Yesterday, GitHub added a new setting to user-owned repositories called “Account Successors.” It allows users to designate repository access to another user to maintain ownership continuity in the event of any kind of personal disruption.
“Open source maintainers, you can now invite a trusted user to manage your open source projects in the event that you are unable to do so yourself,” GitHub Senior Product Manager Ben Balter said in an announcement on Twitter. “Help ensure the future of your work (and the work of others) by inviting an account successor today.”
The new feature can be found under the Settings » Account » Successor Settings menu in GitHub. Successors will not be given the ability to log into accounts but will have the following permissions:
- Archive your public repositories.
- Transfer your public repositories to their own user owned account.
- Transfer your public repositories to an organization where they can create repositories.
Successors cannot be set on a per-project or per-organization basis yet, but Balter said that is something GitHub would like to build.
This new setting complements GitHub’s Deceased User Policy, in which the company will work with the deceased person’s next of kin, a pre-designated successor, or other authorized individual to determine the future of the account.
GitHub began testing the Account Successors feature last week, taking suggestions from the greater community. Public feedback from testers has been positive so far. Users hope not to need the feature anytime soon, though some said it is a real worry they have regarding their projects on GitHub. Setting up a successor is now the easy part, where identifying a trusted individual may prove more difficult for some.
Account Successors is a timely addition to the platform, as the pandemic continues to sweep the globe, although the feature can be useful for many other types of scenarios. Given the high fevers that can accompany COVID-19 and the rapid decline often associated with the worst outcomes, identifying a successor while still feeling healthy is an important precaution to ensure the continuity of your project.