At GitLab, we do our best to work together with the rest of our amazing community at every possible occasion. The rest of the community contributes many features, fixes bugs and improves performance. To work together effectively, we try to be open about as many things as possible.
Today we're announcing a move from doing the majority of our development work internally, to almost exclusively working in public issue trackers on GitLab.com. This means that anyone can view and comment on all of our discussion and work. This includes bugs, new features, performance issues and everything else that relates to our products.
GitLab Community Edition, GitLab Continuous Integration and the code that we use to build and ship these, are all open source. In fact, even our proprietary version of GitLab, GitLab Enterprise Edition, has a publicly viewable source code. We do this because we believe it helps everyone building a better GitLab and makes the threshold for community contributions very low.
However, the development of the monthly releases of GitLab is done on our private GitLab instance. We do this because we receive many feature requests and support issues (bugs) from customers and we figured this was best kept private. This lead to a number of problems:
- Bug reports and feature requests were duplicated
- The latest state of issues was not available to the whole community
- It was impossible for contributors to review merge requests from GitLab Inc
- The community had no insight into planned features for upcoming releases
- We were not able to give customers insight into our thinking about issues
We were not working in the open as a true open source project should.
To make the entire development of GitLab a product of the community again, we decided to move all our internal issues, discussions, feature requests and bugs to public repositories on GitLab.com. This will allow us to build better features and to solve bugs faster with more community feedback and contributions.
Issues and features from our customers will also be visible here. Customers will not be named, instead we will link to internal tools so that GitLab Inc employees can still handle customer interactions as normal. We do not intend to release any private information, so logs and other sensitive information will be sanitized or kept out of the public issue. Rather, we will include the content relevant for the issue, feature request or symptoms of the reported bug. Having this content out in the open will lead to less duplication, better features and faster bug fixes.
Sensitive issues, such as security issues with GitLab, will still be handled internally. We'll create tracking issues for these on the public issue trackers that don't contain exploitable information.
Doing this, we bridge our customers and GitLab's community. At the same time, customers are able to view our work on their issues and feature requests. Our work, comments and also our mistakes will be open for everyone to see.
The Next Steps
Over the coming time, we'll gradually move our internal issues over to GitLab.com.
In time, we will also start to move away from using feedback.gitlab.com to using issues in GitLab for feature requests as well.
If you have concerns about any of this, please contact us at Contact at GitLab dot com. As always, we will also be present in the comments below.