@webknjaz's ramblings

Et Tu Brutè? Use Travis CI for FOSS no more.

written by Sviatoslav on 2020-11-13

Something sadly1 expected has happened at the beginning of the last week. Travis CI — a pioneer in the field that brought automated testing seamlessly integrated with GitHub to masses many open-source projects on scale — announced that they are migrating all of the public projects that previously got the service for free to a trial plan with a limited amount of toy credits to use2.

Ever since they were acquired3 by a company with a rather shady past4, Travis CI kept going down this path. They've been shrinking the resources again and again over the past few years and it seems this sort of outcome was inevitable, expecially once they've suddenly layed off a lot of senior engineers5.

Of course, they've made a rather pathetic attempt to assure everyone that they'll continue to support open source. But who are they kidding? I bet most of the maintainers have better things to do then go begging support for a bunch of free credits every now and then just to keep things runing. Folks keep underestimating the FOSS maintenance effort and it even seems like projects using Tidelift may be inelligible6.

Now What?

Even before the acquisition there's been signs that Travis CI wasn't doing well. There are a lot of articles on setting up other CIs like Azure Pipelines or GitHub Actions CI/CD Workflows. Most of the alternative options provide a comparable experience but may have slightly different ways of being set up. There are also even more powerful CIs like Zuul that are available to significant FOSS projects.

So can we dump Travis CI yet?

Yes, we totally can do that! Should we, though? I'm personally planning to stop advocating for using Travis CI if it's not necessary for a given project. Back in the day, I even contributed a GitHub Pages deployment provider into their dpl project so I feel a little nostalgic... I used to give linting CI set up tasks to my mentees based on Travis. But now, I don't want to advertise a FOSS-unfriendly lock-in so I'll switch to GitHub Actions CI/CD Workflows.

There's one case when I may need to consider using Travis CI additionally to other systems — there are cases when I'd want to run tests in environments (architectures) that none of the other CIs provide. But this will be decided on per-project basis.

Huh. I guess that's all I've been wanting to write. 🖖

  1. A lot of people got upset because of this Travis CI fuckup.

  2. Travis gave everyone 10K credits and suggested that people would need to switch to a paid plan after that.

  3. Travis announced the acquisition by Idera on Jan 23, 2019.

  4. Some people on HN seem to have previous experience with Idera ruining their acquired businesses. Also, they've announced all sorts of commitments like keeping the Travis Foundation alive and now, almost two years in, that domain is dead and googling doesn't even find any mentions of it.

  5. Idera removed many essensial employees without a warning and folk on Twitter call this the last nail in the coffin.

  6. It's not yet clear but people on Twitter speculate that Tidelift-baked FOSS projects may not get free credits