Software forge federation research its UX with Penpot


I’m a software developer for the forgefriends project, working to create communication bridges between forges such as GitHub, GItLab or Gitea. After completing User Research last year, the next frontier is to design a UX that matches users needs. Since I’m a Free Software vegetarian (never eating proprietary software, even when it is good), Penpot really is the only option. It will also be my first time working with UX designers and discover this bright new world.

It started happening just a few days ago in a dedicated category of the forgefriends forum and if anyone is curious to see how it goes they are welcome to lurk. In addition to being committed to Free Software (exclusively), the project is radically transparent.

To be continued!


Bonsoir @dachary!

Might have I learned about this project on the open source design discourse? yeah! I found it How to improve collaboration between Dev and Ux designers in an open source project? - #3 by dachary - Communication and collaboration - Open Source Design

So, I read the main docs and what the project is about and, wow, we do need you to build something compelling here! I totally agree with the rationale and mission of the project. At Kaleidos (the company behind Penpot) we have this conflict every single time we develop internal prototypes for our PIWEEKs (personal innovation weeks). Should we use our internal Gitlab instance or post it on Github? Why can’t we just get rid of that dichotomy? I’m seeing similar “federation” efforts in social networks like Twitter and Mastodon, for instance but, of course, forges are much complex in the sense that there are a ton of different interactions and stuff on top of just git commands.

Anyway, I’d love to keep an eye on this project. Will you be presenting something at the next FOSDEM? Besides using Penpot, would you like to discuss some of the UX research here? it’s a great project and a great case study, to be honest. Feel free to post some screenshots or highlight from time to time to let the Penpot community know about the progress and the help you might need.


A conflict shared by so many Free Software developers… this is motivating.

It would be great to present something and I hope there will be something to present :sweat_smile: The first order of business is to find UX designers with time on their hand to work on this. There even is funding opportunities but there is more a lack of availability than a lack of money.


Hey there,

I’m the one who fixed Dachary to try Penpot :smiley_cat:

I’m a web developer, mostly around in the Frontend. In corporate environments, that meant to work with designers that utilise Figma or Axure, so I have an idea of what these tools are meant to be for.

When I learned about Penpot on Mastodon, I figured it might be worth a shot - especially since there’s an option to self-host.

I’m using Gitea since a couple of months and was excited to be able to contribute back to it (so I not only improve the situation for myself but for the whole community).

Forge federation will be exciting. Especially with the call to !

We’re happy to evolve both endeavors concurrently.


I think it was @alotor who shared the Software Freedom Conservancy article last Friday. I still have to go through it all, though. One more reason to love forge federation project!


To learn more about the UX lifecycle, I’ll experiment by implementing something I did with Penpot based on a use case to create a federated issue. :warning: It has no value in itself: just for learning :warning:

I’ll write down my progress in this topic.

To be continued!

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I didn’t know about forgefriends, and I’m also really impressed by it. I think it’s absolutely necessary, federation and interoperation is the key for escaping the centralization of Internet, and this particular idea is well thought. Hope it comes to fruition.

In penpot we are happy to follow its progress and to colaborate as we can, as @diacritica said. I’ll personally put an eye of this project, too. Thank you!


I am following the works of @dachary and others in the steadily growing forge federation movement very closely. I would like to mention something I’ve discussed many times with Loïc before, and that is what these first steps into forge federation will enable. The vision and potential here is profound, and there are tremendous opportunities.

What federation between Code Forges enables are not just the forges themselves being able to integrate together. A code forge is an application or platform that offers a suite of development tools online. But in fact the entire domain of software development, with all its activities and processes from a project’s inception till its end-of-life should be considered to see where federation can add support to that.

Software development, including the process tracks where UX/UI evolve over time, is an inherently social activity. Witness Penpot, for example :slight_smile:

On the forgefriends forum I wrote about how Github and Gitlab are positioned, which also covers the full lifecycle of software development. By doing so, especially Github has become a fat and dominant ‘spider in a big web’ here, and countless vendors see aligning to their product suite as a must-have.

Federation then has the potential to crack this whole ecosystem wide open, help provide a more level playing field, and democratize the technology base by using open standards such as ActivityPub. I am involved with setting up the Social Coding Movement where we’ll focus on social interaction across the entire Free Software Development Lifecycle (FSDL), and with an eye on leveraging the Fediverse where possible.