Github have been on a change binge of late, revamping Gist and continually adding in new features to their main core product but in this case they’ve removed a feature which the outrage in this Hacker News thread shows was loved and used by many.
The downloads tab used to allow files to be uploaded independently alongside a repository, for example the repository iteself might require compilation and so the author might compile the source and upload a .zip file of the compiled application. While the arguments for the feature are som4what warranted (especially those who host their projects page using Github Pages) the people that are complaining are cheapskates who have been leeching off of Github’s generous unlimited bandwidth for far too long.
What people can’t seem to fathom is that Github is for social collaboration and source control hosting, nothing more. Github isn’t Rapidshare or Mediafire it’s not for people wanting to store files who are too cheap to pay for file hosting on S3 or web host it’s for hosting the source code to a project and allowing others to easily contribute and improve upon.
There’s no excuse not to pay for your own file hosting. If you can’t afford an Amazon S3 account which offers a free 1 year usage tier that allows you to use 5GB of storage space and a generous amount of monthly requests and data transfer allowance and when you go over you’re charged literally cents per gigabyte of storage then you probably shouldn’t be on the internet in the first place, you cheapskate.
So stop being leeches. This decision is part Github focusing on its core strength and part kicking out the moochers who’ve been taking advantage of Github’s generous downloads API for far too long and you know what, I respect that.