptapod.net, a server entirely managed by Octobus.

We found it quite logical, and simpler for everybody involved to simply reinstall it at foss.heptapod.net and declare it to be the public Heptapod instance for FOSS projects.

Noticeable differences

  • SSH URLs for Mercurial operation have changed from ssh://git@dev.heptapod.net to ssh://hg@foss.heptapod.net (notice the user part)

What version of Heptapod does foss.heptapod.net run?

The latest released one, starting with version 0.8.1, released on 2020-01-23.